By: Barry Barnes, Founder
The NFL Scouting Combine is an annual event all 32 teams look forward to in hopes to find the future for their franchises. All scouts, coaches and general managers are on deck planning and plotting. And where the NFL needle points, the media is sure to follow. Clearly, majority of the clubs dismissed one point of interest provided by NFL Operations – the NFL Regional Combine, which was held in Baltimore Saturday.
Albeit, all the participants of the RC are recorded for all 32 teams to examine. However, some things are better viewed in person, especially in the NFL when the purpose of the Combine Series was constructed by NFL Ops for teams to build towards greatness.
There were some disappointments with players’ 40 times and other outputs from the offensive standouts at the Scouting Combine. If the NFL Regional Combine was taken serious enough for that ‘one day,’ squads would have been impressed with the showings.
Here’s what they missed.
The signal callers were decent. Harvard’s Scott Hoschton was the fastest, while Joe Callahan of Division III’s Wesley College was the most polish. Callahan has a zip on his balls and his accuracy was on point with consistency.
Out of the 38 pass catchers, eight clocked in the 4.4s, while the slowest registered 4.87.
Apparently, the RC hosts elite speed.
The aggressive pass catching tight end of West Liberty State, Daree’ Goodwin kicked things off with his 4.65 40 time, the best for his position. The 6-4, 235-pound West Virginia native is versatile as he can perform on a high level as a tight end or receiver. Goodwin displayed the great hands and explosiveness needed for the position.
“I wanted to become more explosive,” said Goodwin. “I started working on my 40, broad jump and vertical. Playing as a tight end within the box, I have to go and get the ball because they (defenders) want it to. I want the quarterback to know I will get it (ball) for him, make the play for him.”
When Douglas Warrick stepped onto the field, it was reminisce of Cincinnati Bengals tight end Matt Lengel, who performed at last year’s workout in Baltimore. Warrick is a huge target. The 6-6, 220-pound tight end made all hand catches and took off with power down the field after each grab.
Hopefully, his performance will garner him a look, and made a NFL squad, like Lengel did.
“It’s exciting to be compared to guys in the league. It’s great exposure,” said Warrick. “To showcase my skills coming from a small school, that was a great opportunity. I had a lot of help to get to this point. Right now, I’m training with Team EXOS. They have a location out of Raleigh (North Carolina). I can’t say enough about them. They have taken me to the next level in my training.”
Anthony Kelly of Kutztown don’t come close to Goodwin or Warrick’s stature, standing 6-0, 198-pounds, but in terms of speed, his wheels can’t be touch as he posted the highest 40 time with a 4.40.
Kelly has a track and field background. Combined with his solid catching ability and balance, the touchdown machine has the capacity to be a play-maker. “AK” stated he’s “a little gifted,” referring to his speed. However, he credits his training.
“I went to TEST Football Academy in Jersey. They helped me a lot with the little stuff,” said Kelly. “I worked with Kevin Geary, an Olympic sprinter. He helped to knock my 40 time down from a 4.5 to a 4.4.”
Reginald Blackmon came to the workouts early while the defensive players were showcasing their talents. Blackmon was focus and compared from the beginning. The 6-2, 205-pound standout from Siena Heights is agile, quick and fundamentally sound.
“The biggest thing for me is the mental aspect of everything,” said Blackmon. “I have a great dad who encourages me. I have to install those thoughts. It starts with the mental aspect, then the physical part. Whenever I line up, I’m like ‘I got to get that ball’. Before the ball is in the air, I’m looking to go get it. I thank God and I’m humbled by this opportunity.”
William Martin performed on the practice field as if his life depend on it. There was no smiling or laughing. Martin of St. Francis, PA attacked my sessions and never thought twice about his journey to the NFL. Acknowledging he was prepared is an overstatement.
“It definitely did,” said Martin when asked if football saved his life. “It helped me to stay focus. It kept me away from a lot of drama. Being with coach Larry (guardian) and football helped me in general. You dream about this, man. From prep school and college and, boom, I’m here.”
Overall, the receivers were pretty decent, especially Group two. Group two was loaded with potential NFL talent. Maurice Easterling (American International), Jesstin Hamm (Gannon), Kim Ross (West Virginia Wesleyan), Andrew King (Morgan State) and Tanner Napier (Morehead State) to name a few.
Jaron Moorer of Clarion towers at 5-8, 165-pounds. He’s on the lighter side, but he did everything right. If Moorer can apply more pounds, he will be a steal.
Shaun Workinger of Concord is NFL ready. His strength, size, build and hands allowed him to shine among the full backs.
When it came to running backs, Radir Annoor of Tennessee Tech was tops. Simply put, Annoor was born to carry the rock, and scoring three touchdowns in his first little league game probably is proof of that.
Annoor moved gracefully combined with balance, burst, great footwork and his ability to catch from out the backfield wowed the facility as a complete package.
The former track star was ready to go since late November.
“I registered as soon as possible, I believe it was late November, ” said Annoor. “I got my plan together, decided who I was going to train with. From there, man, I trusted the process. I trusted that my trainer would get me where I needed to be. I still need to work on things, but I’m happy with today.”
Thus far, Baltimore hosted the most offensive linemen during this season’s sessions. Zachary Will (Cornell) displayed tons of power and Mathu Gibson Jr. of Wingate is light on his feet and is extremely fast.
Nevertheless, Howard’s John Smith was the position’s star of the day. The former high school basketball player demonstrated his athleticism, quickness and power. He explodes off the snap and thrusts with complete power from his legs through his arms.
HBCU programs were well represented in the Baltimore-held workouts with more than 30 attendees. Other than trying to prove he is NFL ready, the 6-7, 300-pound lean offensive lineman was out on another mission.
“My biggest motivation was not only to rep my school, but all HBCUs across the nation,” said Smith. “Howard have a lot of great athletes. I wanted to put that out there to let people know HBCUs have a lot talent and I wanted to help elevate that awareness.
“This was big for me. This is my job, this is my future.”
What a future indeed.
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