Several Solid Performances

Kyle Boller Making is Case

It was time for the signal callers and pass catchers to take the field Sunday as both the receivers and tight ends worked out at the combine. Though there were several solid performances today, none were of the magnitude of Joey Harrington's or Jevon Walker's draft-impacting sessions of a year ago.

One quarterback who looked good, though he did not throw the ball, was California's Kyle Boller. Weighing in at 234 pounds, Boller's body fat was less than 10% and he quickly moved his lean frame across the RCA Dome, timing a pair of forties in the 4.6-range, faster then most of the receivers!

Except for the injured Byron Leftwich, all the top passers took part in Sunday's workout and none were as effective as Dave Ragone. Coming off a terrible senior campaign at Louisville, this was the big lefty's last opportunity to make a statement and he did just that. Except for one poor throw, all his passes were right on the mark as Ragone displayed excellent timing and accuracy throughout the entire session. His placement of the all-important deep out was dead on target and Ragone leaves Indianapolis knowing he greatly improved his draft stock.

Heisman Trophy winner Carson Palmer showed well and did nothing to hurt his status as potentially the draft's initial choice. Chris Simms threw accurate passes in the short field but sprayed his throws outside of the 15-yard mark. Likewise Ken Dorsey's lack of arm strength was apparent and he had great difficulty getting the ball deep.

Lastly, Rex Grossman was inconsistent throughout practice and though he displayed skills in the deep passing game, this was not the workout the Florida junior needed to vault him into the middle of the initial frame.

No single receiver stood out at any time today nor were scouts ogling over the numbers they saw on their stopwatches. The fastest receiver was Middle Tennessee's Tyrone Calico, who ran a pair of forties in the high 4.3-range. While this came as no surprise to scouts, neither did Calico's inconsistency catching the ball or his struggles afterwards in drills. Calico easily passes the eyeball test but his game needs a lot of work.

The best performances of the day came from small-school prospects. Capitalizing on a solid week at the Senior Bowl, Kevin Curtis again showed well for scouts. After running better than expected (4.48 forties), the Utah State product caught everything thrown in his direction, prompting one prominent general manager to state he feels Curtis is "All Pro material."

Little known Ryan Hoag of Gustavus Adolphus ran fast then showed he has the hands to play at the next level while East Tennessee State's Cecil Moore also impressed with his pass catching skills. Harvard's Carl Morris ran better then expected and made the catch of the day, grabbing an errant pass out of bounds with one hand.

Stanford junior Teyo Johnson had a terrific pass catching session after not running the forty. Weighing in at 247 pounds, Johnson's big body sticks out on the field, as does his lack of speed and quickness.

Several tight ends stood out during the afternoon. Rutgers product L.J. Smith displayed top athleticism, moving his 258-pound frame across turf faster then anyone else at his position. After turning in a pair of times under 4.7, Smith then went on to have one of the best pass catching workouts of the day.

Auburn junior Robert Johnson ran poorly (5.00 forty) but caught the ball well and displayed a lot of potential for the next level. Another pair of underclassmen who impressed with their pass catching skills were Jason Witten of Tennessee and Oregon's George Wrighster.

Several players did not fare as well on Sunday. Florida State's Anquan Boldin ran poorly (4.7 forty) then had trouble catching the ball. San Diego State's pass catching duo of JR Tolver and Kaseem Osgood, two players who combined for more than 220 receptions last season, also had a rough go of it. Each was slow on the turf (Tolver clocked a 4.8 and Osgood had trouble breaking 4.7) then had inconsistent sessions catching the ball.

There is only one day left in the 2003 version of the NFL combine and tomorrow the linebackers, along with the defensive backs, will try to enhance individual draft grades as they take to the turf in Indianapolis.





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