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Lou: KFFL.com is providing Draft King with a series of articles direct from Indianapolis, the site of the 2008 NFL Combine. Enjoy!


February 25, 2008

NFL Scouting Combine: The Return Home
By: Nicholas Minnix, KFFL.com

The doctors are ... in.

KFFL managing editor Cory J. Bonini and I returned to the office today after a whirlwind of a weekend at the NFL Scouting Combine. The flight home wasn't nearly as much of an ordeal as the one heading out, but that doesn't mean I'll spare you some of the details. They won't be complaints, either.

First, on to some final thoughts about the combine itself. The NFL did another fine job hosting, I'd say. It's tough to complain about any facets the event when you try to put order to chaos. Players are available when they're available, if they're available. It'd be nice to watch workouts, but with the way the league controls things nowadays, the opportunity to talk to the players in the setting we get is acceptable.

Defensive backs, along with a few leftovers from other positions, hit the podiums and tables Sunday. Among the "leftovers" was Louisiana State defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey, about whom pundits are expressing their doubts as his injury history becomes a bigger topic of concern. Other notables were up-and-coming Tennessee State cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and what seems to be the consensus top safety, University of Miami (Fla.) free safety Kenny Phillips.

Dorsey said that he had no plans to work out at the combine because he missed training time after his grandmother passed away. (Condolences to the Dorsey clan.) He fractured his tibia before his junior season and dealt with a knee injury that limited him a bit this past season. As he says, though, he hasn't missed a game since he arrived at LSU. During his junior season, he wasn't even aware that he had sustained the tibia fracture.

Teams can never be too careful, and tests taken this past weekend will tell the whole story, but Dorsey doesn't appear to have lingering health issues. It shouldn't be a worry to a team like the St. Louis Rams, who pick second. That's assuming the Miami Dolphins go in a different direction, with someone like Chris Long, the defensive end from the University of Virginia, who might better fit the defense Miami plans to run. Meanwhile, Dorsey to the Rams would allow the club to move defensive tackle Adam Carriker to right end, where he's a better asset. At 6-foot-6, he's so tall that interior linemen easily get leverage on him. At end, he can use his 308 pounds to overpower an offensive tackle, and he could merely kick a chipping back out of the way like a yapping chihuahua. Carriker's strength is defending the run, but he can be somewhat of a pass-rushing force lined up next to Dorsey, who can collapse a pocket.

St. Louis needs to generate a pass rush, and I believe drafting Dorsey gives them the best chance to accomplish that in the long term. This year there are a number of intriguing threats at the rush end spot. Defensive end Leonard Little (toe) should return to full strength this year, but he turns 34 this season. If the Rams take Dorsey and use a later pick on a future replacement for Little, I think you're setting yourself up with a pretty mean defensive line.

Switching gears (and taking a trip in the time machine), I made pretty clear my stance on University of Oregon running back Jonathan Stewart in my blog Saturday. I wanted to add that, for fantasy purposes, Stewart seems to be the better bet as well. Now, a ton will depend on where each of these players go. If University of Arkansas running back Darren McFadden heads to the Oakland Raiders, the fantasy potential is large there after the way they picked up the increasingly popular zone-blocking scheme. Stewart to the, say, New York Jets would be a fantasy nightmare. The point I wanted to make: Stewart has the kind of game and frame that fantasy owners would be able to count on for consistent points. McFadden has the fantasy makings of New Orleans Saints running back Reggie Bush - a dazzling 37 fantasy points one week, followed by nine the next.

As for details of the trip home: Only minor delays this time, you'll be happy to hear. Flight time for both legs was less than estimated, though, so they weren't even noticeable. And we couldn't have picked a better flight for the first leg. We shared a plane with several draft prospects and assistant coaches. Todd Haley, offensive coordinator for the Arizona Cardinals, stopped me as I was boarding US Airways Flight 399. "You're one of those KFFL guys. I see our guys on your site all the time." That's right, Todd, and it was a pleasure to meet you, for sure; at our layover in Phoenix, I made it a point to run into new San Diego Chargers receivers coach (and former Chargers great) Charlie Joiner, as well.

All in all, it was an enjoyable trip to Indy. Beaten-down and bleary-eyed, we now return to our regularly scheduled lives. I guess you could say the same for all of those draft prospects, too, except that their lives aren't normal, and many of them will be cashing much fatter paychecks this summer.


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