Guest of the League
AZWHOYOU2 Est. 2003
FFL: Preseason | NFL: Week 1

AP source: NFL exploring changes to scouting combine

Wed Apr 21 10:14pm ET
By ROB MAADDI
AP Pro Football Writer

Oklahoma running back Rhamondre Stevenson participates in the school's Pro Day football workout for NFL scouts in Norman, Okla., in this Friday, March 12, 2021, file photo. The coronavirus pandemic scuttled the annual NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis, leaving prospects to show off for scouts, coaches and general managers at their college pro day instead. While players lamented the lost opportunity to gather in Indy to be poked, prodded, timed and tested and to square off against their peers an invitation was still a golden ticket. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams, FILE)


The NFL is exploring changes to the annual NFL scouting combine to improve the professional and medical experience for draft prospects, a person familiar with those discussions told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The combine in Indianapolis was canceled this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, so prospects displayed their talents for scouts, coaches and general managers at their college pro days instead.

Teams interviewed players virtually and most medical and psychological testing was done by video. About 150 draft prospects did in-person medical evaluations in Indianapolis earlier this month.

The league is seeking input from players who attended the combine previously and rookies who went through this year's version. Teams and their medical staffs also will provide their assessment.

The person, who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the conversations are ongoing, said the league is evaluating all aspects of the combine, including the player experience. Calling players by their name instead of a number, limiting the number of medical personnel who examine guys and ensuring prospects aren't asked humiliating questions are a point of emphasis.

In 2010, then-Miami Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland apologized to Dallas Cowboys first-round draft pick Dez Bryant for asking during a pre-draft visit whether his mother was a prostitute.

In 2016, then-Atlanta Falcons coach Dan Quinn apologized to Eli Apple because one of his coaches asked the cornerback his sexual preference.

In 2018, former LSU running back Derrius Guice said one team at the combine asked about his sexuality and another inquired if his mother was a prostitute.

Former NFL tight end Benjamin Watson, who played 16 seasons between 2004-20, compared the interview process to an interrogation.

''I can remember sitting in a dark room with a huge spotlight,'' Watson told the AP. ''There's a seat there like you're being interrogated for a crime and all the front office staff is in the back in the shadows and you can't see them. The guy grabbed my wrist and he's like: `I can feel your pulse, so I know if you're lying to me. Have you ever smoked marijuana?' I said: `No.' I really hadn't. I've never smoked. He said: `I think you're lying. I can feel your pulse. Are you lying to us?' I said: `No, I'm not.'

''So for a minute, I thought I actually did smoke marijuana and maybe I need to confess to a crime that I didn't commit. But these sorts of tactics that are happening at the combine and that are not being monitored definitely need to be done away with.''

New Eagles coach Nick Sirianni had a playful way to test the competitiveness of draft prospects. He played rock, paper, scissors virtually with a couple guys and one of his assistant coaches played Jeopardy with them.

''When you compete with somebody that's competitive, they're going to go at you no matter what game you're playing,'' Sirianni said.

Sirianni appreciated the virtual interview process.

''At the combine, you're limited to how many times you can talk to them, how long you can talk to them for,'' he said. ''We were able to get meaningful conversations not under a time limit. It was just great work by the scouts and by the assistant coaches to get that work done on the players and really get to know the players. In a lot of aspects, I think we got way more out of those meetings than we do out of Indy.''

Count Miami Dolphins quarterback Jacoby Brissett among those who prefer pro days over the combine.

''I'm not a fan of the combine,'' he said. ''I think it's very unnecessary. You're going to do the same thing on pro day.''

Top Headlines
The Paur Report

Interview with a Champ

Player Notes
Brian Hoyer May 17 10:50pm ET

The New England Patriots are re-signing veteran quarterback Brian Hoyer to an undisclosed one-year deal on Monday, according to a source. Hoyer will be added to a quarterback depth chart that includes Cam Newton, rookie first-rounder Mac Jones and Jarrett Stidham. The 35-year-old journeyman started one game for New England last year, going 15-for-24 for 130 yards with an interception in the Week 4 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. The 13-year NFL veteran will mostly just provide valuable experience as he battles for the third-string job with Stidham this summer in training camp. You can continue to ignore Hoyer in all fantasy leagues.

From RotoBaller

Travis Etienne May 17 2:20pm ET

Jacksonville Jaguars rookie running back Travis Etienne took repetitions from the wide receiver position during the team's three-day rookie minicamp over the weekend. "At the worst-case scenario, you have a running back with the skillset of a wide receiver," head coach Urban Meyer explained. "Best-case scenario you'll have a hybrid player who does both and that's what we're hoping to develop out of Travis." The Jags took Etienne at No. 25 overall in the first round of the draft. He had 48 catches for 588 yards and two touchdowns in his senior season at Clemson and had 7.2 yards per carry in his four years. Jacksonville already has James Robinson in the backfield, but Etienne could be a Swiss Army Knife for this offense alongside pass-catchers D.J. Chark, Laviska Shenault Jr. and Marvin Jones.

From RotoBaller

Trevor Lawrence May 17 2:10pm ET

Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer said that quarterback Trevor Lawrence (shoulder), the first overall pick of the draft, "looked great" during rookie minicamp over the weekend. Lawrence was on a 30- to 40-throw "pitch count" after February surgery on his non-throwing shoulder. The Jags are being cautious with their franchise signal-caller, but Meyer expects Lawrence to be "pretty close to full go" before the end of organized team activities and mandatory minicamp, which are scheduled to begin May 24 and go through June 17. The team is keeping him away from handoffs and direct snaps under center to avoid falling and getting his arm jammed. Lawrence's shoulder no longer bothers him and is healed, and he's currently getting accustomed to a coordinator calling plays into his helmet. He'll be the Week 1 starter in his rookie season and could have some QB1 streaming value in the right matchups if he makes a seamless transition to the NFL.

From RotoBaller

Amon-Ra St. Brown May 17 2:00pm ET

Detroit Lions rookie wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown has a large chip on his shoulder after 16 receivers came off the board before him in this year's NFL draft. St. Brown was the 112th overall selection in the fourth round after catching 178 passes in his three-year career at USC. He lined up both outside and at slot receiver during practice on Sunday, and head coach Dan Campbell said it's too early to define St. Brown's role for the upcoming season. "I'm excited to be here," St. Brown said. "I'm excited to work and I'm ready to take someone's job." Tyrell Williams and Breshad Perriman are the team's top starters, but neither one of them have proven much yet in the NFL, so St. Brown could carve out a pretty big role in this offense in his rookie season.

From RotoBaller

Kelvin Benjamin May 17 2:00pm ET

The New York Giants signed former first-round wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin following a tryout at rookie minicamp last weekend. Benjamin, who hasn't been on an NFL roster since the end of the 2018 season, will play tight end. The 6-foot-5, 245-pounder will be reunited with general manager Dave Gettleman, who drafted Benjamin with the Carolina Panthers in 2014. Benjamin caught 73 passes for 1,008 yards and nine touchdowns in his rookie season, but that has been the high point of his career after he tore his ACL the next season. While he has the necessary size at tight end, he'll join a crowded room in New York, headed by Evan Engram and former Pro Bowler Kyle Rudolph. The Giants also have Kaden Smith and Levine Toilolo as backups, so Benjamin will be a long shot at this new position. New York also signed running back Corey Clement on Sunday.

From RotoBaller

Von Miller May 17 1:10pm ET

Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller (ankle) is back at the team's facilities on Monday for Phase 2 of the offseason program. Miller was looking really good in training camp a year ago before he suffered a season-ending ankle injury just before the start of the regular season. There will be a lot of eyes on the All-Pro pass-rusher in the final year of his contract in 2021. The Super Bowl 50 MVP will be motivated to prove that he's still one of the best pass-rushers in the league at age 32. If Miller looks as good as he did last summer and stays healthy, the Broncos defense could be very good this year. The eight-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro had a disappointing eight sacks back in 2019, only the second time in his career that he hasn't reached double-digit sacks.

From RotoBaller

Ryan Kerrigan May 17 12:50pm ET

Former Washington Football Team defensive end Ryan Kerrigan announced on his Instagram that he's signing an undisclosed deal with the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday. After spending 10 seasons with Washington, the four-time Pro Bowler will remain in the NFC East and join the division-rival Eagles. The 32-year-old veteran has racked up 454 tackles (119 for loss), 147 QB hits, three interceptions (all for touchdowns), 25 passes defensed, 26 forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and 95.5 sacks in 156 career games (141 starts) after he was the 16th overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft. For an Eagles team lacking a ton of depth on the defensive front, Kerrigan represents a very nice pickup.

From RotoBaller

Marqise Lee May 17 12:50pm ET

Former Jacksonville Jaguars and New England Patriots wide receiver Marqise Lee is signing an undisclosed deal with the San Francisco 49ers on Monday, according to a source. Lee spent the first five seasons of his NFL career with Jacksonville after they selected him in the second round out of USC in 2014. The 29-year-old opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19, so he never actually played a game with the Patriots. Lee hasn't played in a full season since 2017, but he'll have a real chance to make the Niners roster this summer if he can stay healthy. He dealt with injuries in 2018 and 2019 and played a combined six games those two years. In 59 career games (30 starts) with Jacksonville, Lee had 174 catches for 2,184 yards and eight touchdowns. He'll be hoping to provide some depth behind Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk and will compete with the likes of Mohamed Sanu, Richie James, Trent Sherfield and Jalen Hurd.

From RotoBaller

Trent Taylor May 17 12:40pm ET

The Cincinnati Bengals signed former San Francisco 49ers slot receiver and punt returner Trent Taylor to an undisclosed deal on Monday, according to a source. Taylor is a good fit with Cincinnati, who lost slot receiver/punt returner Alex Erickson in free agency this offseason. Taylor, 27, caught 10 of his 21 targets for 86 yards and no touchdowns in 12 games (one start) for the 49ers last season. The fifth-round pick out of Louisiana Tech in 2017 by the 49ers caught 79 passes on 122 targets for 731 yards and three touchdowns in his three seasons with the team over 41 games (two starts). With Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins, Auden Tate and rookie Ja'Marr Chase in the fold, Taylor will be providing receiving depth, so don't expect much in terms of fantasy value.

From RotoBaller

Ryan Kerrigan May 17 10:33am ET

Free-agent DE Ryan Kerrigan (Football Team) agreed to an undisclosed deal with the Philadelphia Eagles Monday, May 17.

From TheHuddle

Trent Taylor May 17 10:03am ET

Free-agent WR Trent Taylor (49ers) agreed to an undisclosed deal with the Cincinnati Bengals Monday, May 17.

From TheHuddle

Andy Dalton May 16 4:53pm ET

Chicago Bears QB Andy Dalton will work with the first-team offense when offseason workouts begin even through QB Justin Fields performed well during the rookie minicamp, according to head coach Matt Nagy.

Fantasy Spin: It appears like Dalton will enter training camp as the leading candidate for the starting job, but Fields likely will push for the job. Dalton may begin the season as the starter but probably will lose it to Fields at some point during the season. Fantasy players in most leagues should consider the starting Chicago quarterback as a No. 2 fantasy quarterback.

From TheHuddle

Kendall Donnerson May 16 3:33pm ET

Free-agent DE Kendall Donnerson (Bengals) signed with the Carolina Panthers Sunday, May 16. Terms of the contract were not disclosed. The team also waived PK Matt Ammendola, LB Daniel Bituli and DT PJ Johnson.

From TheHuddle

Delano Hill May 16 3:13pm ET

Free-agent S Lano Hill (Seahawks) agreed to terms with the Carolina Panthers Sunday, May 16, according to a source. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

From TheHuddle

Troymaine Pope May 16 1:23pm ET

Free-agent RB Troymaine Pope (Chargers), TE Jerell Adams (Lions), CB Antonio Hamilton (Chiefs) and S Curtis Riley (Vikings) agreed to terms with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday, May 16. Terms of the contracts were not disclosed.

From TheHuddle

Dre Kirkpatrick May 16 12:23pm ET

Free-agent OG Alex Redmond (Bengals) and CB Dre Kirkpatrick (Cardinals) recently worked out for the New England Patriots, but neither is close to a contract with the Patriots.

From TheHuddle

Kelvin Benjamin May 16 12:13pm ET

Free-agent WR/TE Kelvin Benjamin (Chiefs) signed with the New York Giants Sunday, May 16. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

From TheHuddle

Jordan Whitehead May 16 8:33am ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers SS Jordan Whitehead (shoulder) reportedly looks good but may be held out of the team's minicamp in June, according to head coach Bruce Arians. He is recovering from a torn labrum sustained in last season's NFC Championship Game.

From TheHuddle

O.J. Howard May 16 12:13am ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers TE O.J. Howard (Achilles) is expected to attend mandatory minicamp in early June, according to comments from head coach Bruce Arians. 'Yeah, he's really close now. He looks fantastic working out every day,' Arians said.

From TheHuddle

Corey Clement May 15 8:03pm ET

Free-agent RB Corey Clement (Eagles) signed an undisclosed contract with the New York Giants Saturday, May 15.

From TheHuddle