Fresh off our visit to the NFL’s annual Scouting Combine, it’s time to unveil our annual “All-Personality Team,” which includes the best notes and quotes on the top characters in Indianapolis.
Sure, there were players with better 40 times, vertical jumps or repetitions on the 225-pound bench press, but for those interested in the most impressive individuals who came through the media work room, this blog is for you.
Last year, 49ers second-round draft pick Colin Kaepernick got the nod as the quarterback. Will a future 49ers player make the list this year? We’ll know by late April.
For now, find out who made the 22-man All-Personality Team after the jump.
Robert Griffin III – Baylor
The 6-foot-2, 223-pound quarterback who stole the show on Saturday with a 4.41, 40-yard dash also turned heads on Friday when conducting his press conference. The Heisman Trophy winner is competing with Andrew Luck to be the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft, but slightly edged Luck in this category with his entertaining conversation about his famed colorful socks. The player known as “RG3” began his interview by pulling up his pants to show off Ninja Turtles socks. As far as being the top guy, Griffin just wants to be the best he can be. “Whether I go No. 1 or not, it’s not going to change who I am. It’s not going to change my confidence.”
Trent Richardson – Alabama
The 5-foot-11, 224-pound runner didn’t participate in combine drills as he was recovering from a minor knee injury. Still, Richardson was very entertaining in his conversation with reporters and didn’t lack confidence whatsoever. Why should teams invest a top-10 pick on him? “Because the quality and the effort I’ll bring to the game,” he said. “When it comes down to it, I’ll be the dude that’s on the field getting the ball on third-and-three or fourth-and-one. Not to be cocky or anything, but I work on my game every day.”
David Wilson – Virginia Tech
The 5-foot-10, 206-pound ACC Player of the Year surprised many in Indianapolis by wearing a suit and tie for his formal interviews with respective teams. ESPN insider Adam Schefter noted it was the first such instance of its kind that he could remember. Wilson had the right approach to the field drills, too. “I look at this combine as another track meet,” Wilson said. “I told my sister the other day on the phone, ‘I finally get to run another track meet.’” Wilson ran a 4.49 in his 40 and posted a 41-inch vertical jump. He can talk to his sister about that as well.
Kendall Wright – Baylor
Griffin’s go-to guy on the perimeter questioned his quarterback’s affinity for colorful socks, even his Hello Kitty socks. But there’s no questioning Wright’s ability to handle himself behind a microphone. The 5-foot-10, 196-pound wideout, who ran a 4.61, didn’t mind comparison to Philadelphia Eagles wideout DeSean Jackson. Said Wright, “If that’s who they want to compare me to they can. I guess we both smile and we’re explosive.”
Ryan Broyles – Oklahoma
An ACL tear cost the Oklahoma senior the last four games of his productive collegiate career, but didn’t derail the spirits of the 5-foot-10, 188-pound pass catcher. Broyles is waiting for his pro day to participate in testing drills, but surely impressed teams with his positive outlook. “I just want the opportunity to play in the NFL,” he said. “I’ve just got to make one team fall in love with me. Hopefully I’m doing that throughout this process so far.”
Coby Fleener – Stanford
Jim Harbaugh’s one-time tight end at Stanford, measured in at 6-foot-6, 247 pounds. He didn’t, however, participate in running drills because of a minor injury. Fleener only did the bench press where he put up 27 reps. Fleener, who’s actually taking a sports journalism class at Stanford for his degree, was asked how the reporters were doing at the combine. “I think you guys have done excellent,” he said in return.
Matt Kalil – USC
To be the best tackle, or any position prospect, it doesn’t hurt to display confidence in your ability. Without sounding arrogant, the 6-foot-7, 306-pound prospect sounded assured of his talents translating over to the next level from his days at Southern Cal. “I would definitely say I am the best tackle in the draft… Confidence is definitely a big part of my game.” Kalil backed it up by running a 4.99 and putting up 30 reps on the bench press.
Jonathan Martin – Stanford
The 6-foot-5, 312-pound tackle prospect is going to be in demand when the 2012 NFL Draft begins on April 26. Martin knows what he can bring to the table and wasn’t bashful in explaining his strengths. Like Kalil, Martin felt as if he was the best tackle at the combine. “Without a doubt,” he said. “As a competitor, you’ve got to think you’re the best.” Martin added, “I believe in myself as a player. It’s nothing cocky about it. It’s just how I approach my game when I’m preparing for an event like this. I’m an athletic tackle. I’m smart. I don’t make mistakes and that’s helped me a lot the last couple of years.”
Peter Konz – Wisconsin
The Badgers center was a sought-after player in the media work room. Surrounded by cameras and reporters, Konz’s forehead started to form a few beads of sweat. Nonetheless, the 6-foot-5, 314-pound top center prospect handled all comers with ease. Sort of how he handled opposing defensive linemen. Konz, in fact, majors in radio-television-film. “I love it,” he said jokingly. “I love attention!”
David DeCastro – Stanford
Stanford’s other, no-nonsense, first-round offensive line prospect was entertaining in his media activities, too. The most memorable part of his session happened after he just got done saying he didn’t like to talk about himself. On cue, a reporter asked, “What is it that you do best?” DeCastro, a 6-foot-5, 316-pound interior line prospect smartly replied, “Um… play football. Play football better than anyone? That’s what it’s about. I work harder.” DeCastro ran his 40 in 5.43 and was one of the top performers at the bench press by posting 34 reps.
Cordy Glenn – Georgia
With a great outlook on the game, and the combine, the 6-foot-5, 345-pound guard prospect did well for himself. Glenn posted a 5.15, 40-yard dash and added 31 reps at the bench. Glenn was just as nimble in interviews as he was on the field. “I’m naturally a big, girthy wide guy,” he said jokingly.
Quinton Coples – North Carolina
Seems like every year there’s a top-10 worthy talent having to answer questions about a perceived lack of effort. Last year, Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley fielded such questions. This year, it was Coples’ turn. The 6-foot-6, 284-pound pass-rusher did well in showing his passion for the game. “I heard all the rumors and all the things that were going on about me not playing as hard, so I took it personally,” said Coples as he explained his reasoning for competing in the Senior Bowl. “I made a statement for myself that I can compete outside of the ACC and all across the country.” In competing at the combine, Coples ran a 4.78, posted a 31.5-inch vertical and put up 25 reps at the bench press.
Devon Still – Penn State
He knew the questions were coming, and still, Devon Still, handled them with class. The 6-foot-5, 303-pound defensive tackle (who could play defensive end in a 3-4 defense) spoke positively about his experience in college playing under legendary coach Joe Paterno. Having to talk publicly about such a tough topic like the untimely passing of the Hall of Fame coach would be tough on anyone. But Still did a great job in articulating his thoughts on his former coach. “it was very hard,” said Still on the controversy at Penn State this year. “When we signed up to go to Penn State, we signed up to play football.” Still ran a 5.08, 40-yard dash, put up 26 reps at the bench press and finished Monday with a 29.5-inch vertical jump.
Dominique Hamilton – Missouri
Aldon Smith’s former collegiate teammate had plenty of positive things to say about the 49ers first-round pick of 2011. He’d like to be reunited with Smith in San Francisco, too. Hamilton mentioned how Smith stole some of his sack dances at Missouri, but pointed out he enjoyed Smith’s sack celebrations in San Francisco (there were 14 of them in the regular season alone). At 6-foot-5, 313 pounds, Hamilton ran a 5.54, 40-yard dash and put up 31 reps at the bench press.
Melvin Ingram – South Carolina
As a 220-pound high school point guard, Ingram described himself as a “scorer.” Now, standing as a 6-foot-1, 264-pound pass-rushing linebacker, Ingram considers himself to be an athletic player. Ingram displayed that athleticism with his 4.79, 40-yard dash time and 34.5-inch vertical jump.
Courtney Upshaw – Alabama
At the last moment, Upshaw elected not to run his 40 at the combine, electing for his pro day instead. But for the duration of his media session, the 6-foot-2, 272-pound linebacker did he best to stand out amongst other conversion prospects. Upshaw believes his toughness sets him apart. “It’s a mind thing with me,” he said. “Growing up, playing football, I always wanted to be physical. As a young guy, I was always going in, throwing my shoulder. That was the fun part to me – just going out and being tough.”
Mychal Kendricks – California
The Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year is a Fresno native, who wants to pattern his game after Patrick Willis. On Monday, Kendricks stood out from his linebacker competition by running a 4.47, 40-yard dash. It was the fastest time by any linebacker at the combine. Then, Kendricks followed it up by posting the best vertical jump of the linebacker group (39.5 inches) and the best broad jump (10’7”). As far as modeling his game after San Francisco’s five-time Pro Bowler, Kendricks looks up to him in many ways. “I feel I can move the same way. Very fast, very fast, cat-like. That’s my style of play. I look at him and it’d be nice to be a fraction of what he is.”
Zach Brown – North Carolina
Many expected Brown to post the best linebacker numbers in Indianapolis, but the 6-foot-1, 244-pound linebacker will have to settle for a sluggish 4.5, 40 time. Kidding aside, the North Carolina product will enter the league as one of the fastest at his position, only he’ll need to settle at a linebacking spot. Brown could play multiple linebacker positions, but it would seem he’s best suited to play outside in a 4-3 scheme. Either way, Brown’s speed will help him no matter what. “I can run down backs and guard receivers, tight ends,” he said. “A lot of linebackers can’t do all that so it sets me apart.”
Harrison Smith – Notre Dame
You have to admire a player with an old-school approach to the game. That’s Smith in a nutshell. The 6-foot-2, 213-pound safety prospect showcased his love for the game by referencing Steve Atwater as his favorite player at his position. “My previous coach always told me I needed to play like (him and look up to him,” Smith said. “I remember watching him when I was young, making hits against Green Bay. He’s a guy I’ve always admired.”
Duke Ihenacho – San Jose State University
The local collegiate standout wants to join the 49ers to compete on defense and special teams. Ihenacho wants to lend his talents to the team’s popular kick-off team, affectionately known as the “Tony Montana Squad.” Ihenacho, a 6-foot, 213-pound strong safety, picked up on San Francisco’s budding special teams thanks to a few videos on YouTube.
Trumaine Johnson – Montana
Just because Johnson played in the Big Sky doesn’t mean the 6-foot-2, 204-pound cornerback can’t compete with the best talent in the nation. That’s his impression at least. The physical cornerback believes he can play in any weather and do just about anything needed from his position. “If anything,” Johnson said, “turn the (game) tape on against Tennessee. They’re an SEC team, the only D-1 team we played my senior year. Turn that tape on.” Chances are, Johnson would compete against many more SEC wideouts in the NFL.
Omar Bolden – Arizona State
You have to feel for a player like Bolden, who’s underwent a number of knee injuries in college. Despite the numerous setbacks, the most recent being an ACL tear that cost him his 2011 season, Bolden was a three-year starter in college. He put up 25 reps at the bench press and will attempt to run field drills at his pro day later in March. When healthy, Bolden offers ball-hawking ability in addition to returning kicks on special teams.
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