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For Case Keenum, Kellen Moore, Russell Wilson, Size Matters A Lot

By ZAC BOYER | zboyer@freelancestar.com | @ZacBoyer

INDIANAPOLIS – There were a total of 19 quarterbacks invited to the NFL Combine, nearly all of whom have been overshadowed by Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III.

A few notes and quotes from the other 17 in attendance:

  • Size was a big deal to Griffin, who was relieved to have measured in over 6-foot-2 after speculation came out that he was roughly six feet tall. But several other top quarterbacks were just around that mark, including Houston’s Case Keenum and Boise State’s Kellen Moore, each of whom cracked six feet.

    “Six with a bunch of zeroes at the end,” Moore said, smiling. “It’s fine. There’s a lot of ways to evaluate a quarterback. Some evaluate it and put a lot of emphasis on that. That’s fine. Smile, and move on.”

    One who didn’t: Wisconsin and N.C. State’s Russell Wilson, who was not much over 5-foot-10. Wilson emphasized a belief his talent would outweigh his height.

    “Teams really know my leadership is there and my knowledge of the game and obviously my ability as well,” Wilson said. “They have a lot of film on me already. They’ve done a lot of studying, so I’m just trying to reaffirm that I’m one of the best players. I definitely have all the confidence in the world in myself and my abilities, and I believe I’ve shown that as well.”

  • Michigan State’s Kirk Cousins has had to battle the label of being an underdog during his entire time with the Spartans. He believes a lot of that will carry over to the draft process as well.

    “There’s no doubt that this process of the NFL Draft and trying to become someone who is drafted is very reminiscent of the college recruitment process in high school and trying to get a scholarship and earn the respect of coaches and have them believe in you and give you a chance,” Cousins said. “Once you get there to prove yourself, it’s very similar. This isn’t a foreign concept to me because I’ve been having to prove myself for a long time. Whether you’re overlooked or underestimated or not, you have to prove yourself every day, and it’s very competitive. To be here this weekend is a great opportunity to go against the best players available and show what you can provide to an NFL team and let the NFL teams choose who they want.”

  • Being a system quarterback is something Keenum expects to be asked about quite a bit this week. “I’ve gotten it my whole life,” Keenum said. “There are a lot of ways to look at it. I look at it as I’m whatever system you want me to put me in quarterback – at Houston, we ran a version of the spread. My first year at Houston, Art Briles was the coach, and he went to Baylor. I don’t think I’ve heard Robert Griffin be called a system quarterback. I’m not worried about it. I’m looking to learn a new system and be that system’s quarterback.”
  • San Diego State’s Ryan Lindley found it beneficial to work with Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan during the Senior Bowl in late January. Shanahan and his staff coached the South Team – Lindley, Oklahoma State’s Brandon Weeden and Arizona’s Nick Foles – in that game.

    “It was great having the Redskins’ staff,” Lindley said. “Kyle [Shanahan] was a great offensive coordinator for us. We had a lot of great coaches that really taught us. You get the idea that once you get to the NFL it’s a lot less about fundamentals and technique and teaching. But our coach was big on fundamentals and teaching us.”

  • Chattanooga’s B.J. Coleman showed up to the workouts wearing a cast on his right hand, having broken his pinkie finger in a fall on Feb. 11. He’ll have the cast removed on March 5 and be available to throw at his pro day on April 2.

    “I would have loved to have been able to throw the football here, no doubt,” Coleman said. “It happened as a training accident. I didn’t go out and get myself in any kind of trouble. The ground was wet and my feet came out from under me and landed on the pinkie with all the weight. Doc said it won’t require surgery. I just have to let it heal.”

    That means he’ll be restricted to off-the-field evaluations while at the event.

    “The biggest thing is you are getting the opportunity to put yourself in front of the general managers, the coaches, the scouts of these 32 football teams. It’s a chance to shake hands, look them in the eye and show them what you know in football and in life, what you are made of, and that is important. They are going to want to know what you stand for.”

  • The success of former Harvard quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, now the starting quarterback in Buffalo, has given belief to Yale quarterback Patrick Witt that he can compete in the NFL.

    “I don’t think that’s surprising to me,” Witt said. “You look at guys like Jay Fiedler from Dartmouth, he played in the league for a while. [Princeton’s] Jason Garrett – there’s another one. But not too many guys have been given the opportunity. But I think if there’s any one position in the Ivy League that is comparable to the SEC, the Big 12, the Pac-12, it’s gonna be the quarterback position. Because you have intelligent guys there, capable of handling a system, they’re natural leaders, and they’re gonna be able to step in. When you have a guy that has the physical tools, there’s no reason why he’s not as talented or as capable as someone who played at the bigger programs. I just don’t see that great of a discrepancy between the two.”

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