NFL Combine Snap Judgments
USC's Jarrett quick to point out he's not Mike Williams
Posted: Sunday February 25, 2007 6:23PM; Updated: Monday February 26, 2007 12:19AM
INDIANAPOLIS -- Dwayne Jarrett doesn't want to hear about the inevitable Mike Williams comparisons. Joe Thomas moved quickly to distance himself from the specter of Robert Gallery. Troy Smith and Chris Leak have questioned why their lack of NFL prototypical height should have anything to do with their quarterbacking skill, and Brady Quinn seems genuinely puzzled as to why his most recent performance seems to be all anybody wants to focus on.
But that's what the NFL Scouting Combine is, fellas. It's an exercise in nit-picking and flaw-finding. You want a coronation? Go back to college. This is a weeding out process, where the art of identifying weaknesses takes precedent over the highlighting of strengths, and everybody in the league and the media that covers it is a critic in some form or fashion.
If you're going to do the Combine, you've got to prepare for the doubters as much as you do the 40-yard dash. Unconditional love is in short supply in Indianapolis at this time every year.
I'm always a bit amazed that some NFL prospects show up here every February and seem a bit taken aback by the tone of the interrogations/interviews they get from both team officials and the media. As the cream of the crop coming from the collegiate ranks, maybe they're used to three or four years of steady stroking and non-stop positive feedback. Then they get to Indy and in essence have to stand trial in their own defense.
Chatting with reporters on Saturday, Jarrett, the two-time All-America receiver from USC, seemed to have no taste for questions about the similarities between him and Williams, the former Trojans receiver who was Detroit's first-round pick in 2005, so far with dismal results. I mean, just because they're both tall, rangy receivers who lack deep speed, and left USC early after putting up eye-popping statistics, what's to confuse the two?
The first three questions put to Jarrett all dealt with the comparisons to Williams, and were along these lines: What's the difference between you and Mike Williams?
"Everything,'' said Jarrett, who went on to make sure he mentioned that he and Williams barely speak to one another. "The only thing we have in common is we went to the same school. I think we're two opposite players, totally different personalities. I'm just more a humble guy, and Mike is just kind of different. His game is different than mine.''
Time will tell. But that's what this week is all about: testing, measuring and probing in order to find out if there are any patterns or similarities based on history, or track record that can be identified. You can be sure the NFL coaches or personnel men who are interviewing the prospects and putting them through their workout paces have the lesson of Mike Williams somewhere in their minds when they watch and talk with Jarrett. It may be far from predominant, but it's there.
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