The Combine and what it says about Akins, Purvis and others
Only three Eagles were invited to the NFL Combine. The number isn’t surprising. The invite list was…somewhat. Raji and Brace are no brainers. Akins was a surprise. Used in multiple positions during the course of his career my fear come draft time was the NFL wouldn’t know where to use him (CB, Safety, Linebacker). I guess his size in the defensive backfield will be valuable enough regardless of questions about having NFL secondary speed. I hope he performs well in Indianapolis.
As for the other potential draftees, there is a reasonable explanation for each of their exclusions.
Toal – At this point his injury history negates any upside he might have to an NFL team, therefore no combine. He still might get drafted but not until the late rounds. His Pro Day will be the only way to move up teams’ draft boards.
Ramsey – He is a late bloomer at an undervalued position (G) so the combine was always a reach. In the plus column though are his size, great final season and the school’s reputation for producing quality lines. If he doesn’t get drafted, I think he will probably catch on. It doesn’t hurt that Bicknell Jr and Jags are both in the NFL and, I imagine, would gladly pick him up as a free agent.
Crane – Like Toal, the timing of his injury cost him. This is a shallow QB class too. With a better, injury-free season, he’d be at the combine. The plus side is that Crane has the body, arm strength and athleticism to be an NFL QB. Matt Cassel’s success shows you don’t need the college reps to mature into a good NFL QB. Matt Ryan’s success shows that BC was doing something right with QBs. I think Crane will probably have good free agent choices if he is not drafted late. His Pro Day will be very important.
Robinson – Great guy but there is no way a team uses a draft pick on him. He’s smart and tough, but comes up short in the size and speed category. If you don’t have those qualities, you need velcro hands…which BRob doesn’t. In addition to a good Pro Day, he’s going to need to turn heads at any minicamp opportunity.
Purvis – He’s the most interesting case of the non-invitees. If he had come out last year, he would have been drafted. This year was supposed to be his spring board into a first day pick. After the Kent State game it was obvious to everyone in the building that BC’s passing game was going to take a major step back. For most of the season people assumed the NFL would account for that change in offenese and still acknowledge Purvis’ previous work. Apparently they didn’t. In trying to point out this slight to Purvis, the data actually supports an argument that he regressed this year.
Compare Purvis’ Senior Year to his Junior Year.
2008 – receptions 24, yards 176, touchdowns 0
2007 – receptions 50, yards 521, touchdowns 4
Now here are BC’s total passing numbers for those same two seasons
2008 – receptions 233, yards 2471, touchdowns 17
2007 – receptions 335, yards 3981, touchdowns 28
The team’s decline in those categories respectively was 30%, 38% and 39%.
Purvis’ decline respectively – 52%, 66%, and 100%.
When Purvis goes around working out or interviewing, he'll also battle the John Carlson standard. Last year during the draft process Carlson was trying to explain his struggles as a Senior. Like Purvis, Carlson was a Tight End who had to adjust from a first-round QB (Brady Quinn) to a raw rotation (Clausen et al). But his productivity in those same categories only declined by only 15%, 41%, and 25%.
I don’t blame Purvis nor do I think he played poorly. I think his blocking was good and I think he will be a good NFL Tight End. He was just had an off year at the wrong time.