Feb 24, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Stanford Cardinal quarterback Andrew Luck speaks at a press conference during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE
While the first day at the NFL Scouting Combine was a little on the lighter side, the second day jumped to warp speed, as we had big name player after big name player come through Lucas Oil Stadium to talk to the media.
It started right around 1:00 when Notre Dame's Michael Floyd started the ball rolling with first round picks, and he expectedly got peppered with questions about the DWI he was charged with back in March of 2011. It even got so bad that media members were asking what the name of the alcohol class was called that he took, but he seemed to handle himself quite well. Being the proud Notre Dame alum, I saved him a couple times with actual football questions, asking about his run blocking, and which former Irish players he's talked to about the draft process.
The next guy up was Baylor's Kendall Wright, and four of the first five questions were about his QB, Robert Griffin, III. You could tell he was getting a little annoyed that they weren't asking him about, you know, him, but I'm sure he expected it too. He made it clear that his height (5'10") was not an issue. I think he'll be taken before the Colts pick at #34, but if not I hope he's in blue and white next year.
Where the podiums are set up inside the club level you can see out into the concourse, and about three minutes after Wright left, the buzz started outside, and I saw the entourage of handlers and video cameras walking outside. In the middle were the dreadlocks and "QB6" of Robert Griffin III.
Last year, Cam Newton had everyone in the media room captivated and in front of his podium, and as he made his way through the tunnel of reporters to the microphone, he had a cell phone on his ear. Apparently Griffin had the same idea, as he talked for about 20 seconds on his phone at the side of the podium before taking the stage. Once there, he had to do the obligatory showing of his socks (Ninja Turtles for those of you who care), and the presser was off.
You can read about what he had to say all over the Internet (and we have audio too), but the command of the room was really impressive. He was to the point with his answers, didn't look a bit nervous, and looks every bit the franchise QB he has the possibility of becoming. I said this right after his presser yesterday, but any other year, he'd be a clear #1 pick. Whoever goes up to get him at #2 is going to get a hell of a football player, a great leader, and a guy a team's fan base can rally around.
Before Griffin was even finished, another top 5 pick appeared, Oklahoma St. WR Justin Blackmon. I didn't bother going over to listen, as he won't be on the Colts radar at all, but he had a big group of media members as well. The buzz was building, however, the Andrew Luck wasn't far behind. Thankfully with Blackmon fielding questions, I knew I had about 10 minutes to catch my breath, start uploading Griffin's audio, and get myself situated for when "QB12" showed up.
My intention this weekend was to get myself into one of the pictures with either Griffin or Luck, and I assumed I had accomplished that by sitting in the front row for both press conferences. Unfortunately I was just off-shot for both guys, being blocked by other people. Looks like it is back to the drawing board today.
The buzz was equal to Griffin, if not a tiny bit less, when Luck came walking into the room, and you could hear the room get quite loud when his name was announced. He handled all the Peyton Manning questions very well, and reiterated that he isn't actually on a team yet, which I'm sure he was told to do, and is a good point to make. For those of you who haven't seen inside the Luke before, the columns in the press room here have pictures of Colts players in them, but the podium where Luck and Griffin talked did not have the image of Manning over them like HC Chuck Pagano did yesterday. Whether it was on purpose we'll never know, but just an interesting note.
The media was extremely annoyed at the guy who asked the last question to Luck: "Are we going to see a return of your beard?", to which Luck replied "Really, that's the last question?". Even he thought it was stupid. Overall Luck had no trouble addressing the media, didn't look nervous either, and was very succinct with his answers.
I also got to interview two of Luck's teammates at Stanford, WR Chris Owusu and OG David DeCastro, and both had glowing praise for their QB. I'll try to get a full post up on what these guys said later today, but they were both more than happy to talk about Luck and what a humble, hard-working guy he is.
A couple of the RBs got some good crowds, but I didn't pay much attention, other than to my guy Jonas Gray from ND. I also overheard Chris Rainey from Florida say his fastest 40 time was 4.23 seconds, and expects to run that on Sunday. QB Russell Wilson from Wisconsin was a lot shorter than I expected (5'11"), and LaMichael James decided he wanted to show up after they had announced that player availability for the day had been completed.
I think from about 1:00 until 4:30 I had about 20 minutes of down-time, and got audio from 12 different guys during that stretch. Stew (pictured above in a plaid shirt) got just as much audio from a few other guys as well. I did learn that several OL that snuck in yesterday had pressers, so I'll attempt to get transcripts from those guys to use in our profiles.
Our exploits for the day ended last night at the Downtown Hooters, where we sat next to Redskins Owner Dan Snyder, GM Bruce Allen, and several of their buddies. Wouldn't have guessed his drink of choice would be Coors Light, the worst tasting drink on the planet. Our waitress was not aware of who he was.
I doubt there will be the same buzz that we got on Friday the rest of the weekend, but it'll be two whirlwind days with players on the defensive side. We've got 32 guys we're trying to get today. Hopefully we can get as many as possible.