Five University of Miami football players received invites to the NFL Rookie Scouting Combine, which will take place February 23rd through 29th in Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium.READ MORE: Norwegian Cruise Line CEO Warns Company Could Take Ships Out Of Florida Over Vaccine Proof Ban
Safety Deon Bush, inside linebacker Raphael Kirby, defensive end Ufomba Kamalu, wide receiver Rashawn Scott and cornerback Artie Burns all received invites to the NFL’s exclusive cattle call.
All the Canes’ invitees were seniors this past season except for Burns, who was a junior and declared for the draft despite having one year of eligibility remaining.
Still, there are heads to be turned and money to be made for the Canes as they are poked and prodded at the Combine at the end of the month.
Weight: 197 pounds
What scouts are saying: NFL.com wrote of Burns: “Premium athlete with long, angular build and preferred blend of size and speed. [He’s] one of the top 60-meter hurdlers in college track and field. [Burns] wakes up every morning with natural ball skills to flip the field…[however] tape isn’t his best friend; he’s extremely raw and undisciplined…”
Best drill: 40-yard dash and/or Shuttle run – Burns was an elite hurdler through high school and during his time with Hurricanes. He consistently ran in the 7.7 second range in the 60-meter hurdles. So to drop some serious math, 60 meters converts to about 66 yards, which means Burns was covering about 8.5 yards every second at that pace – putting him around a 4.6 time in the 40-yard dash. Excuse the obvious pun, but that was with a bunch of hurdles in the way. Take the hurdles away and Burns should easily get to the 4.4 range – maybe sub-4.4.
Worst drill: 3-cone drill – Because Burns is a natural athlete, he won’t flat out “tank” at one drill in particular. But he has shown throughout his college career to have issues with change of direction at high speeds – which is what the 3-cone drill is all about. A good time here would be right up there with his 40-yard dash in convincing teams that he has elite physical tools and just needs to continue to polish his coverage skills.
Combine outlook: Burns just has to do what he does best at the Combine – which is let his athleticism show. Running and jumping are right in his wheelhouse. What he does and/or says during the interviews is where he can endear himself the 32 teams.
Weight: 235 pounds
What scouts are saying: NFL.com wrote of Kirby: “[He] keeps playing through blocks and will come off to make a diving tackle. [He] plays with good down and distance recognition. Has reactive athleticism and agility to change directions quickly and work back into counters and cutbacks…However, [he] tore his ACL midseason, which will prevent him from working out at the combine. [He’s] undersized and can be dislodged from run fit by lead blockers. [He] takes questionable angles to the ball losing run fits. Ultimately, Kirby is a ‘try-hard’ linebacker with good football character but only moderate production at best…”
Best drill: 225-pound bench press – If Kirby were able to do anything, a solid rep number in the bench press could go a long way to showing scouts that he could be a linebacker that could strong in inside run support. There are still a handful of 2-down linebackers that make their presence felt with strong play inside and with good leadership.
Worst drill: Shuttle run – The fact that Kirby can’t participate in drills might help him here. It would further show that he’s more of a 2-down backer – not able to effectively cover tight ends and running backs in space.
Combine outlook: Because his knee injury will keep him from participating in any drills during the Combine, Kirby has to wow the scouts and execs with his football smarts, passion for the game and his intangibles as a leader on the field and potentially in the locker room.
Position: Wide receiver
Weight: 198 pounds
What scouts are saying: No pre-draft scouting report available.
Best drill: 3-cone drill – This is where Scott’s “smooth” athleticism can shine a bit. The 3-cone drill is all about changing direction and fluidity of movement and those are Scott’s repertoire. Another drill that could allow Scott, who met with the Chicago Bears during the East-West Shrine Game, to impress is the bench press. Scott has a solid frame and it would look good for him to show that there’s some functional strength within it. Receivers that aren’t initially aren’t highly touted usually have to make their early bones on special teams and by doing the little things – like blocking downfield. Plus strong numbers in the bench press and 3-cone drill would show scouts that he has little to no lingering effects of his shoulder and knee injuries.READ MORE: Woman Arrested Following Fight At Miami International Airport
Worst drill: 40-yard dash – Scott has never been a “burner” on the outside that can take to top off a defense. Through high school and in college he was routinely clocked around the 4.5 to 4.6 range. Again, that’s faster than most of us can blink, but in the NFL – specifically at the Combine – they make a big deal about those tenths of seconds. Scott’s time in the 10- and 20-yard splits of the 40-yard dash should be where scouts look, though. He can get open downfield because of his combo of size and speed.
Combine outlook: Scott has the chance to be another Allen Hurns type of NFL prospect; someone who comes in largely under the radar, but ends up impressing some scouts and getting in the right situation and flourishing greatly. He must interview well and show that he’s matured and isn’t a red flag because of his injury background.
Position: Defensive lineman
Weight: 295 pounds
What scouts are saying: One scouting report said of Kamulu: “Kamalu is strong, big, quick, and intimidating physically. He has all the attributes an NFL GM wants in a defensive end. He has no problem throwing around his weight and appears to play every snap as hard as he possibly can. The biggest problem with Kamalu’s game when watching film, is that on both his pass rushes and when holding the point of attack, his pad level tends to be a bit high. He often makes up for it with brute strength and aggression. But he needs to learn to tilt and slant his body better to maximize leverage. Also, he needs to develop some other moves to get past blockers.”
Best drill: 225-pound bench press – With his size and stature, a high rep number would validate what many believe about Kamalu – he’s full of brute strength.
Everyone remembers what he did to the Georgia Tech quarterback, right?
Worst drill: 40-yard dash – Kamalu has run times in the high 4.9-second range before, once even being clocked in the 5-second range. For most folks that’s outstanding. At the NFL Combine – not so much. He’s nearly 300 pounds and scouts will want to see how well he moves it. If he can get in the 4.8 range, he should stand to make himself a bit more money than he would if he hit that 4.9 or 5-second range.
Combine outlook: Scouts are going to be intrigued by his size alone. They’ll want to see how well he moves and just his overall athletic ability. Some teams may give him a look as a potential defensive tackle in a 4-3 scheme, but he’s going to catch the attention of a lot of 3-4 teams because he can be someone who competes for time in a rotation as a four or five-technique end.
Weight: 202 pounds
What scouts are saying: NFL.com wrote of Bush: “[Bush] has good size for the position and has no problem with the physical part of the game and won’t hesitate to come strike. [He] comes downhill under control looking to mirror the runner. [Bush] is a good leaper that can get up and disrupt at the high point. Also, he’s able to turn and run from the hash. [He] appears comfortable and capable in zone coverage underneath, but struggles to change direction in space affecting coverage and tackling. He saw a sharp decline in his tackle success rate in 2015. [He] tends to play ‘through a straw’. From two-deep, gets hyper focused on receivers to his side and doesn’t read development of play. [He] shows presnap confusion at times on tape. Also, a lack of instincts and feel for the position limit his range and playmaking ability outside his initial area. [Bush is] a mid-rounder with very good special teams value…”
Best drill: 40-yard dash – Like Burns, Bush is a great runner. He possesses that typical “Miami speed” and he definitely needs to display it during the Combine. Seriously doubt Bush will be in the running for the Adidas 1-million dollar challenge, but he could certainly do himself a lot of favors by clocking a 4.4 time. Adidas 1-million dollar challenge, but he could certainly do himself a lot of favors by clocking a 4.4 time.
Worst drill: 3-cone drill – Again, like Burns, Bush doesn’t appear to be someone who just falls flat during the drills – especially one that requires running. However. This drill, in particular, doesn’t play completely to Bush’s strengths as an athlete. The fluidity of movement in the hips and change of direction is what this drill measures and Bush may struggle just a bit with it.
Combine outlook: Athletically, Bush should be just fine. Where he needs to wow the scouts is with his ability to interview well as a student of the game and as a potential leader. There probably won’t be many better overall athletes in Indianapolis than Bush, so within that he has to show his physical strength (at least 15 reps in the bench press) and football smarts.
Here’s a schedule of events at this year’s NFL Rookie Combine:
Wednesday, Feb. 24
» Media interviews for running backs, offensive linemen and special teamers
Thursday, Feb. 25
» Media interviews for quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends
Friday, Feb. 26
» Media interviews for defensive linemen and linebackers
» On-field workouts for running backs, offensive linemen and special teamers
Saturday, Feb. 27
» Media interviews for defensive backs
» On-field workouts for quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends
Sunday, Feb. 28
» On-field workouts for defensive linemen and linebackers
Monday, Feb. 29
» On-field workouts for defensive backs
For more information on the NFL Combine, visit www.NFLCombine.net