Watching the NFL combine coverage on TV the past few days, here's what I've seen thus far:
© West Virginia quarterback Pat White ran a 4.49 40-yard dash, plenty fast enough to play any position in the league. White still wants to be a quarterback - for obvious reasons, they make the big money – but he has the ability to do a lot of things. The only question with him will be durability and the ability to get lined up under center after playing in a shotgun-only offense at WVU.
He's already proven that he has, as one scout told me when talking about Kordell Stewart one time, 'oh $^%& speed.'
© The running backs at this year's combine weren't in the same league as the ones available last year. This was not considered a strong running back class to begin with, but only three backs broke the 4.5 mark. Pitt's LeShon McCoy did not run.
© Just in case you were wondering if the new turf in Indianpolis may have slowed the backs down, the receivers proved that wasn't the case.
There were 19 receivers who broke 4.5 seconds, led by Maryland's Darius Heyward-Bey, who clocked in at a smoking 4.30. Heyward-Bey also had a vertical leap of 38.5 and a standing long jump of 10-6, showing his explosiveness as well as speed.
Penn State's Derrick Williams ran a disappointing 4.58.
One of the big winners among the wide receivers was North Carolina's Hakeem Nicks. Viewed as a possession-type receiver with great hands and body control, he ran a 4.49, plenty fast enough to possibly get him into the end of the first round.
© The decision of Alabama's Andre Smith to skip out on the combine after checking in could have repercussions for the Steelers. Smith was considered one of the top two offensive tackles available, but teams may now question his desire.
If that happens, it causes a domino effect the rest of the way down the tackle board. Smith will still be a top-20 pick, but a tackle who may have lasted to pick 32 - say Arizona's Eben Britton – may now go before that.
© Oklahoma's Phil Loadholt ran a painfully slow 5.49. That's right tackle material all the way.
© California center Alex Mack did not work out, but Penn State's A.A. Shipley did and had good numbers.
Shipley ran a 5.19 and also bench-pressed 225 pounds 33 times. Shipley's an intriguing prospect who will last until later rounds because he's only 6-1.
Oregon's Max Unger was a little disappointing, managing just 22 bench reps.
Louisville's Eric Wood ran a 5.17 and managed 30 reps on the bench.
Wood has possibilities as a guard.
© In addition to offensive linemen, the Steelers have reportedly been sniffing around cornerbacks at the combine. That makes sense considering Bryant McFadden is likely to leave as a free agent.
They can also get a corner who doubles as a return man, killing two birds with one stone.
According to Jim Wexell of SteelCityInsider.com, the team spent time talking with Coye Francies and Darius Butler.
Butler, from Connecticut, is also a very good return man.