Posted: Sunday February 27, 2005 6:21PM; Updated: Sunday February 27, 2005 6:33PM
Cal's Aaron Rodgers skipped most of the workouts, but he did run the 40 for the scouts.
Special to SI.com
Things literally sped up at the combine Sunday as a very fast group of receivers took to the field and scorched the floor of the RCA Dome. After several running backs looked good in the morning session, the wideouts stole the show in the afternoon.
Coming off a Senior Bowl in which he performed brilliantly as a receiver, long snapper and kick returner, the bar was set high for Matt Jones, the former quarterback from Arkansas. With that, Jones may have bettered his outing from a month ago as the 240-pound athlete ran 40 times of 4.42 to 4.39 seconds, depending on who was holding the stopwatch. Jones then worked at both quarterback and receiver.
Unlike Saturday's performance by Maurice Clarett, this year's other draft stepchild pleasantly surprised scouts. Former USC receiver Mike Williams unexpectedly took off his sweat pants and ran the 40, turning in adequate times of 4.62 and 4.56. Weighing in at 229 pounds Friday, Williams will wait until his pro day in the middle of March before showing scouts his pass-catching abilities.
South Carolina junior Troy Williamson blistered across the field with hand-timings that hovered in the very low 4.3 area. Some had Williamson as fast as 4.27.
Before that, unheralded Jerome Mathis of Hampton set the pace with similar times as a number of watches read below 4.30. Courtney Roby of Indiana, Leron McCoy of Indiana-Pennsylvania as well as Dan Sheldon from Northern Illinois all ran extremely fast times and impressed the scouts on hand.
Earlier in the day, Georgia's Reggie Brown put in a fine overall performance running while Oklahoma's Mark Clayton helped solidify his first-round ranking with a pair of 4.40 40s.
The gutsiest performance of the day may well have been turned in by Cal's Chase Lyman. The fragile receiver was having a career year until a knee injury ended his season four games into the 2004 campaign. Disregarding the medical exclusion scouts gave him due to the ailment, Lyman took to the starting line and turned in solid times of 4.50 and 4.43 in his running of the 40.
The draft's top three passers decided to bypass most of the combine and wait until a later date to workout in front of scouts. Yet some signal callers came away with fine performances.
Former Florida State quarterback Adrian McPherson, who played for the Indiana Firebirds of the Arena League last year, looked better then any quarterback on the field Sunday. McPherson was accurate and displayed a big-league arm. His deep outs were right on the money and the athletic passer has now moved into the draft's first day.
Finally, Carnell "Cadillac" Williams helped make it 2-for-2 as far as Auburn ball carriers are concerned. Williams looked the best of any back Sunday morning and carried his 217-pound body (10 pounds heavier than usual) across the 40 in a time of 4.50. Williams then went on and displayed his vaunted footwork and explosive ball carrying skills to further impress NFL scouts.