As chaotic and grandiose as yesterday's Cam Newton spectacle was, today has thus far proved to be the polar opposite.
The media floor has seemed half-empty for the majority of the day. Nobody seems to be anticipating much. There aren't any real podium rushes to speak of and most writers seem content to hammer away at their laptop while allowing themselves cursory glances at the monitors above, all streaming NFL Network's live Combine coverage. That's an interesting point in and of itself: writers are not allowed access to the playing surface where the drills are actually being conducted and all the glass door suite entrances are blanketed by blackout curtains...but we're surrounded by monitors offering live coverage of the exact thing we're not allowed to watch live. Odd. Matt's theory is that the NFL doesn't want reporters recording the proceedings. I say the NFL doesn't want reporters noting which scouts and team personnel are shaking hands with certain players -- a sight rendered irrelevant, I figure, by the fact that every team does their due diligence on every player, so nobody could make much of a certain scout talking to a certain player anyway.
If you're wondering about actual proceedings today, the interviews here have been linebacker spillovers from yesterday and a few defensive backs so far. Matt and I made it to the podium for both Chris Culliver (S. Carolina) and Kendric Burney (N. Carolina.) Culliver is an athletic prospects who can play either cornerback or free safety, though he says his most natural position is cornerback. He boasted versatility: he can cover from either corner or safety, he can return and he can play special teams. Culliver also mentioned that he is a former wide receiver, and I'm sure Colts fans will draw immediate comparisons to Kelvin Hayden. The name of the game for Colts' defensive back prospects this year is "special teams capable." Culliver certainly falls in that category.
Burney also tauted his versatility, claiming he can press and drop off in zone, play special teams coverage and do a fine job as a returner. He actually mentioned that his return skills derive from his baseball skills, which he said really taught him to make plays when he had the ball in his hands. Going back to our Senior Bowl coverage, you'll realize that I've been lauding Burney for a while now. He strikes me as a perfect fit for the direction the Colts are looking to take with their defense: a quick, playmaking corner who can press and contribute valuable snaps on special teams. Burney told us that he gained a lot from that Senior Bowl experience and also from going up against current and former Tar Heel receivers like Greg Little and Hakeem Nicks in practice. Nicks, he said, is the best receiver he has ever had to cover.
Finally, Matt and I were able to attend Rahim Moore's (UCLA) press conference. Moore, a strong safety, certainly gave the most confident interview of the day, guaranteeing that he would be a 10-12 year starter for whichever team drafted him and that he could and would come in start from day one. Moore is generally regarded as one of the -- if not the -- best safeties in the 2011 draft class and could very well be available when the Colts pick. Though he certainly did come off as cocky, there was an air of sincerity about him. He believes he will be the best and claimed he would put in more film study hours than the coaching staff (and that he sometimes did at UCLA) to ensure he reaches his goal. Moore gushed over Ed Reed, who he models his game after, and said though he feels comfortable playing free or strong safety or even playing cornerback, he prefers playing deep coverage and keeping everything in front of him.
That pretty much covers our last morning at the Luke. We have some things set up for the afternoon and will do our best to get them in our end-of-day wrap-up. Until then, keep following along in the open thread and on Twitter.