Chicago Sun-Times

Countdown to the combine: More Kiper Jr.

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The NFL Scouting Combine begins next Thursday in Indianapolis as teams ramp up their preparations for the draft and free agency. The combine is the breeding ground for many free-agent deals. Agents informally shop around with clubs, who are informally doing window shopping, and the parameters for most big deals are hammered out well before free agency opens.

But more on free agency in the coming days. For now, we'll dive into more of Mel Kiper Jr.'s teleconference from Wednesday with more thoughts on quarterbacks Matthew Stafford and Mark Sanchez and where they might fall in the draft.

On Stafford and Sanchez:

"You look at Stafford with the big arm. He's got the great arm. You can put him in the same class with any of the others that have come out. I'm not going to say anybody has a John Elway or Bert Jones arm. Their arm was in a class all by itself. [Jay] Cutler's arm isn't as strong as Elway's or Bert Jones, and Stafford is in the Cutler mold. He's inconsistent like Cutler was at Vanderbilt and still is with the Denver Broncos. The inconsistency sometimes doesn't leave you. It was there with Cutler and is still there. ....Stafford had it at Georgia and if he still has that inconsistency in the NFL he'll be an up-and-down quarterback. People will be raving about him one week and criticizing him the next. Stafford has great upside. ... Inconsistency reigns supreme with some quarterbacks and that's something he's going to have to prove otherwise.

"Sanchez only played and started one year plus, 15 or 16 games. He had the knee injury when the season began and played with that brace. He had a whole new supporting cast, so he had a lot of things going against him early on, but he really played well late. He had a great game against Penn State in the Rose Bowl. He's got skills. He doesn't have the Stafford arm, but he throws very accurately on the move. He's a tremendously passionate football player. Loves the study of the game, has great work ethic, very diligent to the studying of the game and putting in the time.

"Stafford's not quite as instinctive as Sanchez, but Sanchez doesn't have the arm that Stafford does. Both have qualities that you like and they have something that bothers you a bit. Someone is going to roll the dice on these quarterbacks, whether it's the Lions at No. 1, Kansas City at No. 3 or San Francisco at No. 10. And the Jets might be looking at a quarterback unless they like Brett Ratliff enough. In terms of Stafford and Sanchez, they are going to have high grades. Hopefully both of them turn out to be good quarterbacks. Both are going to end up going to teams that aren't very good probably and be asked to be very good early in their career. Can they handle it? We will see."

On the Jets' options following Brett Favre's retirement:

"In terms of the quarterback position, the guy that they really liked internally is Brett Ratliff. ... He was an undrafted kid out of Utah, good size, very good arm and looked very good in the pre-season situations last year. Here is a kid that may be ahead of the game, maybe even ahead of Kellen Clemens, who was a former second round pick. I'd say Brett Ratliff is a guy off the radar nationally that I know they have high hopes for. ... He could be that diamond in the rough."

On the trend of drafting left tackles:

"It's a great class. It's not as good as last year in terms of depth. ...This year there are three, Andre Smith from Alabama, Jason Smith from Baylor and then Eugene Monroe from Virginia. All three I would think would be off the board by the 10th pick or maybe even off the board by eight."

On how Kiper rates players:

"I rate players from their junior year through their senior year, or a third-year sophomore on if they come out. You're rating kids not just based on one year. You're basing it on two years at least. These grades I have right now are not going to jump that dramatically. If you know where a kid is ranked before the Combine and you have rankings on all these kids, yeah, you'll move them up some and you'll drop some kids some, but it's not going to be significant because the rating is based on how they played. The Combine is based on how a kid works out. Now if a kid's not within a certain range, his stock is dropping. Because I don't care what he did in college, this is the NFL. If his numbers are not close to the numbers that you need, or the range that you need, his stock is going to drop."

On the process of assessing players' abilities, using the combine vs. game performance:

"What I would suggest is to embrace the process and don't fight it. You're going through it one time in your life. You're going to deal with it, why? Because the numbers have to correlate from year to year. You have to compare and contrast players and that's what you're doing. The drills can't change. All the numbers you're looking for can't be adaptable to a different scenario. I like to look back and see what a kid did in 1982 as opposed to 2009. If you have numbers that are different because they changed a certain drill then it's not applicable."

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5 Comments

The success Tony Romo has enjoyed in Dallas has really spawned something [an idea] throughout the league, you don't necessarily need to draft a QB, you can bring in a rookie free agent, develop them, and play them. Both the Jets, and our Bears currently have a young undrafted QB they are developing, Bears Caleb Hanie, and the Jets Brett Ratliff. Now Hanie or Ratliff might not ever turn out like Romo, but it sure is nice to see these, under the radar, small school types, get their shot, because you just never know where the next top QB is gonna come from, Tony Romo is proof, maybe Caleb Hanie will be next GO BEARS!!

Armstead, Tony Romo hasn't exactly been that successful in Dallas. Have you seen his performance late in the season? I didn't think so. It kind of chokes, like our beloved Chicago Flubs. So much for your "proof."

When was the last time that the Bears developed a quarterback that turned out to be a real nfl quarterback? I rest my case.

Kevin you make a good point about drfating later and developing a QB. The approach should really be running on parallel tracks though. The Bears should be doing what you say, draft low, or sign a FA, and try to develop that player. They should also be looking to grab a highly rated QB in the 1st rd whenever possible.

QB is the toughest position to fill and the hardest to draft for. Only a couple measurables exist and there are a few exceptions. Successful NFL QB's are almost always over 6'3", weight at least 210 lbs., intelligent, run under 5.0 on the 40 yd dash, completed at least 60% of their passes in college and have a short quick release. Caleb Hanie fits some of this and we are excited about him because he comnpleted some passes against 3rd stringers in the preseason.

However, as with Orton, the NFL makes adjustments. Watch Orton this year. The defenses will jump the underneath throws and give him the over the top throws. Orton will either start making those throws or he will be a good career back up.

Looking at the draft this year the Bears might look at a couple mid to late round picks, but I don't see anyone they would grab in rds 1-3, unless Sanchez or Stratford falls. I'm still thinking they should try and trade the 1st rd pick for one next year and look for the O-line help in the 2nd rd. If they have 2 1st rd picks next yr they might have a shot at McCoy, or Bradford.

Bumstead, [ha ha ha] your probably angry at me because I have an optimistic point of view on a lot of issues toward the Bears, thats fine. But understand one thing Bumstead, this is a blog, every fan is entiled his/her own opinion. Don't get angry at me because I choose to enjoy Chicago Bears football, and you don't. Don't get angry at me because I am realistic [smart] enough to understand that the Bears cannot be a Super Bowl team every single season, or that every one of their draft picks cannot be all-pros, Im sorry. Bumstead, your obviously not that football smart if you don't think these career numbers are that great, or PROOF!!

Tony Romo #9
06 220 for 337, 65.3%, 2903 yds, 19tds, 13int, and a 95.1 rating
07 335 for 520, 64.4%, 4211 yds, 36tds, 19int, and a 97.4 rating
08 276 for 450, 61.3%, 3448 yds, 26tds, 14int, and a 91.4 rating

I don't know how Romo could get any better avg 20tds, 3000 plus yds, a 60% comp pct, and a rating in the 90's ever season as a starter????????? Yes, Romo hasn't had that much success in the post season, NEWSFLASH, he's only been a starter for THREE seasons, give the guy a couple more seasons before saying he sucks because he hasn't had that much success late in the season for petes sake!! Also, I, unlike you, am smart enough to realize football is a TEAM sport, and the fact the Cowboys have not had success late in the season is not all Romo's fault, give me a break. Bumstead, whoever you are, if you think a QB has to avg 30tds, 4000 plus yds, a 70% comp pct, and a rating in the 100's, oh yeah, and win every single game late in the season, you are an absolutely ridiculous football fan who obviously doesn't understand the game thinking a QB who avg 3000yds, 20 plus td passes, and a rating in the 90's every season as a starter isn't good enough because he hasn't had a lot of success late in the season, for 3 WHOLE seasons [are you kidding me]??!!!!!! With these kind of career numbers, anyone with any kind of football knowledge would understand ROMO is doing his job and maybe, just maybe, its the rest of the team thats letting the Cowboys down, not just Romo. So yeah Bumstead, your right, being the football GENIUS you obviously are, the Cowboys should bench Romo because he doesn't win every single game in the post season, even though a QB who wins every single game late in the season HAS NEVER BEEN SEEN BEFORE!!!!!!! But who am I to judge?
Im wasting my time typing any longer so GO ORTON!! GO BEARS!! ah what the heck GO HANIE!! get the point?????????? GO BEARS!!

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on February 12, 2009 11:15 AM.

Four Down Territory, Feb. 11: So what if T.O. becomes available? was the previous entry in this blog.

Four Down Territory, Feb. 12: Is Angelo waiting for 2010 QB class? is the next entry in this blog.

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