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Danny O'Neil covers the Seahawks for The Seattle Times.

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February 20, 2009 6:54 AM

Friday, NFL Combine coverage

Posted by Danny O'Neil

2:17 p.m. ET: Michael Crabtree wasn't quite as tall as expected. He measured 6-1.25, 215 pounds. He doesn't plan on running at the combine, instead waiting until next month.

Crabtree said he suffered an ankle injury first against Baylor, and reaggravated the injury during the Cotton Bowl, which was caused him to come off the field several times. Crabtree said the ankle is about 90 percent right now. He expects to be 100 percent in about three weeks.

Crabtree is an elite athlete. He was a two-year starter at quarterback in high school, and he came to Texas Tech planning to play football and basketball. That never quite worked out. Why not?

"It's harder than what you think," Crabtree said.

By the time he was done with football practice, Crabtree said he was too tired to go anywhere near a basketball court.

12:44 p.m. ET: Maclin was interview a little while ago, and he plans to participate in all the drills, including the 40-yard dash. His personal-best time is 4.31 seconds and he said his goal is to run 4.29. He does that here, and there will be conversations concerning him as a top 10 pick.

Maclin measured 6 feet, and he cited Santana Moss and Steve Smith as players that play the game the way he would like to. In 2007, Maclin scored on a run, a pass, a kick return and a punt return and was the only player in Division I-A to do that.

12:09 p.m. ET: Still waiting on Michael Crabtree of Texas Tech and Jeremy Maclin of Missouri, who are expected to be available for media interviews Thursday. Of course, there's no physical tests for the media to watch, no receiving drills, but at least it offers an opportunity to lay eyes on the players and answer a question or two.

The first impressions of the tackles were interesting. Eugene Monroe of Virginia was a physically imposing presence. He's not bulky so much as he is big. Big shoulders. Big shoulders. Still got some muscular definition. That contrasted with Andre Smith of Alabama, who really has more of a fire-hydrant shape to him.

I'm interested to see just how tall Crabtree appears in person.

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11:12 a.m. ET: Rex was in effect. That would be Rex Ryan, the new New York Jets coach and son of Buddy Ryan, who was legendarily cantankerous on the sidelines.

Well, Rex showed a little vim and vigor himself. He was asked about his appraisal of the difficulty of the division, the AFC East.

"I'd rather focus on what they're up against," Ryan said.

OK. Well, how about Ray Lewis, the linebacker Ryan coached in Baltimore who is scheduled to be a free agent next week and has talked about being intrigued about the possibilities as a Jet.

"I'll avoid that question," Ryan said, after he referenced tampering rules.

Another question that did not pertain to draft choices.

"I'll hit the rewind button," Ryan said, again referencing a desire to keep it to draft choices.

Well, the reporter who asked about Ray Lewis then asked about draft choices. Specifically, he asked if there was another Ray Lewis in the draft.

"I think somebody has that first name," Ryan said.

True enough. Leimoni Feinga from BYU goes by the name of Ray, but he's a guard actually.

[Editor's note: HerseyChris from Redmond points out that Feinga isn't likely the player to whom Ryan was referring. "I think Rex Ryan was referring to Rey Maluaga, MLB from USC, who could be a great mlb playmaker in the mold of Ray Lewis." Good point, HerseyChris. Good point.]

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11:10 a.m. ET: Even in blue jeans Patriots coach Bill Belichick is willing to rock the knit headband. He just walked through the media room, not pausing for questions with a bag over his shoulder, blue jeans and a Patriots head band to protect his ears from the cold. I tried to get the parade on videotape, but I was too slow on the draw.

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10:14 a.m. ET 49ers coach Mike Singletary kept his pants on, but he did still manage to express some enthusiasm for left tackle Jason Smith, who is one of the most accomplished football players to come out of Baylor ... next to Singletary, of course.

Singletary said he met Smith this last year after Baylor's homecoming game, which just happened to coincide with the 49ers' bye week. Smith introduced himself to Singeltary after the game.

"I am really proud of him," Singletary said. "But moreso than anything else, I am impressed with him. The physicality."

9:54 a.m. ET: The goal will be a more complete running diary today, which should be easier since I won't have to be tracking any roster developments in terms of franchise players.

Mike Mayock, the NFL Network's draft analyst, conducted a 30-minute Q&A session, among his observations:

  • Quarterback Matt Stafford has elite arm strength, and Mayock cited Jay Cutler as a comparison. Stafford's arm strength is already toward the top of the league, but Mayock also pointed out that characteristic ranks fourth or fifth on his quarterback criteria.

  • Knoshown Moreno of Georgia is Mayock's top-rated running back prospect.

  • Left tackle Jason Smith of Baylor was part of a spread offense, lining up primarily in a two-point stance which means he didn't put his hand down. That's just one reason it's problematic for NFL teams to evaluate draft prospects from spread offenses. Tight ends line up in receiving slots, running backs move laterally first instead of downhill from the quarterback and wide receivers don't have a route tree as they do in the NFL.

    Now, 49ers coach Mike Singletary is about to answer questions. I better go see if he drops his pants.

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