Barry Barnes, Founder/Senior Writer
Miami, FLA – March Madness, what a great way to define the third month of the calendar year. NFL free agency kicks off in March, spring training for the Major Leaguers, and of course, the NCAA Tournaments bring devastation, tears, joy and celebration. Quietly, there is another head scratching, madness filled event that is untapped, but it’s just as rewarding as the big deal signings, bat swinging and the cutting down of the nets – the NFL Regional Combines.
The search for the next overlooked star athlete continued in Miami as over 500 inspiring NFL players, including the Gronkowski brothers in Chris and Daniel, took the turf at Doctors Hospital Training Facility, where the Miami Dolphins practice. Both brothers are attempting to rejoin their other sibling in the NFL, tight end Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots.
Chris had a short stint with San Diego Chargers as a full back, while Daniel (who was selected in seventh-round by the Detroit Lions in 2009) spent three seasons in the league as a tight end with the Denver Broncos (2010), Patriots (2011) and Cleveland Browns (2011). Unfortunately for Chris, his day was cut short due to a hamstring injury.
When the defensive players took to the turf for their sessions, they looked like they wanted to hit someone. Fortunately, the future combatants of the trenches did not strike anyone, but they did hit the ground running.
Defensive backs were by the dozens, and two players in particular, Gyovanni Harvey (cornerback from Arkansas-Pine Bluff) and Matthew Moro (safety from West Virginia), stood out. Harvey made a couple of amazing catches and Moro put his strong hands on display, making each catch look easy.
In addition, cornerback Brodick Jenkins from West Virginia and safety Jarrell Holman from Arizona State had solid showings. Cornerback Kedron Paul from Fort Hays State needed to be recognized as well as he rarely missed a ball thrown his way.
Offensive linemen help is always needed in the NFL, and several teams such the Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers, Tennessee Titans, Arizona Cardinals, Washington Redskins and a couple of others must address their need this season. With many Miami scouts in attendance, the protectors of the line of scrimmage had a solid outing.
Guard Jarien Moreland (Southern Illinois) and center Demetrius Rhaney (Tennessee State) were among the best Saturday. While guard Zarah Yisrael from Troy did his thing Sunday as he displayed speed and power.
Guard Ricardo Agnant, despite not having a record of attending college, displayed tremendous heart as he pushed through his drills – all on a bad hamstring. Moreland a huge kid, is very agile and fast. A squad will definitely sign him.
As usual, the wideouts were not going to be out done, especially Darius Millines. Millines is a playmaking wide receiver and was at Illinois until he got dismissed from the program for violating unspecified team rules in May of 2013. Fortunately for Millines, the Regional Combines does not hold individuals against their past transgressions and allow them to have the opportunity to showcase their talents in hopes for a solid professional playing career.
Millines transferred to Colorado State University to finish out his senior year. Millines came in Saturday looking to put on a performance.
And Millines killed it. The Florida native was outstanding in his shuttle work and practically ripped the paint off the field in the 40-yard dash posting one of the top times of the weekend. He definitely made a statement.
Khalil Webster, brother of Denver Broncos cornerback Kayvon Webster, out of South Florida did well, too. Toby Goodson of South Carolina State made a couple of great grabs and showed good speed.
For other notables, Florida International’s Donovan Jones and Jarius Williams, Aldarius Johnson of the University of Miami and Daniel Siple out of Broward College, Fred Cromartie out of Albany State (cousin of Antonio and Dominique Rodgers Cromartie) and Gino Crump out of Arizona had impressive workouts.
Crump is physically ready for the NFL, now.
Among the signal callers, Bowling Green’s Omar Jacobs demonstrated his big arm.
The Regional Combine will journey to Baltimore and Indianapolis to close out the final weekend of March. With all eyes on the Super Regional Combine in Detroit, the NFL hopefuls will be nervously waiting for a special phone call granting them an invitation to the Regional to showcase their abilities once more for the football world to witness.
And for the selected few, these diamonds in the rough will be anticipating to hear the Assistant National Director of the NFL Regional Combine John Aaron echoing his famous words, “You Can Go.”
“Like” us on Facebook now