combine_category-logo_horizontal_180x24

Quest for pressure never ending

Observations on what was seen and heard on the NFL Network during Day Three of the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis:

ALWAYS IN DEMAND: The edge rushers were among those on display at Lucas Oil Stadium and NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah suspected everyone would be paying close attention.

"I've talked to a bunch of coaches and GMs this week," Jeremiah offered. "You know how many of them have told me they have enough pass rushers and they don't need any more? Zero.

"You never have enough."

SHIFT IN PROTOCOL: NFL Network analyst Willie McGinest maintained the game is changing for edge rushers during a conversation with Saints defensive end and NFL Network Combine analyst Cameron Jordan.

McGinest: "I talked to Troy Vincent (NFL executive vice president of football operations) and the competition committee, we met and we talked. They've just eliminated the bull rush. There's no longer bull rush in pass rushing, their hands will be critical. The new term that they're calling it, it's speed to power. So if you lower your helmet to initiate contact in what used to be called the bull rush, it'll be a foul. Now, it's called speed to power or the power rush."

Jordan: "They sorta implemented that last year, they were trying to just take the head completely out of it. It's all about leading with the direction of your body, so it's gonna be hand contact first. And now it's official, right?"

McGinest: "It's official, it is a rule now."

Jordan: "At this point defensive ends are going to start rushing the quarterback with handcuffs behind their backs. I believe we're also going to start pillow fights behind the line of scrimmage."

McGinest: "It's not going to be that play when you're lined up in a 'Tight 5' or something close, and our facemasks probably touch and then we create the separation. It's not going to be from that aspect. It's a 'Wide 9,' the guy coming full speed and the (offensive) lineman's setting up and then when they make that contact."

NFL Network host Rich Eisen: "You're giving us some interesting news.

"The rule, I guess, either change or emphasis that you mentioned, Willie, is for offensive linemen, too."

GOOD ANSWER: NFL Network analyst Peter Schrager offered intriguing insight into the interview process as it pertained to Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray.

"Murray has been a captain since he basically got to Norman, and is the son of a pastor and a retired police officer," Schrager said. "His story is amazing. He walks in the room, a team told me, they said, "OK, what are we getting from you? He said, 'I was born to lead.'"

Jeremiah called Murray "a first-round linebacker all day long. He is all business. When you talk to the people at Oklahoma, this guy had a plan to graduate in three years and take his talents to the NFL and he was all business."

More Schrager on Murray: "This is the player that everyone's talking about as your 15-year, middle linebacker type that you aspire to have. Models his game after Luke Kuechly. The leader of the defense the past few seasons. He helped raise three adopted brothers and sisters who all have special needs. He is playing for a lot more than football and he is the most respected guy coming out of Oklahoma this entire draft."

NOT A DEAL-BREAKER: Jeremiah offered perspective on the drills designed to see if defensive linemen were adept at dropping onto coverage and catching balls thrown in their direction.

"Think about this last year, put it into context," Jeremiah said. "They asked Nick Bosa to go through these drills and he dropped every ball did not look comfortable and he's the (Defensive) Rookie of the Year and a Pro Bowl player.

"They're getting a chance to see a lot of these guys do stuff that they won't necessarily be asked to do by their team. It's a plus in your column but a lot of these guys are gonna get picked for what they do going forward, not in reverse."

THE NEED FOR SPEED: Jeremiah on how critical it is to have defenders that can move:

"Think about the two teams that were in the Super Bowl last year, the 49ers and the Chiefs. With the ball in their hands they're they two fastest teams in the National Football League. So when you're building your defense if you can't run, you can't play with the way the game is played right now.

"And's it's not just dealing with the tight ends, it's dealing with the speed on the perimeter with the running backs. They're going to put you in space and isolate you with the RPOs (run-pass options) that have now entered into the NFL. So it's never been moe important than it is right now for players on the second level of your defense to really be able to run."

Advertising