SOUTHLAKE, TEXAS – The 2011 edition of the popular all-star challenge for draft-eligible prospects is in the books. It is time to recap all the action as it pertains to dynasty fantasy football leagues.
The 13 players in attendance participated in a variety of drills that gave them another chance to show off their intangibles, personality, interaction with their competitors and how they competed. It is important to note that not much stock is put into these performances by scouts, but it is a fun event for the players and draftniks alike.
I will recap each drill with the results including my thoughts and impressions. For Andy Miley’s thoughts, click here.
Here were the 13 players that participated:
- QB Ryan Mallett – Arkansas
- QB Jake Locker – Washington
- QB Andy Dalton – TCU
- WR Austin Pettis – Boise St.
- WR Torrey Smith – Maryland
- RB Jordan Todman – Connecticut
- RB Shane Vereen – California
- LB Ross Homan – Ohio St.
- LB Von Miller – Texas A&M
- LB Kelvin Sheppard – LSU
- DE Sam Acho – Texas
- DE Ryan Kerrigan – Purdue
- DT Ian Williams – Notre Dame
- Ryan Mallett – 340 points
- Jake Locker – 260 points
- Andy Dalton – 250 points
Ryan Mallett was surprisingly accurate with an effortless throwing motion. He easily dominated this drill and easy to see why he is known to trust his arm so much. There is no questioning the fact that Mallett has a NFL-ready arm.
Jake Locker was over thinking his throws in the first round, but came back to finish was a solid effort in the second round. The intangibles are there with Locker, and as we saw later on, he is better in game-type situations than throwing drills.
Andy Dalton had a solid performance but did not impress. He doesn’t have the arm strength that Mallett or Locker possesses and his throws downfield lost accuracy.
- Austin Pettis – :32.21 seconds
- Torrey Smith – :33.95 seconds
- Shane Vereen – :34.93 seconds
- Jordan Todman – :35.32 seconds
Austin Pettis was the biggest surprise, especially in this competition. Pettis showed effortless hands and focus in receiving from the Jugs machines. He then finished up the rest of the obstacle course with good burst. I had overlooked Pettis to this point and now I need to go back and take a second look at his game tape. His performance was eerily similar to Jordan Shipley’s from last season in the same drill.
Torrey Smith eased concerns about his tendency to body-catch throws showing good hands. Most importantly, Smith put his impressive speed on display and looked stronger than when his season concluded. His route-running needs refinement much like a similar player did when he left college in Roddy White of the Atlanta Falcons.
Jordan Todman did not look out of place in this traditional wide receiver drill. He showed some lack of concentration in the obstacle course portion and was victimized by Mallett’s errant high throw in the end zone. Todman rebounded well in later drills.
Shane Vereen was impressive and kept his concentration when several of the passes were errant from the Jugs machine. Vereen had a compact frame at 5’10” 193 lbs and showed some of the speed he was known for.
- Von Miller – :27.30 seconds
- Kelvin Sheppard – :32.18 seconds
- Ross Homan – : 32.96 seconds
Von Miller only participated in this event and was the most impressive performer of the day. Miller was freakishly fast and fluid running the course. He dropped his hips well and showed that his elite pass rushing skills at the college level will translate to the NFL. Miller showed that he is a hard-worker willing to compete and has the personality and intelligence to be a star at the next level. It would be shocking to see him fall past either the Buffalo Bills or Arizona Cardinals in the first round.
Kelvin Sheppard showed good athleticism and speed but was not in the same class as Miller. His best position will be at inside linebacker. Ross Homan showed good conditioning and effort. Homan looks like a solid special teams contributor early in his career.
- Sam Acho – :22.17 seconds
- Ian Williams – :22.75 seconds
- Ryan Kerrigan – :25.78 seconds
It was good to see some defensive lineman competing this year for the first time and not the kickers. Sam Acho made a name for himself not only with his physical skills but also with his intangibles. Acho did not stop smiling the entire competition and was well-articulated and intelligent. Acho showed the flexibility to play both defensive end and outside linebacker in a 3-4 alignment.
Ryan Kerrigan showed he is a gamer and high-motor player. Kerrigan was penalized in the obstacle course which led him to finish behind Ian Williams. Williams is a nose-guard prospect and did not look that out-of-place in comparison to his competitors.
- Jake Locker/Austin Pettis – :16:69 seconds
- Ryan Mallett/Torrey Smith – :17.13 seconds
- Andy Dalton/Jordan Todman – :18.19 seconds
- Sam Acho/Shane Vereen- :30.14 seconds
- Kelvin Sheppard/Ian Williams – :30.16 seconds
- Ross Homan/Ryan Kerrigan – :30.55 seconds
For the first time in this event’s history, players teamed up to compete in events. Jake Locker and Austin Pettis were impressive showing good chemistry with each other. Only in the post-event interview did they reveal they train at the same facility in southern California. Torrey Smith impressed again and adjusted well to several passes from Ryan Mallett that were behind him. Afterwards, Mallett took some fake pictures of Smith with his hands and pretended to sign the football. Jordan Todman looked more fluid than his earlier drill and rebounded well.
Sam Acho continued to impress while running back Shane Vereen filled in for Von Miller in the defensive drills. It is that attitude and willingness to compete regardless of what the situation is that will help him at the next level.
Final Team Competition
- Andy Dalton/Jordan Todman/Sam Acho/Shane Vereen – :42.65 seconds
- Jake Locker/Austin Pettis Ross Homan/Ryan Kerrigan – :50.58 seconds
- Ryan Mallett/Torrey Smith/Kelvin Sheppard/Ian Williams – :55.02 seconds
In the final event of the day, the remaining 12 players (minus Von Miller who left due to a prior commitment) participated in a team competition for final bragging rights. The Andy Dalton-led team pulled out the victory on the strength of their two skill position players in Jordan Todman and Shane Vereen.
My Final Thoughts
As I stated in the opening, it is important not to put much stock in this all-star challenge but it was valuable in seeing the personality and intangibles of the players involved.
Jake Locker rebounded well from his Senior Bowl performance and solidified himself as a first-round selection. Locker will not be ready to start from Day 1 but has all the intangibles required of a franchise quarterback. Andy Dalton’s stock remained the same with his performance. He is going to be a mid-round selection, and like Locker, will not be ready to start immediately. Ryan Mallett put his big arm on display and showed some surprising accuracy, which some scouts have questioned. Mallet is the highest risk-highest reward quarterback in your dynasty rookie draft this year.
Austin Pettis was the biggest surprise. His catch radius was impressive, and although he won’t have an elite 40-yard time in Indianapolis, he can be a factor at the next level. Torrey Smith eased concerns about his body-catching and showed a more muscular physique over the last month. Jordan Todman and Shane Vereen both ran tough and had solid builds that will cause teams to view them more than just change of pace running backs.
It is easy to run out of superlatives in describing Von Miller. He had the performance of the day and is a sure-fire top-5 selection in the NFL Draft. Sam Acho showed that his more than just a high-character player and could fit any defensive scheme. Ryan Kerrigan can also play in any scheme and his high-motor will win coaches over.