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The Combine Report: Week Six - Dunbar Filled Large Shoes, Hall Scored His First TD

By: Barry Barnes, Founder

Filling in for a Pro Bowl caliber player in the NFL is a blessing… and a curse.

The blessing is that a player gets the opportunity to perform, but the curse involves the high expectations to excel. If the player succeeds, all parties involved are rewarded.

 

 

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Quinton Dunbar/Redskins.com

The Combine Report: Week Six Preview: Rams WR Mike Thomas Returns, RC Pioneers Will Clash

By: Barry Barnes, Founder

After being suspended for the first four games of the 2017 season due to violating the NFL’s policy on performance enhancing substances, wide receiver Mike Thomas returns to the field with his spirited Los Angeles Rams teammates and looks to add to the explosiveness the receiving corps already has offensively.

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Mike Thomas/Google Images

The Combine Report: Week Five - NFL Regional Combine Veterans Played Their Roles Valiently

All NFL Regional Combine pioneers play a role. And no matter their role…large or small…these players execute their duties well enough to make their teams competitive. Week Five of the NFL was no exception.

 

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Cody Davis/therams.com

The Combine Report: Week Five Preview - A Combine Series Tandem Brewing In Jacksonville

By: Barry Barnes, Founder

Week Four of the NFL was totally owe by the kicking specialists from the NFL Regional Combine. Kicker Greg Zuerlein kept the Los Angeles Rams up right after nailing seen field goal attempts through the uprights, while Denver Broncos kicker Brandon McManus help to keep the game out of reach for the Oakland Raiders.

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The Combine Report: Week Four - Rams' RC Veteran Kicking Specialists Are Special

By: Barry Barnes, Founder

Kickers are like life preservers. Life preservers can’t run the ship, but they can save the people on the ship. Punter Johnny Hekker and kicker Greg Zuerlein, Los Angeles Rams kicking specialists and NFL Regional Combine …

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Rams Kicking Specialist/therams.com

The Combine Report: Week Four Preview - Browns Rookie LB B.J. Bello Earning More Time

By: Barry Barnes, Founder

Unfortunately, it has been the same old song for the Cleveland Browns, especially when it comes to defense. They play hard to keep contests close, but fizzle at the end. Evidently, there is talent in “the Land” on the defense side of the ball from the likes of linebacker Jamie Collins Sr., cornerback Jamar Taylor and safety and return specialist Jabrill Peppers to name a few.

Rookie linebacker B.J. Bello could be in the mix too.

Bello is a hybrid linebacker with a combination of athleticism, speed, aggression and patience. After his under the radar collegiate career at Illinois State, following a transfer from Illinois, he burst onto the NFL Regional Combine scene at the Minnesota-held trials in February.

The 6-2, 229-pound linebacker never lacked confidence, just opportunity. When the Browns signed him as an undrafted rookie, Bello excelled during camps and his progress showed in the preseason as he registered four tackles and a sack.

The Browns recognized Bello’s efforts and made him part of the 53-man roster. He was primarily on special teams and earned three tackles. Against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 3, Bello made it onto the field with the defense and was close to bringing down ball carriers twice.

“Since the age of six, playing in the yard, I wanted to play in the NFL,” said Bello via conversation. “To actually be here now is a dream come true.”

In Week Four, assuming he will fill some spots defensively, Bello could register more numbers.

“This is a great opportunity, man. To be with this organization, the only thing I can do is get better,” voiced Bello.

CHICAGO BEARS (1-2) VS. GREEN BAY PACKERS (2-1)

The Bears gave up nearly double-digit yards in punt returns. Packers return specialist Trevor Davis returned a punt for a touchdown in Week One of the preseason and had a return for 33 yards in Week Three.

Davis is getting close.

RELATED ARTICLE: The Combine Report: Week Three – RC Talents Were Radical In Protest And Played Ball

 

Will Thursday be the night that the second year-man from California and the 2016 RC session in New Orleans take it to the house?

One thing for sure, Bears defensive end Roy Robertson-Harris is looking to get his hands on some Packers, as he has two tackles and a pass defense this season.

LOS ANGELES RAMS (2-1) VS. DALLAS COWBOYS (2-1)

Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence is bringing havoc to opposing quarterbacks with his furious pass rush. Fellow defensive end Benson Mayowa is causing problems as well.

Mayowa is nearly on every play when the Cowboys defensive front bears down on quarterbacks. With five tackles already this season, Mayowa should bring his total to double digits against the Rams.

Field positioning will be the key for the Rams.  They have one of the best punters in the NFL in Johnny Hekker to assist and kicker Greg Zuerlein to help keep things interesting.

Hekker is fourth in the league in net average yards with 44.6 per attempt, while Zuerlein is tied at the top of the NFL with 12 field goals and remains perfect.

Rams defensive back Cody Davis is quietly becoming known for his hard hitting. Against America’s team, in front of a national audience, Davis will have another stage to show that trait.

THE RC RUN-THROUGH

 

  • After a controversial week of standing for the national anthem against the team’s plan, Pittsburgh Steelers left tackle Alejandro Villanueva is looking to steam roll over some Baltimore Ravens, create lanes for the backfield and give quarterback Ben Roethlisberger the time he needs to lead the club. Punter Jordan Berry will keep the Ravens deep in their territory, and the Steelers will need him to.

 

  • Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen is on pace to earn his first 1,000 yard season. The Detroit Lions’ defense will key on wide receiver Stefan Diggs, and Thielen will burn them.

 

  • As rookie wide receiver Keelan Cole continues to prove his worth, the Jacksonville Jaguars will continue to make him a target, as they will fullback Tommy Bohanon who is exploiting his catching skills this season. Against the New York Jets, they will continue their growth. Nevertheless, either player may meet linebacker Julian Stanford, another RC brother.

 

  • Oakland Raiders wide receiver Seth Roberts has been quiet for the past two weeks. He should make some noise against division rival Denver Broncos.

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The Combine Report: Week Three - RC Talents Were Radical In Protest, And Played Ball

By: Barry Barnes, Founder

Week Three of the NFL was…well…interesting, to say the least.

While many more players knelt during the National Anthem, one player in particular, although sensitive to the issues, proudly stood because his heart would not allow him to bow to controversy.

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Alejandro Villaneuva/Google Images

The Combine Report: Week Three Preview - Offensive RC Pioneers Look To Get Back On Track

By: Barry Barnes, Founder

Week Two of the NFL was exciting as defensive players from the NFL Regional Combine stole the show with huge hits and many stops. This week, the athletes on the other side of the ball will be expecting to be let loose.

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Seth Roberts/Raiders.com

The Combine Report: Week Two - Defensive RC Talents Aggressively Attacked

The NFL Regional Combine talents were sharp on the defense in Week Two. Several squads wanted to make amends for Week One. Many put their “best foot forward” via their shoulder pads as hitting was the name of the game for the RC defensive standouts.

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Cody Davis/therams.com

The Combine Report: Week Two Preview - Will RB Penny Elijhaa Get To Face Regular Season Action?

By: Barry Barnes, Founder

The Week Two of the NFL is shaping up to feature some solid intrigue among the NFL Regional Combine pioneers. Several players turned out and had strong performances in Week One. And Week Two should be no different.

 

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Elijhaa Penny/Google Images

The Combine Report: Several RC Players Pushing To Get The Call On Draft Weekend

Barry Barnes on April 27, 2017 - 4:06 pm in AFC East, AFC North, AFC South, AFC West, NFC East, NFC North, NFC South, NFC West, NFL, The Combine Report
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By: Barry Barnes, Founder

While the NFL caters to 22 players at the 2017 NFL Draft in Philadelphia, NFL squads will be servicing dishes of phone calls to hopefuls through the weekend. On the receiving end of the calls, several NFL Regional Combine players will be awaiting.

“The Regional Combine was a great experience,” said former Hawaii standout cornerback Dejaun Butler. “It gave me a chance to get all the jitters out before Pro Day, and also since I attended the first one, it was good to see what I needed to work on.”

Butler is a physical defensive back who has solid ball skills and processes great speed. In his Seattle-held session, Butler registered decent numbers, but according to his standards, the 6-0, 183-pound corner was not pleased.

Dejaun Butler/Twitter

Dejaun Butler/Twitter

On his Pro day, Butler was determined to put on a show, and left a positive impression.

“After my Pro Day, I felt really good overall,” said Butler. “But running 4.38 in front of 28 teams was the icing on the cake because (I) improved from the Regional in Seattle on that Freezing morning when I ran 4.54.

“The teams that have seemed to show the most interest have been (the) Denver (Broncos) and New Orleans (Saints), but there are plenty of teams that are aware of me and I see myself contributing strongly on them as well,” he continued.

“I hope teams were able to see that they are going to receive a speedy, physical player that is ready to come in, take direction and compete.”

After transferring from Santa Monica Junior College in California, Butler embraced the physical style of play as he attacked ball carriers. On special teams, Butler defined his talents and earned the title of captain.

Defensive end John Popovich was another talented standout who ventured through the RC. The defensive end from Southeast Missouri put the NFL on notice following his session in New Orleans where he displayed his agility and power.

John Popovich/Google Images

Popovich is a workhorse and he was a terror on his Pro Day as he entertained clubs spanning from the NFL to CFL. The Philadelphia Eagles has shown interest in Popovich, but he did not settle for one potential opportunity as he attended several CFL squads’ workouts like the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Winnipeg Blue bombers.

He clocked a hand time of 4.59 for the Blue bombers and excelled in his one-on-one drills, including bullying a former Arizona Cardinal.

Tight end Lorenzo Mitchell had a solid workout in the Minnesota-held trials and translated stronger numbers to his Pro Day at Winona State University in front of several teams.

The 6-3, 265-pound Mitchell posted a 4.89 40-time, shuttled right 4.44 and left 4.57, vertical jumped 34’5 inches, bench pressed 24 times and broad jumped 9’3 inches.

Quarterback Austin Apodaca performed before the Broncos’ staff and his confidence is through the roof.

Other prospects like kicker Simon Mathiesen and tight end Tyler Scalzi stock has been soaring of last.

Since his workout at the Washington-held assembly, Mathiesen booted himself on several possible draft boards. Mathiesen was kicking like a mad man for his last two collegiate seasons at Northwest Missouri State as he scored more points than any kicker in college football with 151 points (2015) and 140 (2016).

Mathiesen can freakishly kick 50 yarders with either foot and several teams are quietly raving about the Danish kicker, who is endorsed by legendary NFL kicker Morten Anderson.

Feb. 18, 2017 (Houston, TX) Tusculum College Lorenzo Mitchell at the NFL Regional Combine. (Photo by: John Moore – Locker-Report.com)

Scalzi is an athletic beast and his skill set is registering on teams’ radar, especially after his Pro Day at Texas Tech. His name should surely be called Saturday.

The suspense is thrilling. Many players from the RC workouts are continuously working, and during draft weekend, several will shock the news cycle.

And shortly after, the football world.

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