clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Narrowing Down 2012 Combine Field Based on Shanahan's Draft Tendencies

I'm live here in Indianapolis. If anyone has a family or romantic vacation planned here in the future, I do not recommend La Quinta Inn. The power in the building went out while I was on the tread mill, the wireless internet has not been working all day, and the vending machines ate my money. At least I have a variety of six bail bond choices within walking distance! I digress.

Now that Mike Shanahan and his staff are entering their third draft with the Redskins, I decided to take a different angle this year "evaluating" the combine prospects. I've noticed consistency in Shanahan's drafts, so with a little detective work, I think I can better target some players. What's consistent among Shanahan's high draft picks?

  1. He drafts based on biggest need. Cerrato always said "take the best player available," but so far that mantra is not in the Shanaplan. When Chris Samuels retired in 2010, the Redskins drafted a Left Tackle since it's extremely rare they become available via free agency. Welcome, Trent Williams. Last year, both the Redskins pass and rush defense were abysmal, and sure enough, Shanahan drafted Ryan Kerrigan and then Jarvis Jenkins.
  2. High Character guys: Of the Skins' twelve 2011 draft picks, six were team captains (including their top four picks): Ryan Kerrigan, Javaris Jenkins, Leonard Hankerson, Roy Helu Jr., Markus White, and Chris Neild. Granted, Trent Williams is a bit sticky, but the Left Tackle position was very thin that year and the Redskins staff spent endless hours with background checks. They had to take a risk. Perry Riley was a team captain at LSU.
  3. Defenders that can disrupt: In 2010, Ryan Kerrigan led the country in tackles for a loss (26) and was 2nd in forced fumbles (5). Jarvis Jenkins holds Clemson's record with blocked kicks (4) and over his CU career had 31 QB pressures and 31 tackles for loss. (Jenkins was seeing the majority of double-teams his Senior Year).
  4. 1-cut RBs. Roy Helu and Evan Royster had these labels in draft scouting reports.
After the jump are some combine prospects that fit these categories. Guys with an asterisk* he coached at the Senior Bowl on his South squad:


  • Ryan Tannehill earned a bachelor's degree in Biology (3.6 GPA) and has a career goal to become an orthopedic surgeon. Tannehill was named the ESPN Academic All-District team and the Academic All-Big 12 football team. In 2010, Tannehill's 65.0 completion percentage easily broke the school record of 62.0 percent by Stephen McGee in 2006. The Aggies offense in 2011 broke pretty much every record (passing yards, total yards, points, etc). It's perceived the Browns are the team that wants Tannehill most with their 22nd overall pick. He grew up in Big Spring, Texas, and the closest NFL team to there is, gulp, the Dallas Cowboys.
  • Robert Griffin - Nothing much more needs to be said here. The guy is as sure as it gets when it comes to leadership and quality character.
  • Kirk Cousins - Three year captain at Michigan State. "He's just a great leader on and off the field," said B.J. Cunningham, the Spartans' leading receiver with 1,240 yards and 12 touchdowns. "He's a great student, as everybody can see from being named the student-athlete of the year in the country. He's just a great person who comes from a great family, and I couldn't ask for a better teammate."
  • Russell Wilson - Two year captain at Wisconsin. Wilson's height at just over 5'10" is a bit of concern despite his strong arm. All of the QBs Shanahan drafted I can remember were 6'1" or taller. Wilson was drafted by the Rockies in the fourth round of the 2010 MLB draft.
I couldn't find anywhere online whether Brandon Weeden was a team captain or not. I left the mid-round QBs out since there's more likely a chance Romo wins a golf tournament than the Redskins avoid a QB in the first two rounds and/or free agency.


  • Jeff Allen*, Illinois. Projected 3rd round.
Honorable Tackle Mentions:
  • Zebrie Sanders*, Florida State. ACC All-Academic team and first team All-ACC honors. Projected 2nd round.
  • Riley Reiff was not a team captain but Iowa runs a Zone Blocking Scheme. Projected 1st round.


  • Casey Hayward*, Vanderbilt. 6'0", 185lbs. Team Captain. In 2011, ranked 4th in the country with 7 INTs. In 2010, Hayward ranked first in SEC - and third in NCAA - in passes defended... Interception total ranked second in SEC - and tied for fifth nationally. Projected 4th round.


  • Alameda Ta'amu, Washington. Pre-combine - 6'3", 330 lbs. Versatile run stopper who had 8 tackles for a loss and 4 sacks in 2011. Projected 2nd round.
  • Kendall Reyes, UConn. Pre-combine - 6'4", 300 lbs. Two-year captain. First Team All Big East. Constantly faced double blockers in 2011 and had 13.5 tackles for a loss, 4.5 sacks. Fits Skins 3-4 DE. Projected 3rd round.
  • Mike Martin, Michigan. Pre-combine - 6'1", 307 lbs. 64 tackles. Projected 3rd round.
  • Tydreke Powell*, North Carolina. 6'2" 309lbs. Known for run-stuffing. Projected 6th round.
Honorable Mention:
  • Trevor Guyton, Cal. 6'3", 289 lbs. A second-team All-Pac-12 selection ... co-leads the team with 4.5 sacks (-23 yards), two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries (19 return yards), while ranking third with 10.0 tackles for loss (-36 yards) ... among the Pac-12's per-game leaders in tackles for loss (No. 8, .88 tflpg) and sacks (No. 15T, .38 spg) ... has added 42 tackles that are the most among the the team's defensive linemen and sixth overall ... recorded a career-high eight tackles and added a fumble recovery against USC.
  • Derek Wolfe, Cincinnati. 6'4", 286 lbs. 5th in the country with 21.5 tackles for a loss.


  • Lamar Miller, Miami. 5'11, 215lbs. Projected 2nd.
  • Tauren Poole, TEN. 5'10, 215 lbs. Two-year captain. Four-time SEC Honor Roll. Pat Tillman Award East-West Shrine Game. Projected 6th round.
  • Bernard Pierce, Temple. 6'0", 218lbs. School record rushing TDs in season (27) and school (53). Projected 3rd round.
  • Vick Ballard*, Miss. St. 5'11", 220lbs. Set school record with 20 TDs. 5.2 per carry. Projected 5th round.
Maybe it would have been easier just to do a google search for "combine 2012 players with high motor". Ugh..."high motor" gets over-used as much if not more than Linsanity.