INDIANAPOLIS – A look at highlights from Thursday at the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium…
Hackenberg credits Penn State teammates, including Allen Robinson, for production
Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg is projected by many analysts as a second-to-fourth round selection in the upcoming 2016 NFL Draft.
His career had ups and downs, including a coaching change in his final season in State College, but Hackenberg Thursday gave credit for the good times to the players around him, including a current Jaguars receiver.
"I think I had a great bunch of guys around me, a lot of older guys who played and really brought me along," Hackenberg said around a crowded podium at Lucas Oil Stadium.
"The system fit great, and it was one of those things where I had an opportunity to come in and I had a guy like Allen Robinson to throw to – everyone's seen what he can do. I had a lot of people around me that made it a good transition for me and allowed me to kind of grow in myself knowing the offense."
For Hackenberg, he's looking ahead from now on.
"My focus is coming in here, being the best prospect I can be and impressing as many teams as possible."
One of those teams could be the Houston Texans, as Bill O'Brien, the Texans' head coach, recruited Hackenberg to Penn State and coached him while with the Nittany Lions.
"I've known him since he was 17 years old when he was at Fork Union (Military Academy)," O'Brien said a little later Thursday. "I've known him for a long time, know his parents, his brothers. He's a humble kid, he's talented, smart, good guy to be around and I enjoyed coaching him his first year at Penn State."
Sashi Brown looking to change culture in Cleveland
As the executive vice president of football operations for the Cleveland Browns, Sashi Brown is in the midst of changing the culture in an organization that has seen turmoil over the last few seasons on and off the field.
"I think it starts with leadership," Brown said. "It starts with myself, (head coach) Hue Jackson, (owner) Jimmy Haslem, (chief strategy officer) Paul DePodesta breeding a confidence. Making sure that we're building a system, not so focused on results, not so focused on one positon or one player, but really setting an expectation and work ethic so that every day we're getting better."
Brown was general counsel for the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2005-2012 before moving to the Cleveland Browns in a similar role. Brown was elevated to his current position earlier this year.
"It's going to be hard to know that ice is forming, but by the time we get there you know that the water is getting colder and through our processes we are getting better.
"We're taking a systematic approach to it, and daily we're going to expect a lot from our players and make sure by the time we get to Sunday, our expectation going into every game will be to win."
Other notables from Thursday inside the media center at Lucas Oil Stadium:
- Brown on suspended Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon: "I've gotten a chance to know Josh over the three years I've been in Cleveland and know him to be generally a good young man. He understands he's made some mistakes in the past, I think he's accountable for those. Everything that we see and hear in talking to his representation, and those that have been in communication with him is that he's eager to get back and contribute. If he's accomplished those things, there's a spot for him on the roster."
- O'Brien on traits of successful quarterbacks: "You have to be a great teammate and you have to be able to communicate with everybody on the team, with your coaching staff, with everybody in the building, your general manager, your scouts. When you're a quarterback in the NFL, you're the face of the franchise in many ways. You have to be a really bright guy, a hard worker, a good teammate, a communicator, a guy that can talk to teammates from all kinds of different backgrounds and try to bring guys together. Most importantly you have to go on the practice field and earn the respect of your teammates and go out and win games, which ultimately earns respect of your teammates and your team."
- Indianapolis Colts Head Coach Chuck Pagano on traveling to London to face the Jaguars: "I think we're excited. To be a part of the international scene, if you will, taking our team over there. It's going to be a great challenge, obviously, for us playing a division game over there… It helps to hire Joe Philbin on our staff now as our offensive line coach/assistant head coach and he's a great resource for all of us, he's a great recourse for me. He's been over there a couple of times, so he's going to bring a wealth of knowledge as far as that trip and how you prepare for that game and that trip and those sort of things. So, we're excited for the opportunity."
- Kansas State fullback Glenn Gronkowski on his brother, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski's party cruise: "I was not on the cruise, unfortunately. Seen some pretty fun videos from it though. I've been asked about the cruise about 50 times so far."
- Ohio State wide receiver Braxton Miller on his change to wide receiver as a blessing: "I love it. I'm just thankful to play football again. Just out here playing what I love to do and put everything in God's hands, and that's what I've been doing. Just working, perfecting my craft, wanting to be one of the best, period. That's what I've been doing since I switched my position."
- Miller on possibly challenging the Combine 40-yard dash record of 4.24 seconds: "I don't know, that's blazing. I just want to run fast. I just want to run as fast as possible. I still ran a 4.36 when I was a quarterback, hopefully I can just top that."