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NFL Draft

Steelers to Meet with Marquise Brown at NFL Combine

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INDIANAPOLIS — Oklahoma wide receiver Marquise Brown is not going to run this week at the NFL Combine, as he’s still in a boot after foot surgery.

But Brown remained a popular interview during his time at the podium on Friday. An interesting prospect in his own right after putting up back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons with the Sooners, Brown was also asked about his quarterback, Kyler Murray, and his cousin, Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown.

The younger Brown, who goes by the nickname “Hollywood,” didn’t have much to say about his older cousin’s situation.

“I just wish him success and wish nothing but the best for him,” Brown said. “Mostly when we talk, he’s just motivating me, helping me deal with what I’m going through. We work out together, watch film, that’s basically it. He’s showing me how to treat my body and everyday things.”

Brown joked that he’s likely to be the higher drafted member of the family, as Antonio was selected in the sixth round and Marquise is projected to go in the first three rounds. But he said that he never considered making it to the NFL as a given, especially considering that he had to attend a junior college out of high school before getting an offer to play at Oklahoma.

Brown said that he has plans to meet with several NFL teams, including the Steelers. Some of the teams that he has already met with have asked him about his All-Pro cousin, and how much his game is like Antonio’s.

“Any time he gets the ball, he wants to score, as well,” Brown said. “I feel like in that sense, we’ve got the same kind of thinking mentality. We want the ball, to get the ball and score.”

Assuming that Antonio Brown’s trade request is eventually the met, the Steelers could definitely use another wide receiver, but would they draft another member of Brown’s family after the way the last few months have played out?

That remains to be seen.

Here’s full video of Brown’s press briefing:

 

2021 NFL Draft

NFL Cancels In-Person 2021 Scouting Combine in Indianapolis; Pro Days On

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After weeks of rumors and speculation, the NFL has made it official, announcing in a memo to clubs Monday they are significant alterations to the 2021 Scouting Combine.

Annually held in Indianapolis, the league is scrapping in-person workouts at Lucas Oil Stadium, instead opting for pro days on college campuses. The NFL will coordinate with schools to ensure “consistency in testing and drills,” providing video of said workouts to all clubs.

Interviews and psychological testing of prospects normally executed at the physical combine will instead be conducted in an entirely virtual format.

As for medical evaluations, limited in-person exams will most likely be conducted over a three-day span in early April. While some evaluations will also be held virtually, an undetermined number of prospects will be invited to designated satellite locations for in-person exams. Each franchise will be permitted to dispatch a physician and athletic trainer to conduct the in-person portion.

Leading up to the 2021 NFL Draft in April, the league will work directly with clubs, schools and affiliated broadcast partners to ensure media availability with Combine invitees. The NFL intends to keep with tradition and make head coaches and general managers available to the media as well.

The altered Combine format was devised and overseen by a special committee of league and club officials, including NFL Chief Medical Officer Dr. Allen Sills, Arizona Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill and Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert.

Further details regarding protocols and finalized dates will be released as the committee continues to meet and plan over the coming weeks.

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NFL

Report: NFL to Make Significant Changes to Combine Due to COVID-19

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Major changes to the 2021 NFL Scouting Combine are expected amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a report by Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, plans of hosting the combine as traditionally constructed are “dead” following a conference call between league officials Friday. It is becoming increasingly likely that the medical and performance-based portions of the event will be held separately.

A number of alternatives are being considered, including regionalized medical checks, standardized pro days and interviews conducting via Zoom.

With regards to the regional medicals, the NFL could set up shop and administer the examinations at hospital in states where a large number of players are conducting their workouts and preparation, such as Arizona, California, Florida and Texas.

The intent would be to limit travel for players, where as the team physicians conducting the examinations would likely have already received their vaccinations.

Other aspects of the medical process can be accomplished virtually, such as reviewing injury histories.

As for the pro days, NFL or individual team personnel would put players through drills at their respective schools, but standardize each workout to ensure prospects are going through the same exercises as they would in Indianapolis. Measurements and result would then be distributed league-wide as they normally would be.

League officials will continue to meet over the coming days, according to Breer, but a finalized plan is expected later this coming week.

The NFL has also weighed the option of postponing the combine until April, but still holding it in Indianapolis. While it is on the table, the move would likely requirement the 2021 NFL Draft to be postponed as well.

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NFL Draft

Steelers Clinch No. 24 Pick in 2021 NFL Draft

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Following their opening round playoff loss to the Cleveland Browns, the Pittsburgh Steelers now know where they will be selecting in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Pittsburgh now owns the No. 24-overall selection in April’s draft.

A number of needs and questions plague the Steelers as they enter the offseason and turn their attention toward the draft process, with multiple directions they can go with their first round pick. Offensive line, running back and cornerback all appear viable options for the Steelers at No. 24.

The Steelers have not had a first round selection since trading up to draft inside linebacker Devin Bush with the tenth-overall pick in 2018. Pittsburgh did not have a first rounder in last year’s draft, sending it to the Miami Dolphins in 2019 to acquire safety Minkah Fitzpatrick.

The draft is scheduled to be held from April 29 to May 1 in Cleveland, Ohio, though it’s unclear if that will come to pass or if the draft will once again be held virtually, as the 2020 NFL Draft was.

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