Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Mixed reviews

Workout helps, but Talib's value debated

Former Kansas University defensive back Aqib Talib makes a catch during a drill. Talib worked out at the NFL Combine Feb. 26, 2008, in Indianapolis.

Former Kansas University defensive back Aqib Talib makes a catch during a drill. Talib worked out at the NFL Combine Feb. 26, 2008, in Indianapolis.


Talib works out at NFL combine

The NFL Draft combine wrapped up today in Indianapolis. Taking part - former KU All-American Aqib Talib.


Michael Conroy/AP Photo

Former Kansas University defensive back Aqib Talib makes a catch during a drill. Talib worked out at the NFL Combine Feb. 26, 2008, in Indianapolis.


Michael Conroy/AP Photo

Former Kansas University defensive back Aqib Talib backpedals during a drill. Talib worked out in front of NFL scouts and coaches at the NFL Combine on Tuesday in Indianapolis.

Talib's numbers

Height: 6-foot-1

Weight: 202 pounds

Vertical jump: 38 inches

40-yard dash: 4.48 seconds

Even the most informed analysts don't quite know what to think of Aqib Talib at this point.

That was apparent Tuesday during the NFL Network's coverage of the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. For a time, the broadcast turned into a back-and-forth debate on the professional value of Talib, KU's former All-America cornerback.

As for his on-field workout, Talib measured well at the RCA Dome on Tuesday. Standing a hair under 6-foot-1 and weighing 202 pounds, Talib impressed his peers with a 38-inch vertical leap. He also recorded the solid 40-yard dash time he needed, finishing in 4.48 seconds.

"Anything sub-4.5 seconds," analyst Mike Mayock said during the broadcast, "cements him in the first round."

But later on, Mayock had an insightful debate about Talib's worth with former All-Pro cornerbacks Deion Sanders and Rod Woodson. Several plays from 2007 game film were highlighted to show both the positives and negatives of Talib's game - none more scrutinized than a 68-yard touchdown reception by Kansas State's Jordy Nelson on Oct. 6, when he got a step ahead of Talib and then burned him on his way to the end zone.

"When you put the tape on, you see him do some really great things," Mayock said of Talib. "Then you see Jordy Nelson beat him on a 70-yard fade pattern and run away from him. You see a very average receiver, in Maurice Purify of Nebraska, beat him three times in the red zone (on Nov. 3).

"I keep wanting to buy into Aqib, and then the tape tells me he's got some real inconsistencies in his game."

Mayock, a former safety for the New York Giants, is the NFL Network's answer to ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. Lately, Kiper has projected Talib going seventh overall to the New England Patriots.

Mayock countered by saying that he could see five cornerbacks going in the first round of the NFL Draft, which starts April 26 in New York. He ranks Talib as the third-best corner available, behind Virginia Tech's Brandon Flowers and Troy's Leodis McKelvin.

Sanders - whom Talib considers his idol - also was impressed, calling Talib "a solid player."

But both agreed that labeling Talib a can't-miss prospect shouldn't come without hesitation. Mayock especially was flustered at how K-State's Nelson ran away from Talib on his way to the end zone, pointing out that Nelson ran a slower 40-yard dash than Talib did at the Combine.

"He runs away from Aqib Talib," Mayock said. "That's a 4.51 guy. I don't want to hear (Talib) quit. That bothers me."

Talib, though, has ability that few can match in this NFL Draft, meaning he's looking to get a huge payday after his name is called. The NFL Network analysts gushed about Talib's athleticism and ball skills, and picking off 13 passes (returning two for touchdowns) speaks to the playmaking ability he possesses.

Scouts and front-office personnel now will dissect Talib even further between now and the NFL Draft. Talib could work out at KU's Pro Day on March 11, or let his Combine performance stand.

Either way, what he did in his 34 career games at Kansas probably will mean more than anything. And the jury still seems to be deliberating on what to draw from that.

"The tape to me is about 80, 85 percent of the process," Mayock said. "When I see those kinds of inconsistencies, lack of effort on tape, I get nervous.

"I think who you are is who you're going to be."


Ted Toulouse 12 years, 4 months ago

Regardless of overanalysis, he obviously has the talent to play and succeed at the next level. And we won the Orange Bowl in large part because of him.

William James 12 years, 4 months ago

Apparently, if you dont keep up with Jordy Nelson on a sprint to the end zone you are a quitter?

Ben Kane 12 years, 4 months ago

Maybe if he'd been coked up like Sanders was in his day he woulda caught em.

Kirk 12 years, 4 months ago

Sounds like the world of work. Like my job, or anyone's. Where you rarely please anyone for very long. And where every fault is magnified, and where most people feel under appreciated.

Michael Pannacciulli 12 years, 4 months ago

he'll get drafted, be a productive pro, and make money...and hopefully give back to the university down the road as well. the future looks very bright. so who cares what some old vets say to fill up air time while watching guys workout.

Nutflush21 12 years, 4 months ago

Obviously we all knew that Talib was extremely athletic but when you put his numbers on paper they still impress the hell out of me. I mean a 38 inch vertical is just ridiculous.

Also, it sucks hearing the scouts and analysts knit pick at these 22-23 year old kids but I guess thats what is necessary when you are making a multi-million dollar investment in someone.

tis4tim 12 years, 4 months ago

From what I've seen, Kiper has him the 7th pick to the New York Jets, not the Patriots. Perhaps things have changed. Kiper is such a windbag, I tend to tune him out.

Ted Toulouse 12 years, 4 months ago

I think the analysis by the NFL TV guys is accurate. Talib was extremely pivotal in our success this year, but the occasional lapses were frustrating. I wouldn't label him as a "shut-down" cornerback because of the number of big plays that seemed to go against him this year. It would be interesting to compare tape from the 2006 season with this year's to see how much he improved, as well as the tendencies he still has.

As far as the numbers and workout stats, as others have said before, they are good indicators but game speed is different than drill speed. Apparently, his 40yd speed didn't help him catch Nelson or Purify.

Bob Zielinski 12 years, 4 months ago

talib will done just fine. i recall the touchdown catch by nelson and purify's one handed grab while stretching in stride to the back of the end zone as being absolutely perfect passes. sometimes a qb and receiver hook up for that perfect pass which can't be defended with one on one coverage.

Kevin Kelly 12 years, 4 months ago

Yeah....everyone saw that Nelson play and threw at Talib all season. If he wasn't a threat to intercept and score his inconsistancies would be a HUGE issue.

BCRavenJHawkfan 12 years, 4 months ago

I would agree that Talib may not be a "shut down" cornerback, but few are or will be in the NFL which has adjusted the rules to favor receivers and promote passing with high scoring games. The results may not confirm this but the objective of the NFL is what it is.

As far as Talib's evaluation by "showtime" Sanders, how about pointing out that Talib is willing to put a helmet on the ball. Something Sanders would avoid at all cost.

KUAlum2000 12 years, 4 months ago

They showed a clip of Talib trying to make at tackle on goal line defense and diving at a RBs ankles and missing. Deion's quote was "that's a hard tackle to make." They point they were making is he didn't bring the hat.

At the workout he had marginal footwork and was in the mix with other prospects; its nit-picking though. I can tell you if I was an owner getting ready to shell out millions of dollars on a guy I would do the same thing.

Jim Pendleton 12 years, 4 months ago

Perhaps when talking about the Jordy Nelson play, they apparently forgot to mention in the same game a couple big tackles, not to mention the game clinching interception against the Kitty Litter Kats.

His potential as a return man should also be getting more play than it has been. He obviously knows what to do with the ball after an interception, but putting him in on return situations late in the year will help him also.

Aqib may not be an NFL star right away, but he has potential to be one down the road.

justanotherfan 12 years, 4 months ago

This is just standard NFL draft talk. They build up and tear down every prospect. I realize this is somewhat new for a lot of KU fans because we haven't had as many high level prospects the last few years. I don't think any of these things will keep Talib from playing in the NFL. They are just concerns that every coaching staff has because let's face it - if you are drafting a corner in the top 10, you don't just want a decent guy, you want a lockdown Champ Bailey type corner. You basically want to be able to put a top 10 pick corner on one side of the field and forget about it for 10 years. That's why Talib is being scrutinized so much. Is he the type of player where you can put him on a side and lock that side down for the next ten seasons? Or will you pull your hair out when an average receiver runs by him for a 60 yard touchdown? After all, there are quite a few guys in the NFL who will throw a perfect ball to some great receivers.

12 years, 4 months ago

Some great points on here.

When Talib was defending Nelson on that play, he stumbled slightly when Nelson caught the ball. If Nelson is a 4.51-40 guy and Talib a 4.48-40, it would have been extremely difficult for him to run down Nelson.

I continue to contend, there is no one who could have defended that one-handed grab by Purify.

Jeff Hargate 12 years, 4 months ago

That Nelson play was such a fluke. It was the ONLY time Freeman threw the ball down the field all game. Talib took a chance and got burned, "it" happens...

Dirk Medema 12 years, 4 months ago

Did someone say that Nelson was average? Wasn't he All BigXII? That's not average.

And labeling Nelson as slow (slower) at 4.51 vs. Talib as fast (faster) at 4.48 is only relavent on paper. Three hundreths of a second isn't even a yard at full speed. That is how much AT could be expected to make up on Nelson - if they both start out running the same speed. Talib stumbled slightly when Nelson pushed off on the break, and got seperation. Three hundreths of a second isn't going to close that gap.

It amazes me when "authoritative" people can appear to make informed comments that are just ignorant.

The analysis isn't terribly different than in the work place. It takes 100 (?) "Attaboyz" to make up for 1 "Oh Sh1t".

sevenyearhawk 12 years, 4 months ago

This is all I needed to read:

(Deion) Sanders - whom Talib considers his idol - also was impressed, calling Talib "a solid player."

jayhawkdude46542 12 years, 4 months ago

It wasn't just the one catch by Purify; I think he had three TD's on the day, all against Talib, and all in the Red Zone.

I thought Talib had plenty of question marks coming out, even with the performance in Miami. And every healthy, first-team QB in the NFL can make the perfect pass (some more consistently than others, but they wouldn't start if they couldn't do it) and it's easy to see Talib getting a similar moniker as Elvis Patterson. Of course, "Toast' played in the league 10 years.

hail_2_old_KU 12 years, 4 months ago

I think that this just proves what I have thought for a long time. Aquib is a good football player, not good enough to play in the NFL, I was at every football game this year except the A&M game and let me tell you I could put a tape together of all the times he got burnt. I think he is highly, highly overated, but I wish him the best of luck because he has done nothing but good things for the University of Kansas. Thanks Aquib

Rock Chalk

chezlog 12 years, 4 months ago

Talib will make any owner sorry they passed him up.

shelleysue 12 years, 4 months ago

I think Talib has a lot going for him including the fact that he's exciting to watch for many reasons. But he definitely got totally burned on some really big plays. Yes HE had some great plays as well but I never totally understood why he got all the accolades when he gave up so much. That said though, he did give us some exciting plays. Including redeeming himself at K-State with the interception late in the game and his ensuing celebration. That really was a golden moment and possibly my favorite from '07.

I look forward to watching him in the NFL and if he goes to the Patriots, my little grandson (a huge Patriot and Talib fan) will be thrilled!! I wish Talib the best of luck either way.

Joshua Hann 12 years, 4 months ago

Check out this old KU helmet. Thought all would enjoy. Lets go back to these for a throwback day.

justanotherfan 12 years, 4 months ago

I think what scares so many NFL people is the fact that Talib gambles so much that its feast or famine with him. Most great corners realize that gambling will get you beat too often (especially in the NFL where every move you make will be dissected by coaching staffs for weeks). Talib's gambles will put him in a position where his speed won't be able to bail him out. If he gambles against Chad Johnson, or Anquan Boldin, or Santana Moss or any other top level receiver, they will run away from him, period. They run away from everybody. NFL GM's want to see him play sound football so they know that he won't try to make every play a big play and give up a 60 yarder trying to jump a 5 yard out.

12 years, 4 months ago

Royal -

That is a great helmet. It looks like the ones you would get with the full children's NFL uniforms from the JCPenney catalog and such back in the late 70's. I fondly recall many days of spirited tackle football games with fellow neighborhood kids while wearing mine.

Joshua Hann 12 years, 4 months ago

Yep txrockchalk, I had a Chiefs one when I was little. Loved that thing. I loved how they stretched. I think I could still fit in it when I was 17!

Kenny George 12 years, 4 months ago

Jordy Nelson ran a 4.49 40 yard dash at the combine.

Nelson isn't a slow white guy!

Jason Spangler 12 years, 4 months ago

This coming from a guy who was drafted in the 10th round and played 2 years in the NFL...

Dirk Andrews 12 years, 4 months ago

Wickedson, great point. Everyone is an expert huh? I think the combine is so overrated. Get the guys 40 time, get his vertical, run some drills, watch tape and be done. They make it into a circus nowadays and it's really unnecessary. This guy has proven on the field he can play, regardless of the 2 or 3 times out of 100's that he got burnt. Getting burnt is going to happen, it happens to the best. Chuckberry, love the comment about Sanders. "Cocaine is a hell of a drug" Rick James.

rockchalk80 12 years, 4 months ago

Posted by chuckberry32

Maybe if he'd been coked up like Sanders was in his day he woulda caught em.

Maybe you should stop spreading rumors... you have NOTHING to warrant that comment. It is irresponsible behavior.

FlaHawk 12 years, 4 months ago

Remember that Gordon was great in NCAA level, but his abilities were far short of NFL caliber. Gordon is a taxi squad level player and a 2nd -3rd level CB in the NFL

Talib is very similar to Gordon in many ways. The real deal will be whether Talib can avoid getting "burned" in the NFL. He is not that fast and gambles a lot in the open field.

He will have to learn that mistakes can not be covered up by others in the NFL. The NFL is a game of NO MISTAKES YOU CAN NOT LOSE.

He will get good money, but I am not convinced that he will see much time other than as a Nickel or Dime back.

Face it the Big XII is not a QB league and VT did not even have a throwing game in teh Orange Bowl.

Lance Hobson 12 years, 4 months ago

I don't think Talib as a 4.48 guy when we played KState. Remember that was in the middle of the season and he did that grueling program in Tempe before the combine. Nelson had 50,000 fans cheering is endzone run, too. Talib is exciting, and that means getting burned sometimes, but he is the real deal.

Kevin Long 12 years, 4 months ago

Jordy Nelson is faster than his 40 time shows. Nelson will be a good NFL player, mark my words. I hate to pull the race card, but I will with Jordy. White recievers get no respect for much of anything much less their speed. Talib got burned, there is no doubt about it. Who knows how good Talib will be, but he is a playmaker and a great competitor and that is the most important thing.

troutsee 12 years, 4 months ago

Talib will make it. His technique is sound. He is better than Gordon. Nelson will make it too. Both will be starters in the NFL some day.

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