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NFL Combine Starts Today: Set Your Stopwatch Accordingly.

Not strictly 'Dawg-related, but the NFL's annual meatmarket begins today in Indianapolis. The first few days are taken up by height and weight measurements and Wonderlic testing, and the onfield stuff begins on Saturday with the offensive linemen and specialists. Quarterbacks, wide receivers and running backs all hit the field on Sunday, so if you get the NFL Network (like me, praise be to Cox Communications for this one thing only) you should be able to tune in and catch the action. A few things to watch:

  •'s Pat Kirwan takes a look at New Jersey natives looking to impress at the combine, including Knowshon Rockwell Moreno. Kirwan says that Moreno has been "timed in the low 4.4. second rage" in the forty yard dash, a feat which I will believe when I see it. I've always thought Knowshon was quick and elusive, but never thought he had that kind of straightline speed. I suppose I could be wrong, though. It certainly wouldn't be the first time, nor the last. My bet however is that Knowshon runs in the 4.48-4.52 range. Like that makes a whole lot of difference.
  • Florida tight end Cornelius Ingram will take the field in Indianapolis, after missing all of 2008 because of an ACL which, in Urban Meyer's words "demonstrated poor effort and attitude, giving up when we needed it the most." As depressed as you were as a fan watching the Cocktail Party this season, you will be moreso as a weekend athlete when you watch Ingram at the Combine. Unless your name is Rey Mauluga, Ingram will make you feel flabby and slow. Just trust me.
  • Texas Tech receiver Michael Crabtree will be at the Combine but won't run the 40, because, allegedly, he's still nursing a sprained ankle he suffered during the Cotton Bowl. I would guess instead that the sprained ankle prevented him from doing the sprint training others have done, and that's actually why he's skipping it. I don't see anything wrong with that, but then I'm not an NFL Scouting Director, nor an owner who strokes seven figure checks to 21 year old football players. Maybe it does matter to them.
  • The quarterbacks this year are an interesting group. In addition to Matthew Stafford you'll see USC's Mark Sanchez, Ball State's Nate Davis (i.e., the guy who really ought to consider a restraining order against Jason Whitlock) and former used car salesman Oklahoma Sooner Rhett Bomar. Bomar will impress people based on what little I was able to see of him. The guy truly can throw the ball, and somebody will draft him and pay him less money than Stafford and Sanchez will command. Stafford likely will light up the Combine as well. His arm strength and mechanics were just made for combine type events. Also, with a good month and a half of lack of access to the Blind Pig's Big Mutha burger professional nutrition supervision, his occasional weight issues will likely be in check, so that he looks like Jay Cutler with a Sugar Bowl ring the prototypical NFL quarterback.
  • Former Tampa Bay coach nonsleeping vampire Jon Gruden will join the NFL Network Combine telecast as an analyst. I'm giving 3:1 odds that Gruden swoops down from the booth and gets all up in an offensive lineman's business before the sun sets on Saturday. And 5:1 odds that the kid literally breaks down in tears. I'm also giving 10:1 that Gruden and reputed werewolf former Steelers coach/current broadcaster Bill Cowher end up face-to-face this season in a snarling, grunting stareoff which will be featured in the next installment of the Underworld movie franchise: Underworld 4: Zone Blitz of the Lycans.
  • Texas wide receiver Jordan Shipley won't be at the combine because he was granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA. If you live in Norman, Oklahoma, that sound you're hearing is not a tornado, but instead the high-pitched keening of Bob Stoops as he reads the newspaper. You may now exit the stormcellar.
  • The height and weight portion of the program is often among the most interesting (other than finding out who is, quite literally, dumber than dirt once the Wonderlic results leak out). Asher Allen is listed on at 5'10, 198 pounds. I'm betting his official height is closer to 5'8 and 3/4. Who's with me?

I'll be back with some recruiting stuff tomorrow. Until then . . .

Go 'Dawgs!!!