Tuesday, February 03, 2009

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.


CT said...

With all due respect, I don't think you can in one breath argue that Crane has a chance in the NFL and in the next point out that Purvis' draft status was hurt by BC's "passing game taking a step backward."

Crane is inaccurate and a poor decision-maker. Those are the first and second most important things a QB cannot afford to be. He was throwing to slower receivers, too, which is not exactly a harbinger of good things in the NFL, where play is decidedly faster.

I would like to submit my resume to the NFL if Crane can make it after one below-average season (with a defense that saved him on many occasions, notably Va. Tech, and kept it close in others, notably Ga. Tech). Cassell wasn't hurt by not playing in college, which speaks more to USC's program and the recommendation of its staff than to an inability to play at all (behind some pretty good QBs), which Crane too often displayed in the one season he had to show off.

ATL_eagle said...

I would not draft Chris Crane. I also don't think he'll be the next Matt Cassel. I don't think he has what it takes or was ever very good. But that doesn't mean that all NFL GMs agree with me. He'll get his shot.

Purvis is getting a raw deal. But you have to say he was hurt by his QBs this year. If he caugh 50 passes again there would be much more interest and he'd probably be at the combine.

Ed said...

Any NFL GM who wastes a draft pick on Chris Crane should be fired before exercising that team's next draft pick.

It is possible that Crane may someday become a good QB. It is similarly possible that if I jump out of a tall building, I will be picked up by a friendly passing bird and placed lightly on the ground.

Big Jack Krack said...

I have never rewatched the ACCCG a second time - but it seems to me that the loss of Akins for that game really hurt us. He did very well in October - ATL wrote "Akins spied Taylor a few yards outside of the pocket and everyone else just waited back in zones. It worked over and over. I was also impressed by the run stopping on 3rd and short and 4th and short."

I'm not surprised he was invited.

Unfortunately, Toal will have to prove himself. With all his injuries, maybe he should fight to make a team - prove it to himself that he could - and then move into college coaching. Best of luck to Ramsey, Crane, Robinson and Purvis.

Brablc said...

Randomly, I saw Akins name on a Sporting News Magazine Top 100 prospects list a few months back at 98 (unfortunately I have no link). He was always a good pass rusher from LB or CB, so maybe in the right system he'd be a good rotation guy.

Scott said...

Akins will be drafted higher than most b/c people have seen him do special things at 4 different spot (including DE). He's just an explosive, versatile player with instincts. They don't need a position for him, they just need packages for him. He'll show up on everyone's sleeper list, but for the wrong reasons, b/c he was productive.

Ramsey is the steal of the draft. Who ever picks him in the 6th or 7th has a hell of a player who is athletic enough to excel at Tackle.

I predict Francois will go before Toal and Purvis.

Crane will have to play Canadian (then Arena) to make a team. No chance of getting drafted, but not without hope.

Would like to see Robinson play som Arena ball when the league comes back. I think he has more potential at corner than WR.

Ry said...

It's tough to look solely at the percentage decreases for Purvis vs Carlson. You have to take into account the style of offense that was put in place by Logan/Jags and the substitution of a less talented QB. It seemed throughout the season that the dump off to the TE was a play that we very rarely looked for and whether that was the fault of the coaching staff or the QB, who's to say. But I can't help but think that such a marked decline can be attributed to a player regressing. It's just too far of a slide for it to be blamed on the TE himself since rarely in football do you see a player get much worse in the span of a year without undergoing injury or a drastic change in roles.

cullenmi said...


Not sure who saw this but this guy has Raji going #6 and Brace at #52 so even if we only have two players drafted at least one is in the top 10. I don't think BC has had players in the top 10 in consecutive years ever.

Unknown said...

You're right and I think Clif will set some "tongues to waggin" come March 13th!
Good luck to all the BC guys
April 25th & 26th.