We’re back at Lucas Oil Stadium amongst hundreds of NFL media members on hand to cover the 2010 NFL Scouting Combine. This time of the day is the calm before the storm.
But the morning did have some importance as several important coin-flips finalized the 2010 Draft order, including one of which determined the 49ers second first-round pick. The Carolina Panthers lost their coin-flip to the Tennessee Titans, meaning the 49ers will select at No. 17 in addition to No. 13.
At the moment, Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith is at the podium answering questions from a sea of reporters. Following Smith will be a who’s who of NFL decision-makers including head coaches and general managers.
The 49ers handled their speaking duties already as Mike Singletary and Scot McCloughan spoke on Thursday, but you can check out our TV49 package in case you missed what they said.
There’s plenty of big-name players coming into the media area to talk, quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers will be the ones gracing the podiums.
We’ll have plenty of updates throughout the day, so stay tuned to 49ers.com for all your 2010 NFL Scouting Combine coverage. And be sure to check out our 49ers Combine Central page for stories, blogs, videos and photos from Indianapolis.
Lots of players are starting to make there way into the media area. One of the first prominent prospects to take the podium was Illinois wide receiver Arrelious Benn who figures to be one of the top wide receivers taken in this year’s draft.
Benn caught 67 passes for 1,055 yards as a sophomore, but struggled this past season with 38 catches for 490 yards. Despite the drop in production, Benn sounded confident that the numbers don’t tell his entire story.
“Numbers, don’t tell everything. A guy can have so many numbers based on how many times they’re getting him the ball,” Benn explained. “But I don’t have any regrets going to Illinois, we struggled in the passing game, but I know what it feels like to win and I know what it feels like to lose. That helped me a lot, being able to go through that type of adversity and just keeping going.”
Benn was asked who his favorite receiver is, without hesitation he said, “Jerry Rice.”
1:00 PM Update
Big surprise, I found another Jerry Rice fan. I think it’s safe to say that all of this year’s wide receivers grew up watching Rice.
Like Benn, UC-Davis wide receiver Chris Carter said he also is a big fan of Rice.
Carter caught 85 passes for 889 yards and four touchdowns in 2009, earning him Great West Conference Offensive Player of the Year honors. The Danville product has seen a lot of Bay Area football already, and would love to continue playing for a local team like the 49ers.
“It’s exciting to see what the Niners are doing, getting better,” Carter said. “You can see them growing as a team. I grew up loving to watch the Niners and Jerry Rice. How could you not as a receiver?”
Unlike Benn and Carter, Notre Dame wideout Golden Tate (pictured left) said he patterns himself after Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith.
Tate did however, inform the media that the 49ers are one of the teams he’ll be meeting with this week in Indianapolis. To the 2009 All-American and Biletnikoff Award winner, it doesn’t matter which team selects him. He just wants to make an immediate impact. In 2009, Tate impacted the Irish with 93 catches for 1,496 yards and 15 touchdowns.
He hopes that production will carry over in the NFL.
“I want to play for whoever thinks I can come in, make a difference right away and help them to the Super Bowl. That’s who I want to play for.”
3:00 PM Update
Just after you get one interview done, an NFL employee announces another player has entered the room and so it’s on to the next one.
So far today, we’ve heard from several of the top quarterbacks in the draft like Jevan Snead from Ole Miss, Tony Pike from Cincinnati, Dan LeFevour (Joe Staley’s old college teammate from Central Michigan) and Sean Canfield of Oregon State.
But no sign of Tim Tebow (Florida), Sam Bradford (Oklahoma), Jimmy Clausen (Notre Dame) or Colt McCoy (Texas) just yet.
They should be hitting the podiums soon. Same goes for Cal running back Jahvid Best and Stanford running back Toby Gerhart.
On a personal note, I also caught up with Ohio wide receiver Taylor Price, who could run the fastest time by any wideout in the draft. Price is shooting for the low 4.3 range, which certainly will help his draft stock.
And just as I wrote all that, Tebow hit one of the main podiums and all members of the media went over to here what he had to say.
4:00 PM Update
“Some guy named Tebow is at the podium.”
Not the typical announcement for a prospect about to address the media, but Florida quarterback Tim Tebow is not your typical NFL prospect. As soon as it was announced, you could hear a shuffle in the room and reporters grabbed their recorders and notepads and flocked over to the stage.
The former Heisman Trophy winner (2007) and two-time BCS National champion (2007 and 2009) with the Florida Gators has easily been the biggest attraction this week in Indianapolis.
Knowing that, Tebow is not letting it get to him, especially with the advice he received prior to attending the Scouting Combine.
“Enjoy the journey, enjoy the process, because you’re only going to do it once,” Tebow said of his mantra for this week. “I’m doing that. It’s a long process, but it’s a lot of fun. I’m enjoying it.”
Much of Tebow’s press lately has been about his throwing motion, more specifically, the adjustments he’s made in preparation for a career in pro football.
“I’m working on it, making some adjustments and just trying to improve my fundamentals as best I can. That’s something I think will improve my game and help me as a quarterback. It’s something I’m working on a lot.”
Tebow won’t throw at the combine, but will “compete” in every other event. The signal caller has his eyes set on his pro day at Florida on March 17 to show his new techniques to the various NFL coaches, scouts, and GM’s in attendance.
With Tebow’s calling card being his leadership, one reporter asked if it could rub NFL veterans the wrong way.
Not so, according to Tebow.
“I think (it’s like) when I got to the University of Florida. Sometimes, you can’t help the attention. But what you can help is your attitude, you can help your work ethic. When you go in there and show, I am putting the team first. I’m going to do whatever it takes to help you guys succeed, and I’m here to help this organization and together, we, can achieve more. And so, if that’s my attitude and they know that and they believe that, then they’re going to respect me. And that respect grows into like and that like grows into love and then you get a team that’s bonded. And then you get a team that wins championships.”
Cal running back Jahvid Best is at the podium now, we’ll have a feature on him later today on 49ers.com.
Tags: Scot McCloughan
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