Running the Numbers

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Running the Numbers
by Warren DeLuca

Draftniks know that a prospect can only get so far based upon his college production; a player also has to be able to show at the combine, college pro days, and individual workouts that he has the physical tools to play at the next level. One of the top places to train for that is right in our backyard: Plex Sports & Rehab, which has a new facility in the Sugar Land/Stafford area.

Plex’s client list for the 2006 draft includes: quarterback Tye Gunn (TCU), running back J.R. Lemon (Stanford), wide receivers Cory Rodgers (TCU), Steve Sanders (Bowling Green), and Delaney Walker (Central Missouri State); tight ends Dan Fells (Cal), Jeff King (Virginia Tech), Joe Klopfenstein (Colorado), and David Thomas (Texas); offensive linemen Donovan Raiola (Wisconsin), Jonathan Scott (Texas), and Dan Stevenson (Notre Dame); defensive linemen Fred Brock (Texas Southern), Manaia Brown (BYU), Fred Evans (Texas State), Haloti Ngata (Oregon), and Brennan Schmidt (Virginia); linebackers Colin Allred (Baylor), A.J. Hawk (Ohio State), Archie McDaniel (Texas A&M), and Gerris Wilkinson (Georgia Tech); and defensive backs Willie Andrews (Baylor) and Cedric Griffin (Texas).

Danny Arnold, director of Plex, spoke to about his clients, the pre-draft "workout season," and the draft itself.

HPF: A.J. Hawk had a great senior season and then burned up the track at Ohio State’s pro day. How high do you think he could be drafted in Round 1?

Arnold: I think by Green Bay [#5] or San Francisco [#6]; they have both asked me many questions about him.

HPF: You’ve worked with some of the top defensive tackles in the NFL, such as Casey Hampton, Shaun Rogers, Hollis Thomas, and Tommie Harris. With that perspective, what are your thoughts on Haloti Ngata?

Arnold: If he plays consistently, he is as powerful as any of the ones you named. I think Shaun is the most gifted, Tommie is the most consistent, Casey Hampton is the most powerful when they allow him to be, but if Haloti consistently plays full speed, he can be better than two of the three named above.

HPF: Do you think Jonathan Scott is better suited for right or left tackle at the NFL level?

Arnold: I really do think he can adopt to either side. It was very clear at the Senior Bowl that he can change positions and perform really well. The only problem, whichever side he plays, is going to be taking on a pure power rusher. He has great footwork but taking on a power rusher is what concerns me.

HPF: Even after signing Jeb Putzier, tight end is a position that the Texans need to address. What could Joe Klopfenstein or David Thomas bring to the team?

Arnold: Joe is more of a traditional tight end, one that can block and has a lot of power but is limited on routes because of his agility. Don’t get me wrong, he still has some serious speed to go past many, if not most, NFL linebackers. David, who I love, is so versatile. He can line up as a wideout, slot back, fullback, and oh yeah, a tight end. He is extremely athletic, and despite what most people think, he is not small. Since he has been with us, he’s gained 10 pounds of muscle, lost about four or five pounds of fat, and has gotten even faster and more agile. His hands you don’t even have to ask about. And I think since he is catching for all of Vince Young’s workouts, he is getting more exposure and NFL personnel are realizing how good this guy is. And the guys work out like beasts.

HPF: Have you heard about the Texans showing special interest in any particular players?

Arnold: They have asked me about the UT guys that train with me a little bit more then any of the other ones – Cedric Griffin, David Thomas, and Jonathan Scott. Also about Joe Klopfenstein from Colorado. But overall, just a lot of information about all of them.

HPF: In our conversation back in 2004, you made a pretty strong case for not working out at the combine. Are there any circumstances where you’d strongly advise a client to work out there despite those negatives?

Arnold: I feel about the same. All my guys worked out at the combine this year and then the ones that worked out again at their pro days did a lot better. The reason is not so much about the surface, it’s that the players go there for three days before their work out and do a million interviews, eat limited food, are told what to eat, and then work out under stupid conditions. For example, when running the 40-yard dash, some guys where limited on warm-ups because the NFL Network didn’t want guys to come out on TV when they where filming the 40-yard dash. And other dumb stuff like that.

HPF: Which portion of the combine (medical exams, interviews, intelligence and psychological testing, physical testing, and position-specific drills) do you think is the most important overall, which is the least important, and why?

Arnold: The medical, interview, and face-to-face interaction is great for everyone. The speed stuff is dumb if you’re going to their universities anyway.

HPF: You’re working with some players from smaller programs like Texas Southern, Texas State, and Central Missouri State. Are these workouts (the combine and pro days) more important for those guys, since their on-field accomplishments might get less weight due to the lower level of competition?

Arnold: Yes, this might be the only opportunity for them to have a good crowd. Delaney Walker from CMS kicked butt at the combine (240 lbs. and ran in the 4.4s) so he got instant attention. Fred Brock (one of my favorites) did awesome at his two pro days.

HPF: Who is your greatest success story? What client, past or present, has shown the most improvement as a result of your work with him?

Arnold: Charles Tillman, he was supposed to be a sixth rounder and ended up the third pick in the second round [in 2003]. But not too many people know that. Or Stanford Routt from U of H last year, similar story. would like to thank Danny Arnold for his time. Plex Sports & Rehab’s website can be found at

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