This is largely just a couple reminders of draft-related dates and things I'll be looking for during some of them. It's also an attempt to move the conversation forward and paddle myself and hopefully a few others out of the funk of John's stepping down/away/up to bigger and better things.
Februrary 23-March 1: The Combine
Robert Quinn. DE. He was ineligible this year after getting tangled in the UNC agent allegations involving acceptance of 5,000 dollars in gifts at the beginning of the year. Robert Quinn was a monster in 2009 and a physical freak of nature. The combine could be huge for him to prove he still has his exceptional athletic ability after sitting all year. Is absence from the 2010 college season could potentially slide him lower than where men of his talent should go and if the slide is long enough could be a fantastic pass-rusher either in the Leo (because of elite speed) or traditional DE mold (very respectable power/pass rush moves. There's a cliche and easy comparison to Julius Peppers, though as prospects it appears to hold water. Fans should enjoy seeing him light up the combine.
Quarterbacks. We know the names by now. Newton, Locker, Mallett, Gabbert and even Kaepernick is attempting to enter the thunder dome that is the discussion of who is a first round quarterback. Fans watching at home won't be able to learn much about these guys from the combine and very limited drills the quarterbacks run. However, this is a huge time for these prospects as it's one of the first times NFL scouts and coaches get them locked in a room and get to hash out the X's and O's and air out rumors. This a big time for several of the prospects as Mallett has had his character and work ethic questioned by some scouts, Gabbert and Kaepernick will have to show they can take the reigns of a pro-style attack. Even Locker, who can charm scouts during the forty, has caused questions about his decision making and ability to read defenses. We may not see much of the Quarterbacks on the surface of the combine but this is a big, big, week for them.
Underclassmen. It was refreshing to see Earl Thomas taken with at 14 . Again, with Golden Tate taken in the late second. Without many opportunities until the draft to showcase the talents of the underclassmen, the Combine can move and shake a lot of the youngin's up and down draft boards. It feels like this will matter a little bit more now that Ruskell's gone.
Rich Eisen Runs 40 Yard Dash at NFL Combine (via SouthernMisfit88)
This is the deadline that NFLPA and Owners have tried to set to agree on a new CBA. (The current expires on the fifth of March. It would be huge for the Seahawks if this actually came through and they could resume the roster churn. However, I don't think anyone will be holding their breath.
Middle to Late March:
Pro days. Most of the time, pro days don't have that much of an effect on the solid prospects. Most of the time, this is where some of the eye popping forty times come from. Most of the time, they're wrong. However, sometimes players have poor outings during the combine and can have a chance to regain relevancy during these. These are also the last chance to see Quarterbacks in their final 'dress rehearsals' before draft day. Like the Senior Bowl. There probably won't be any earth shattering news from these events, though they will be conversation pieces and worth paying attention to.
The Draft. Prime time. (Boo.) Most said that the Seahawks were wildly successful this time last year, though some opinions changed as the season progressed. Based off our sample size of one draft and what little I know of Schneider's history, look for Seattle to be active and add talent in the form of underclassmen, established veterans, and moving up and down boards even into the late rounds this weekend.
The rest of the off-season is very fluid right now and dependent on how CBA talks progress. OTA's could be eliminated or shortened, a lockout could very well happen. However outlined events of the next couple months should happen regardless of labor talks. The question remains, what are looking forward to? Any special names you're going to be watching for at the scouting combine and following draft preparations?