The 2015 NFL Combine is underway in Indianapolis with former WSU players Connor Halliday, Xavier Cooper and Vince Mayle in attendance. This means scouts have been busy completing the arduous task of breaking down the strengths and weaknesses of the various participants.
It's always interesting to me to see how non-invested parties view the guys we've grown so familiar with over the years. Here's how Lance Zierlein of NFL.com evaluates Halliday's strengths:
Uh ... yeah, I got nothing. I won't sit here and pretend Halliday's got the biggest arm I've ever seen on a college quarterback -- that honor would belong to Ryan Leaf -- but I also have no idea how someone could watch much of Halliday and conclude he's "lacking a strong arm," as Zierlein writes in his "bottom line" at the end of the scouting report.
The throw to River Cracraft at 0:45 here looks pretty zippy to me:
Lest this seem like a hatchet job on Zierlein, I think the rest of the scouting report is spot on, particularly Halliday's weaknesses ("Shows some signs of panic when rush from middle of the pocket starts to creep toward him"). But the arm strength thing made me laugh a little.
In that way, it's unfortunate Halliday's not going to get the chance to show what he can do at the combine as he continues to recover from the broken leg he suffered late in the 2014 season. But even with that caveat, Zierlein appears reasonably high on Halliday:
Halliday shows an adequate level of football intelligence and has enough accuracy to warrant a draft pick. One positive is that he has clearly improved over the last two seasons and might continue on the same track once he works into an NFL system.
That might seem like faint praise, but hey - getting drafted means you get a shot with a team that likes you, and I've got to believe that whatever team gives Halliday a shot will like his arm strength a bit better than Zierlein.
If you're curious what Zierlein thinks of WSU's other combine participants you can read about Mayle here ("clearly needs work with some of the basic fundamentals for the position, but with his size and an ability to win vertically, he has a high ceiling") and Cooper here ("must play in a penetrating defensive front in order to minimize his lack of length and maximize his above-average athleticism").
Mayle will get to show off for the scouts on Saturday, while Cooper will get to run his tests on Sunday. You can watch it all live on NFL Network.