The NFL’s first inaugural veterans combine showcased a wide range of veterans lobbying for the chance to get on an NFL roster in 2015.
The event had 105 players show up out of 150 that were invited, and every position with the exception of special teams was on display.
Veterans that have had some success in the league may come in as front-runners to make a roster this year. But like everyone else had to put a lot of good action on tape to prove they can still do it at a high level. That was the main words from most of these guys during interview sessions, guys like RB Felix Jones, DE Adam Carriker, QB Brady Quinn and Tyler Wilson and RB Michael Bush all coming in with the notion they are not done yet.
For some guys their day didn’t go as well as they would have liked, as RB Michael Bush after his performance said, “There you go, there goes my career” in a disappointed tone of voice. Most of these guys know that this could very well be their last opportunity to fulfill their dreams, and Bush running a slow 40 time at 4.91 may not be enough.
The quarterback position had familiar names with some game experience that yielded some success in their careers, Brady Quinn being the biggest name to take the field, which for him and all of these veterans that have done something in the league, should all be commended for having the courage to display their talents and prove themselves all over again.
Quinn looked pretty sharp and clean today, in fact he was one of the ones doing a little of the demonstrating for the trainers on the field in drills. “I’m 30, but I feel mentally as good as I’ve ever felt and as far as throwing the ball and understanding the game, I feel great,” said the former first-round pick. “I had a great preseason with Seattle. I didn’t get much of an opportunity in Miami, but I was 4-for-4 on the reps I got.” Said Quinn during an interview.
Drawing the most media coverage as expected was seventh round draft pick Michael Sam. Coming into the event very confident that he will show enough to make an NFL team next year, but was that the case from the scouts and coaches that watch him struggle to move his hips during drills.
There was not really anything that we have not seen from Sam, as he looked pretty much the same if not worse from his rookie combine in Indianapolis. There he ran a 4.95 40 time but clocked a 5.0 flat during this weekends event. Its going to be hard to determine where Sam will fit position wise as he may be to slow to play out-side linebacker and to small to play defensive end.
There is always someone that stands out in these types of events, one that can be a sleeper that no one is paying much attention to. After carefully observing the quarterback position one player stood out in drills. Keep this name in your mind while OTA’s and training camps roll around, Jerrod Johnson.
Johnson threw the ball with good accuracy and zip. Almost every ball was a tight spin spiral; with exception of a few low balls he really caught the eye of a few people out there. Jerrod was an American football quarterback for the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League. He was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles as an undrafted free agent in 2011.
He played college football at Texas A&M. Johnson was Texas A&M’s starting quarterback from 2008 to 2010, finishing his collegiate career ranked first in school history with 8,011 passing yards and 8,888 yards total offense. Standing at a tall 6’5 250 lbs. he looks the part of a pocket passer, but he can move as well. Look for Johnson to get an opportunity this year on a 90-man roster for training camp and perhaps has enough playing experience to warrant a shot on a roster at the start of the 2015 season.
Regardless of the background or experience in the league, each one of these guys still believes it’s their destiny to play in the NFL. The reality is, out of 105 guys that showed today a very low percentage will actually even make it to a training camp let alone a roster spot.
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