Barden: Big Fish, Small Pond?
Ramses Barden is an interesting story. The Cal Poly star is coming from a Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Div. 1-AA) program that runs the triple option and was recruited by Stanford and many of the Ivy League schools. But he ended up at Cal Poly after a scholarship offer from the Cardinal fell through.
Being a small school star is not new for Barden, who graduated high school with just 103 other people in the smallest school class.
"We were the smallest [division] that wasn't eight-man football," he said. "I thought I might end up playing basketball in college."
While his background may be small, his play is big — he measured in at 6-feet-6 and 229 pounds. Scouts will be keeping an eye on how fast he runs tomorrow — with that size, if he can move, his stock could go way up.
Barden is currently ranked as the ninth-best wide receiver in the draft and the 74th-ranked player overall.
Update: Chris Steuber got a few questions in with Barden Friday, as well; check out his Q&A with the big receiver here.
Hunting for options:
The Colts are going to let Hunter Smith explore his options in free agency, and signed another punter, Mike Dragosavich, recently. They also talked to another punter at the Senior Bowl.
Could either of these options be the solution at punter for the Colts? Find out more in this story.
Visit our Insiders' Forum for more information about the Colts this week at the Combine!
Robiskie gets tough love from father:
The Colts like Ohio State receivers, with Anthony Gonzalez and Roy Hall already on the roster, and the Buckeyes' Brian Robiskie was an interesting interview Friday, since his father, Terry Robiskie, is currently the receivers coach for the Atlanta Falcons.
He said it wasn't always easy growing up with a coach for a father — at his position, no less.
Robiskie says he got phone calls regularly while in college critiquing his play.
"He wouldn't always wait until Sunday, either," Brian said. "If I got more than one voicemail I knew it would be critical. But I have been blessed to have him in that position, he can see things others don't."
Scout.com's Chris Steuber has Robiskie ranked as the 11th-best receiver and the 82nd-best player overall in the draft.
Moreno getting up to speed:
Georgia's Knowshown Moreno is getting world-class speed training in preparation for the NFL Draft.
He's training at Michael Johnson Performance Center in Texas, the training center established by the former Olympic champion.
"I'm learning from the best," Moreno said. "Trying to get that 40 time down."
Moreno says he's shaved close to .3 off his 40 time and hopes to run a 4.4 this weekend.
Check out all of Scout.com's Combine coverage here!
AFC South coaches, GMs take the stand
The Colts' rivals were on hand to talk about their teams Friday at the Combine. Texans' coach Gary Kubiak, GM Rick Smith, Titans' coach Jeff Fisher and GM Mike Reinfelt all took the podium in that order.
• Kubiak would love a repeat of the 2006 Draft that yielded Pro Bowlers Mario Williams, DeMeco Ryans, and Owen Daniels.
DE Mario Williams
Bob Levey/Getty Images
That was obviously an exceptional draft for us."
• The Texans have a new defensive line coach, Bill Kollar, but their 4-3 philosophy won't change, Kubiak says. However, the team might move Williams around a bit.
"We think that Mario can play both [end] spots," he said. "DeMeco we don't want to move but that doesn't mean we won't look at linebackers this week."
• The Texans will also be looking to get more help for Williams, who is blossoming into the superstar they thought he could be when they drafted him first in 2006.
"He's taken some big steps, but there's another one for him to take," Kubiak said. "He can definitely get better ... the game has become easy for him from a preparation standpoint and when that happens it's time to take the next step. His career could improve dramatically if we get him some help."
• Kubiak added that while things have been tough in the AFC South, it's a fun division to be in.
• Jeff Fisher is a member of the league's competition committee, and says that the topic of changing overtime rules has come up numerous times and we're not done addressing it," he said. "We discussed it with the executive player committee yesterday and we're going to continue to look at it. It's always been the commissioner's position and the committee's position that if we're allowing the coin toss to determine the outcome of a game then we need to look at what's going on. But there's other factors involved — we don't want ties, the length of games, the injury issues that come up. But that doesn't mean we're going to change it, either."
• Fisher drew laughs when he was asked about the play clock being subject to replay.
You mean the 43-second play clock?" he asked, referring to the issue that hurt them in a playoff game against Baltimore. He smiled, then said, "we discussed it."
See below for more from Fisher.
• Titans' GM Mike Reinfelt on keeping Kerry Collins in free agency: "I think we're going to be willing to pay him what anybody else is going to be willing to pay him."
Your Albert Haynesworth update:
Titans head coach Jeff Fisher met with the media a few minutes ago, and he was asked plenty of questions about Pro Bowl defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, who figures to be one of the top prizes in free agency if the Titans can't re-sign him.
"Anytime you have a player that enters free agency and for whatever reason you're unable to re-sign him, you have to have a plan," Fisher said. "We've been discussing alternatives but we're not there yet. I know that Mike and Chad are going to continue to talk so we're still hopeful we'll get something done.
"Albert's a very fine player, and you want to do what you can to keep the players on your team."
And if Haynesworth does leave?
"We have quality players already on the roster, guys that have proved that they can play.
So we probably will have to make some tough decisions at the end of training camp. But we're still dealing in a hypothetical situation. Just because I'm talking about potential alternatives, does not mean or imply that we don't have the intention of re-signing him."
Sanchez pranks Stafford:
Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford's interview had a few laughs when the other top QB in the draft, Southern Cal's Mark Sanchez, snuck up to the podium as a reporter and asked him what he thought of the "Sanchez guy" in the draft.
Sanchez, who was up next on the podium, is L.A. cool and very comfortable in front of the media. His take on the interviewing process with teams? "It's like speed dating."
Byrd ready to prove his maturity:
Friday, 12:25 p.m.
The Colts are always in the market for targets for Peyton Manning, and LSU wide receiver Demetrius Byrd has come to the Combine ready to show that he's more mature than he showed on the field at times last year. The Tigers' passing game struggled with a freshman quarterback, and Byrd's anger got the better of him at times.
"The character [you saw] during the season is not me," he said during his time at the podium. "I'm a better guy than that and I just want to show who I really am.
"Some teams have asked me about that and saw my frustration during the season. I just want to come here and clear everything up. I just tell them it was a minor thing. Most receivers get frustrated when the ball doesn't come their way, but you've got to be strong and get through it. I admit I was wrong for that but I'm here to get stronger and be better at that stage of the game."
Byrd is currently ranked as the 21st-best wide receiver and the 120th-best prospect overall by Chris Steuber. He'll be looking to improve that stock this week.
Welcome to the Combine!
Friday, 10:20 a.m.
The Combine started yesterday, so we're on the scene a little late. But there's the excitement cranks up today as workouts begin for offensive linemen, kickers, punters, long snappers and tight ends, and quarterbacks, running backs, and wide receiver visit with the media for interviews.
Jim Caldwell spoke with the media Thursday, and some of the brass from the team's AFC South rivals are scheduled to talk today.
Of course, another major story for the Colts is the status of some of their veteran stars. The team was able to sign Kelvin Hayden Wednesday, but the future is still up in the air for star center Jeff Saturday, who is set to hit free agency, and all-time great Marvin Harrison, whose salary might be too steep for the cap-constrained Colts to afford.
Check back all day for updates from the Stadium. In the meantime, you can check out Brad Keller's feature on defensive backs the Colts are eyeing, a story on free agent Tyuan Hagler, and the rest of Scout.com's Combine coverage.