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NFL Combine Day 3: Flat earth, are birds real and athletes with questions share the spotlight

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By: Jared Mueller

Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Browns fans take notice as players hit the field Wednesday night for the first time at this year’s Combine

You just never know what is going to be a story when it comes to the NFL. With hundreds of players in one place, a generation raised with social media is bound to say or do something interesting.

Before we get to the first on-field drills of this year’s NFL Combine, I like to share behind the scenes with you each day.

With the Combine drills rolling until around 8:30 PM, it was interesting to see a lot of team scouts, coaches and front office members out and about eating dinner well before that. The drills are filmed for each team to have access to which means only a few are identified to sit in the suites to watch the drills. Really, they are looking for anything that jumps out at them and body language (as Cleveland Browns HC Kevin Stefanski cares greatly about).

As for the quick thoughts from the after-hours (you can skip down to the bullet points if you don’t care about the personal stuff).

I was in kinda early on Thursday night as I knew most teams would not only have the drills but after that were more formal 15-minute interviews. So, back to the AirBnB by 11:30 PM or so.

The thing that really jumped out to me last night, which I mentioned on Twitter/X, is how cool it has been to watch media friends grow from local or small sites to the national level. In the past decade, I’ve had the honor of getting to know and call friends the following which now have national audiences:

  • Jeff Risdon – USA Today Draft Wire
  • Matt Miller – ESPN
  • Trevor Sikkema – PFF
  • Emory Hunt – CBS Sports TV
  • Turron Davenport – ESPN Titans
  • Jordan Reid – ESPN
  • Kyle Crabbs – Locked On Network
  • Chris Trapasso and Josh Edwards – CBS Sports Draft
  • (I have probably forgotten about 5-7 guys but that is okay because…)

… the best thing about all of those guys is that even though they have made it “big” they are the same people I knew 5, 7, 10 years ago. They make time for their friends as they can, they didn’t feel the need to become someone they are not and are still great guys.

The thing that did change is that everyone knows them now. Gone are the days of a group of us just sitting at High Velocity and talking and making jokes for hours at a time because everyone wants a few minutes with them.

Selfishly, I miss the good ol’ days. Dart competitions trying to mimic QB throwing styles just can’t happen anymore.

On to news and notes from NFL Combine Day 3:

  • Two… interesting… comments really drew attention on Thursday. The first was that birds are not real from TE Tip Reiman:

Our Jeanna Kelly spent time debunking the theory for SB Nation including a great line:

A goose tried to fight me once, and frankly, she kicked my ass.

It doesn’t sound like the goose “tried” anything. The goose fought Jeanna and won.

Reiman’s comments were the talk of the Combine along with DB Tyler Owens who seems to be in on the Earth being flat and doesn’t believe in space or other planets:

As a defensive back, he should take away space from receivers so that part checks out at least.

As for on-the-field drills:

  • A few players really performed well on Thursday night but there are questions with a few of them. The three biggest are related to age, injuries and consistency of play. Performing well at the NFL Combine can open fans and media’s eyes but NFL teams already know whether a player is athletic or not. Are they just athletes or are they football players?
  • Rare does an athlete that isn’t a good football player become a good football player at the NFL level
  • DT Braden Fiske had a great day on the field last night but a 24-year-old rookie will likely lead to him falling. This fact is enough to grab a lot of attention:

You can see all of Fiske’s workouts here. Even when he fell, he got up in a way that showed athleticism, like a shortstop sliding to make a play was the analogy we used in the media section of the stands.

  • Three other defenders showed very well on Thursday but either injuries or inconsistent play will be huge questions for them:

LB Dallas Turner:

LB Payton Wilson:

DL Chop Robinson:

For the Browns, with a weaker-than-normal draft class, it will be interesting if they are more willing to draft developmental players or older players early. Last year’s draft was all about the future but the roster is ready to win now. How does that impact their decision-making?

  • DT T’Vondre Sweat is unlikely to make it to Cleveland’s second-round pick but there are very mixed thoughts on him. He ran really well for his size but he’s not overly explosive as a general athlete. How helpful is just being huge and “fast for your size” at the NFL level? At least one team will think it is a big deal and select him near the top of the second round most likely
  • Talking with a scout and a few in the draft media, there are some big concerns about WR Xavier Worthy, a popular Browns pick in the second round. While he has all the traits in the world, his slight frame and inconsistent hands were brought up as reasons to stay away
  • I’ve noted the thoughts around the QBs in this draft in my previous Combine notes but wanted to hit on Bo Nix in particular. It took a while but I have found a couple of people who actually really like Nix among this draft class while I think he might be better transitioned to the tight end position, ala Matt Jones a few years ago. One of the above friends and I are polar opposites in our thoughts on Nix so it will be interesting if one of us is proven right in 4-6 years
  • Cleveland GM Andrew Berry has been his normal talkative self behind the scenes with other teams and agents but the feel from both sides is that he’s more selective this year than in years past
  • Teams are more certain that QB Deshaun Watson will return to being “at least” good than the local or national media might be. Those who have watched tape saw what they needed to see AND think Ken Dorsey will be a great partner for Watson. Everyone has uncertainty about his injury recovery given the nature of it but opposing teams don’t have the same performance concerns that fans and media do

Friday is all about the QB and WR interviews before the DBs and TEs take the field tonight.

Originally posted on Dawgs By Nature – All Posts