Leave it to the NFL to do the best job of keeping fan interest alive in the offseason. Next up - the 2012 NFL Combine starting tomorrow, February 22, with Sunday the most important day for Washington Redskins fans.
Redskins fans will focus on the quarterbacks, Robert Griffin III in particular, and a hand full of others. Here are the dates you need to know:
Thursday, February 23 - Quarterbacks and wide receivers report to the Combine for orientation, hospital pre-exams and interviews
Friday, February 24 - Measurements, medical exams, psychological testing, more interviews
Saturday, February 25 - NFLPA meeting, more psych testing and interviews
Sunday, February 26, Workouts (timing, stations, skill drills), depart Indianapolis
Here's the list of quarterbacks invited to the Combine:
BJ Coleman, Tennessee-Chattanooga
Aaron Corp, Richmond
Kirk Cousins, Michigan State
Austin Davis, Southern Mississippi
Nick Foles, Arizona
Robert Griffin III, Baylor
Chandler Harnish, Northern Illinois
Jacory Harris, Miami (FL)
Jordan Jefferson, Louisiana State
Case Keenum, Houston
Ryan Lindley, San Diego State
Andrew Luck, Stanford
Kellen Moore, Boise State
Brock Osweiler, Arizona State
Ryan Tannehill**, Texas A&M
Darron Thomas, Oregon
Brandon Weedon, Oklahoma State
Russell Wilson, Wisconsin
Patrick Witt, Yale
** Although he is invited, Tannehill will not participate in the workouts because of a foot injury. He will work out for scouts in late March.
If you are like most 'Skins fans, your eyes riveted to Griffin 3rd. Expand your horizons, please.
Griffin to the Redskins would be the best possible offseason outcome for Washington, but trading up to draft RG3 is more than wish fulfillment. At least three other QB-hungry teams will attempt the same. We see the Cleveland Browns as the most likely winner. Fact: 71 percent of the mock drafts tracked by DC Pro Sports Report see the Browns with Griffin.
Nick Foles, Brandon Weedon, Ryan Tannehill and Brock Osweiler figure in the Washington rumor mill. We don't know what the inscrutable Mike Shanahan is thinking (nor should we at this point). Don't be surprised if both a free agent vet and a third day Draft pick figure in his plans. Then sometime before training camp, he can decide what to do with Rex Grossman and John Beck.
Rex Grossman is not under contract, but there is no urgency. It's not like he's going anywhere.
How's this for a dark horse pick — Yale's Patrick Witt. After watching Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jeremy Lin, Harvard men both, I'm not overlooking Ivy Leaguers.
It's a good thing wide receivers are on the same schedule. If anything, the Redskins have a greater need for a playmaking wide-out than for the quarterback of your heart's desire. Finding a receiver that can make even Grossman look good is more achievable than landing Griffin the Third. That contingency must be in the Shanaplan if the try for Griffin falls through.
LT Reilly Reiff (Iowa) is trending as the Redskins' first pick in the mocks tracked by DCPSR. Left tackle? Hmm. That's just the kind of unsexy pick that could make a lot of sense, but will not impress fans this year.
How are players selected for the NFL Combine?
"Participants are determined annually by a Selection Committee. The Directors of both National and BLESTO scouting services, which combined represent twenty-five NFL teams, are joined by members of various NFL player personnel departments to form the committee. The participating NFL executives can rotate on a yearly basis, and remain anonymous. ALL eligible players are reviewed and voted on by the committee members. Each athlete receiving the necessary number of votes, by position, is then extended an invitation. While it is not a perfect science, the goal of the committee is to invite every player that will be drafted in the ensuing NFL Draft." ~ from www.nflcombine.net/
The Redskins joined the BLESTO partnership when Mike Shanahan assumed football leadership of the team. We see this as a long overdue upgrade to team scouting.
Fans, bloggers and the professional chattering class will over-focus on the Combine drills. It's what we do because there's nothing else to do right now. The drills are visual and visible to us. The real important things, studying coach's cams of game videos, interviewing the collegians, are hidden from view. We won't get a hint of what Coach Shanahan really thinks until we know whowill be invited to Redskins Park before the Draft.