Welker watch (cont.)
4. Russell Allen, LB, San Diego State -- Don't be surprised if the hometown Chargers jump on Allen as a priority free agent, because San Diego worked him out privately last week, and his combination of 4.62 speed, 33.5-inch vertical jump and 9'-10'' broad jump are intriguing. Chicago gave Allen a private workout as well, and his long-snapping skills could prove to be the difference if he chooses wisely when it comes to finding the best available roster opportunity.
5. Carson Butler, TE, Michigan -- Only 21, the Wolverines junior opted for the draft in part because his role in Michigan's offense disappeared when head coach Rich Rodriguez brought the spread offense to Ann Arbor. Butler is a bit of a project for a team that can afford to take its time with him, but he's 6-5, 257 pounds, with an arm-span of more than seven feet. His 4.6 speed should also prove tempting, because it's faster than your typical NFL tight end.
6. Greg Toler, CB, St. Paul's College -- After a superb pro day, Toler is being touted as this year's version of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, a small-school talent at cornerback who is rising up everyone's draft boards. St. Paul's, a Division II school in rural Virgnia, has never had a player taken in the NFL Draft, but Toler could be its first. He's 5-11, 191, but ran a 4.45 time in the 40, with a 33-½ inch vertical jump and a 9'8'' broad jump. Six NFL teams have worked him out privately, including the Patriots, Ravens, Jets and Browns.
7. David Nixon, LB, BYU -- The ex-Cougar was the Mountain West Conference's all-time leading tackler, and in his 6-3, 233-pound build, NFL talent scouts see the potential for him to fill out quickly and man an outside linebacker position. Nixon gets high marks for his intelligence and ability to master a difficult defense at BYU. He also got great experience in pass coverage, which is rare for college linebackers entering the NFL. A former Mormon missionary and Eagle Scout, he's more mature than most collegiate prospects, and turned heads at his pro day with a 40 time in the low 4.6's.
8. Maurice Covington, WR, Virginia -- Covington missed four games of his senior season with a broken left hand, and that's the kind of setback that can cause a prospect to fall off the radar screen in the three-month, pre-draft buildup. But after not being invited to the combine, Covington made up for it at the Cavaliers' pro day, posting a 40-inch vertical jump that drew applause from the other UV players in attendance. Covington is drawing interest from teams that covet a big receiver, like the Plaxico-less Giants.
9. Pat Cowan, QB, UCLA -- It was ages ago, but Cowan was the quarterback for the Bruins when they upset the cross-town USC Trojans in 2006, and though he has been beset with injuries the past two seasons, scouts are still intrigued with his 6-4, 235-pound body. He's healthy again after having ACL surgery last summer, and his Bruins offensive coordinator, Norm Chow, has talked up his football instincts and intelligence to NFL teams this spring. A crisp pro day showing helped Cowan considerably, and the Bengals are reportedly among the teams who are interested.
10. E.J. Biggers, CB, Western Michigan -- Biggers thrust himself into draft consideration by running a blazing 40 in the high 4.3's at the Western Michigan pro day. He's only 5-11, 180 pounds, but his 36-inch vertical jump shows he's capable of covering bigger receivers. Both the Bucs and Texans reportedly had Biggers in for a visit after his eye-catching pro day showing.
NFL Truth & Rumors