Day 4: Behind the combine curtain

An NFL employee led us down the concourse and into the elevator. We were not blindfolded, but it seems as if that would’ve been an appropriate safeguard.

This morning I was one of a dozen or so reporters allowed to watch Group 4 participate in drills at the combine in Lucas Oil Stadium.


After being led off the elevator, the group of reporters seemingly walked the entire perimeter of the stadium to a suite in the middle of the field. I glanced into one suite we passed along the way and saw the Cowboys' braintrust of Jerry Jones and Wade Phillips in conversation.


It was a long walk. Just wondering if perhaps Alabama tackle Andre Smith is not AWOL, after all. Maybe he jost got lost in Lucas Oil Stadium. He could still be wandering the halls, trying to find a way out.


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The Group 4 session consisted of:


Quarterbacks (11): Jason Boltus (Hardwick), Rhett Bomar (Sam Houston State), Tom Brandstater (Fresno State), Nathan Brown (Central Arkansas), Hunter Cantwell (Louisville), Rudy Carpenter (Arizona State), Chase Daniel (Missouri), Nate Davis (Ball State), Josh Freeman (Kansas State), Cullen Harper (Clemson), Graham Harrell (Texas Tech).


Receivers (22): Ramses Barden (Cal Poly), Kenny Britt (Rutgers), Deon Butler (Penn State), Demetrius Byrd (LSU), Jeremy Childs (Boise State), Austin Collie (BYU), Quan Cosby (Texas), Michael Crabtree (Texas Tech), Jarett Dillard (Rice), Dominique Edison (Stephen F. Austin), Brooks Foster (North Carolina), Brandon Gibson (Washington State), Brian Hartline (Ohio State), Percy Harvin (Florida), Darrius Heyward-Bey (Maryland), Juaquin Iglesias (Oklahoma), Manuel Johnson (Oklahoma), Taurus Johnson (South Florida), Aaron Kelly (Clemson), Johnny Knox (Abilene Christian), Quinten Lawrence (McNeese State) and Jeremy Maclin (Missouri).


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My assignment was to file pool reports on Brandstater and Collie, so most of my focus was on those two prospects. Brandstater has tremendous physical ability. He had a very impressive day, as he was the standout thrower from this group of QBs. Brandstater is rated as a sixth- or seventh-round pick, according to


Collie is viewed as a fourth-round pick. He did not fare as well. He ran a 4.55 in the 40, and after going perfect in the gauntlet drill, his hands betrayed him a little. Collie let a deep pass from Carpenter get too far into his body and he dropped it.


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Crabtree, obviously, did not take part in the workout. But he was on hand, catching some passes as a stationary target when the quarterbacks were going through mobility skills.


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There was a scare when Missouri receiver Jeremy Maclin stumbled awkwardly and fell toward the end of a "go" route as he tried to adjust on an underthrown pass from Boltus. Maclin was helped off the field, but he returned only 10 minutes later to complete the drills.


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The remaining receivers and quarterbacks, including Matthew Stafford and Mark Sanchez, are going through their workouts right now.


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Click here to keep tabs on all the performances from the combine.


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