clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Translating what NFL teams are really saying at the combine

New, comment

Several head coaches and general managers met with the media on Day 1 of the combine, but what does it mean for the draft?

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Nearly 30 head coaches and general managers across the league spoke on Wednesday at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. Some of them gave an indication of the direction they're taking this offseason. If you can translate the foreign language known as coach speak, the direction the team is taking can be figured out. Here's a few notable translations from the first day of the combine.

New York Jets

Todd Bowles, head coach: "After we looked at the tape, (Antonio Cromartie) didn’t have the greatest year, but he played with a lot of injuries to his credit. ... It was a hard decision, but we need to upgrade a little bit at that position and that was why the decision was made."

Translation: That was Bowles talking about cutting Cromartie. That means the starting cornerback spot in New York opposite Darrelle Revis is wide open. Bowles mentioned on-the-roster players like Dee Milliner and Buster Skrine being options for the open spot. But Milliner has struggled during his career and Skrine is much better in the slot.

The draft could be the place to find a starter. The Jets may not use their first-round pick (No. 20 overall) on a cornerback, but No. 51 or 83 could be in play to fill the position. Houston's William Jackson could step into the starting lineup early in his career and Miami's Artie Burns is intriguing for New York.

Arizona Cardinals

Steve Keim, general manager: "As a GM, you’re always looking at the future. ... Supply and demand is an issue at that position. Finding that position is the hardest job for a general manager to have. There is no secret, we’re always trying to look for the next guy."

Translation: Both Keim and head coach Bruce Arians mentioned looking for an eventual successor for starting quarterback Carson Palmer on Wednesday. The Cardinals used a fourth-round pick on Logan Thomas in 2014, but he's no longer on the roster. If the Cardinals use a pick in the similar range as that, someone like Cardale Jones would be a good choice. He has every pure physical tool. If Jones is gone, Jacoby Brissett of North Carolina State has some good developmental tools.

Dallas Cowboys

Jason Garrett, head coach: "Greg Hardy is a free agent."

Translation: He's not coming back. The Cowboys head coach said a lot in those six words, based on the quick and slightly angered tone in his voice.

When you combine Hardy's free agency, Randy Gregory getting hit with a four-game suspension and sack leader DeMarcus Lawrence needing back surgery, Dallas needs a pass rusher this offseason. That could mean the Cowboys take a long look at Ohio State's Joey Bosa with the fourth overall pick in the draft. If the Cowboys wait until later, players like Clemson's Kevin Dodd and Michigan State's Shilique Calhoun could be appealing in the second round.

Denver Broncos

Gary Kubiak, head coach: "We feel like we definitely have to improve (the offensive line). Does that make it a high priority? I don't know. We're going prepare for this draft at every position just like we do each and every year. Obviously it's a position that we feel like we need to improve upon offensively."

Translation: Regardless of who the Broncos have at quarterback next season, they need to be protected better. Sure, the Broncos get Ty Sambrailo back next season, but they could still draft a guard to replace Evan Mathis. Cody Whitehair of Kansas State would be a good option if he's there with the 31st pick. If he's not, the Broncos could wait and go after Landon Turner of North Carolina or Christian Westerman of Arizona State later in the draft.

Cleveland Browns

Hue Jackson, head coach: "I want to make sure we all understand that that behavior will not be tolerated as we move forward. That's all I want to say about it. I want to leave it at that. Our organization's going to take a stand. And we're going to move on from those kind of situations as we move forward."

Translation: This was about Johnny Manziel, who will be cut on March 9. There may be deeper meaning, specifically for former All Pro wide receiver Josh Gordon. He was suspended all of last season for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse. Gordon applied for reinstatement in January. If he gets reinstated, will the Browns trade him? Even if Gordon is in Cleveland, the Browns need wide receivers. Top receiver Travis Benjamin is a free agent and could be gone.

The Browns have options. In the second round, Josh Doctson of TCU or Will Fuller of Notre Dame should be on the board at No. 32. Waiting longer, Rashard Higgins of Colorado State and De'Runnya Wilson of Mississippi State are solid options in the third or fourth round.

* * *

NFL Scouting Combine: The players with the most at stake