High-profile quarterbacks take a pass at Combine

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.Sam Bradford, Jimmy Clausen and Colt McCoy won’t because they’re recovering from injuries. Tim Tebow won’t because he’s still working on changing his throwing motion. Dan LeFevour will — but apparently only to stationary targets.
 

Tony Pike knows the variables and decides it best to show scouts what he can do.
Tony Pike knows the variables and decides it best to show scouts what he can do.

Is there any quarterback who’s ready and willing to throw to real, live receivers inside Lucas Oil Stadium this weekend?

 
Well, yes. Tony Pike and Jevan Snead said they would throw during their workouts. Several others probably will join them. But the highest-profile quarterbacks will postpone throwing until their pro days in March.
 
Players at all positions routinely don’t participate in the Combine’s on-field activities — the 40-yard dash, the vertical jump, positional drills, et al — but it always seems to create bigger headlines when the quarterbacks decline to show off their guns.
 
Why is it that players at the most important position are hesitant to perform one of the most fundamental skills of their position?
 
"I think it’s mostly an insecurity from the quarterbacks’ side, and I think some of the agents push the fact you want to throw the ball at home on your pro day to wide receivers you know," NFL Network draft expert Mike Mayock said.
 
"There’s a comfort level waking up in your own bed, not being in a strange place. I get all that. But from my perspective, it’s all about the competition. It’s a controlled environment for the quarterbacks. You’re indoors in a dome. It’s never going to get any better as far as the type of conditions you’re throwing under.
 
"Scouts don’t really care if the ball hits the ground. What they want to see is the footwork, the ball come out of your hands, what kind of velocity you have — on the same field standing next to your competition. You get an apples-to-apples comparison that way."
 
Instead, it turns into a fruit medley of apples, oranges and, yes, some lemons when teams try to evaluate quarterbacks who throw on different days in different environments under different circumstances.
 
You can’t blame a guy for not throwing passes if he’s injured. But why would any healthy quarterback pass up the chance to make an impression when he has a captive audience comprised of general managers, coaches and scouts from all 32 NFL teams?
 
"A lot of guys aren’t comfortable throwing to different receivers," said Cincinnati’s Pike, who is projected to go in the second or third round. "But I understand the GMs know you’re throwing to new receivers.
 
He'll let 'em fly: Javon Snead is looking at the Combine as a challenge.
He’ll let ’em fly: Javon Snead is looking at the Combine as a challenge.

"I want to go out and show solid footwork and a good release and throw some good balls, and just compete."

 
Mississippi‘s Snead, whose draft stock has fallen after an ’09 season in which he threw as many picks (20) as touchdown passes, is looking forward to trying to change some of the perceptions scouts have of him.
 
"It wasn’t a tough decision for me" to throw at the Combine, Snead said. "I love competition and I love the challenge — and that’s what I’m really looking forward to."
 
Just like it wasn’t a tough decision when Snead decided to transfer from Texas to Ole Miss. Sitting behind McCoy probably provoked that move.
 
Tebow, who has been working on his motion change at Peyton Manning’s D1 Sports Training Facility near Nashville, won’t throw any passes here but will perform the other drills. He could have waited until after the Combine — or even after he got drafted — to work on his technique, but that’s not in his nature.
 

"I’m someone who’s raring and ready to go, so I’m going to work on whatever I need to work on now," Tebow said. "I’m going to do it now, and I’m not scared of what people are going to say or anything else."

 
Pike, Snead and some other quarterbacks are ready to put their draft reputations on the line this weekend. Bradford, Clausen, McCoy and Tebow will do it later, when they’re healthier and more comfortable.
 
Bottom line: It will just take the NFL player evaluators a little longer to separate the fruit at the quarterback position.
 
This story appears in Feb. 27’s edition of Sporting News Today. If you are not receiving Sporting News Today, the only daily digital sports newspaper, sign up today.
 
Senior writer Dennis Dillon covers the NFL for Sporting News. E-mail him at ddillon@sportingnews.com.
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.Sam Bradford, Jimmy Clausen and Colt McCoy won’t because they’re recovering from injuries. Tim Tebow won’t because he’s still working on changing his throwing motion. Dan LeFevour will — but apparently only to stationary targets.
 

Tony Pike knows the variables and decides it best to show scouts what he can do.
Tony Pike knows the variables and decides it best to show scouts what he can do.

Is there any quarterback who’s ready and willing to throw to real, live receivers inside Lucas Oil Stadium this weekend?

 
Well, yes. Tony Pike and Jevan Snead said they would throw during their workouts. Several others probably will join them. But the highest-profile quarterbacks will postpone throwing until their pro days in March.
 
Players at all positions routinely don’t participate in the Combine’s on-field activities — the 40-yard dash, the vertical jump, positional drills, et al — but it always seems to create bigger headlines when the quarterbacks decline to show off their guns.
 
Why is it that players at the most important position are hesitant to perform one of the most fundamental skills of their position?
 
"I think it’s mostly an insecurity from the quarterbacks’ side, and I think some of the agents push the fact you want to throw the ball at home on your pro day to wide receivers you know," NFL Network draft expert Mike Mayock said.
 
"There’s a comfort level waking up in your own bed, not being in a strange place. I get all that. But from my perspective, it’s all about the competition. It’s a controlled environment for the quarterbacks. You’re indoors in a dome. It’s never going to get any better as far as the type of conditions you’re throwing under.
 
"Scouts don’t really care if the ball hits the ground. What they want to see is the footwork, the ball come out of your hands, what kind of velocity you have — on the same field standing next to your competition. You get an apples-to-apples comparison that way."
 
Instead, it turns into a fruit medley of apples, oranges and, yes, some lemons when teams try to evaluate quarterbacks who throw on different days in different environments under different circumstances.
 
You can’t blame a guy for not throwing passes if he’s injured. But why would any healthy quarterback pass up the chance to make an impression when he has a captive audience comprised of general managers, coaches and scouts from all 32 NFL teams?
 
"A lot of guys aren’t comfortable throwing to different receivers," said Cincinnati’s Pike, who is projected to go in the second or third round. "But I understand the GMs know you’re throwing to new receivers.
 
He'll let 'em fly: Javon Snead is looking at the Combine as a challenge.
He’ll let ’em fly: Javon Snead is looking at the Combine as a challenge.

"I want to go out and show solid footwork and a good release and throw some good balls, and just compete."

 
Mississippi‘s Snead, whose draft stock has fallen after an ’09 season in which he threw as many picks (20) as touchdown passes, is looking forward to trying to change some of the perceptions scouts have of him.
 
"It wasn’t a tough decision for me" to throw at the Combine, Snead said. "I love competition and I love the challenge — and that’s what I’m really looking forward to."
 
Just like it wasn’t a tough decision when Snead decided to transfer from Texas to Ole Miss. Sitting behind McCoy probably provoked that move.
 
Tebow, who has been working on his motion change at Peyton Manning’s D1 Sports Training Facility near Nashville, won’t throw any passes here but will perform the other drills. He could have waited until after the Combine — or even after he got drafted — to work on his technique, but that’s not in his nature.
 

"I’m someone who’s raring and ready to go, so I’m going to work on whatever I need to work on now," Tebow said. "I’m going to do it now, and I’m not scared of what people are going to say or anything else."

 
Pike, Snead and some other quarterbacks are ready to put their draft reputations on the line this weekend. Bradford, Clausen, McCoy and Tebow will do it later, when they’re healthier and more comfortable.
 
Bottom line: It will just take the NFL player evaluators a little longer to separate the fruit at the quarterback position.
 
This story appears in Feb. 27’s edition of Sporting News Today. If you are not receiving Sporting News Today, the only daily digital sports newspaper, sign up today.
 
Senior writer Dennis Dillon covers the NFL for Sporting News. E-mail him at ddillon@sportingnews.com.

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