Pro Day tracker (cont.)
Saturday, March 27, 4 p.m.
Almost twenty teams were on hand as junior tight end Rob Gronkowski finally ran for scouts during an unusual Saturday workout. It was worth the wait.
Gronkowski ran his 40s in 4.66 and 4.65 seconds. Only one tight end that projects in the draft's first two rounds, James Graham of Miami, was faster at the combine. Gronkowski weighed in at 258 pounds, six less than at the combine.
There has been much speculation about the health of Gronkowski's back after he participated only in the bench press at the combine, and then passed up Arizona's pro-day workout on March 12. Gronkowski missed the entire 2009 season after he was forced to undergo surgery for a back injury.
Last Thursday Gronkowski denied reports coming from the NFL Network that he was suffering from spinal stenosis, a potentially career-threatening condition. Left tackle Chris Samuels played through the same ailment throughout his NFL career, though it ultimately caused him to retire prematurely.
Gronkowski's 40 times confirm he is a legitimate deep threat at the tight end position, something he showed throughout the 2008 season.
Friday, March 26, 3 p.m.
Early reports from Boise State have Kyle Wilson running his 40 in times of 4.42 and 4.45 seconds. Scouts at the workout characterized Wilson's workout as good, but not spectacular. This will secure a spot for Wilson in the late portion of Round 1.
Friday, March 26, 2:15 p.m.
The top prospects for the Demon Deacons, including cornerback Brandon Ghee and offensive lineman Chris DeGeare, chose to stand on their numbers from the combine and opted to participate in position drills only. DeGeare, in particular, looked good.
Underrated defensive lineman John Russell turned in a solid workout from start to finish. Russell weighed 279 pounds, posted 30 reps on the bench and ran his 40 times in under 4.9 seconds. Scouts later put Russell through defensive line, linebacker, fullback and tight end drills. He accomplished most everything scouts asked of him and never tired. Russell, graded as a late-round pick coming into the season, may have shown enough today to sneak into the seventh round.
Friday, March 26, 12:15 p.m.
The times, they are a-changin'.
In the past, the Miami Hurricanes' pro day was always one to circle on the calendar. It was usually held the Friday following the completion of the combine and many scouts flew straight from Indianapolis to Miami for the event. Then again, those were the days when the Hurricanes placed five and six players into the draft's first round.
Today's pro day was poorly attended for obvious reasons. The Hurricanes, who had just a single player drafted last April, are likely to have just three selected next month.
Tight end Jimmy Graham will be the first Hurricane off the board. Graham did not run the 40 today but looked tremendous catching the ball in drills. He continues to climb up draft boards and is headed into the second round.
Offensive tackle Jason Fox, who did not work out at the combine while recovering from minor knee surgery, hurt his hamstring running the 40 this morning and pulled up. He tried to complete the position drills but struggled on the injured leg.
Friday, March 26, 11:30 a.m.
The main attraction on Friday's pro-day slate is Boise State, where cornerback Kyle Wilson is expected to work out for scouts. Wilson hurt his hamstring the week prior to the combine and was unable to participate. Arizona State is also on today's schedule, while the Wake Forest pro day is almost complete.
In a rare Saturday pro day, junior tight end Rob Gronkowski is scheduled to work out tomorrow in Arizona. Gronkowski denied recent reports that he is suffering from spinal stenosis, a potentially career-threatening condition. During the combine, Gronkowski repeatedly told those on hand that his surgically repaired back was 100-percent healthy, yet he chose to participate in only the bench press and completed 23 reps. He also bypassed Arizona's March 12th pro day. Cornerback Devin Ross is taking advantage of the extra opportunity and is also scheduled to run tomorrow.
Jimmy Clausen is using two of his Notre Dame teammates for target practice as he prepares for his April 9th work out. Robby Parris and David Grimes both flew to the Los Angeles area this week and will be the practice receivers for Clausen. Parris finished his senior season with 25 receptions, while Grimes last played for the Irish in 2008 and totaled 35 receptions. Grimes signed a free agent contract with the Denver Broncos after last April's draft, but was later released.
Thursday, March 25, 4:45 p.m.
Receiver Ryan Wolfe pushed up 15 reps on the bench press, posted a 33.5-inch vertical jump and 9'10'' broad jump, then hurt his hamstring during his first 40-yard run and was unable to complete the workout. Wolfe is expected to schedule a private workout with scouts in early April in his hometown of Valencia, Calif.
Meanwhile, the times at Mississippi State were fast this morning as the top two prospects from the program improved from their combine performances.
Jamar Chaney, who was the fastest linebacker at the combine, ran his 40s between 4.45 to 4.48 seconds, more than one-tenth faster than his clocking in Indianapolis. Chaney looked terrific in position drills afterwards. His senior season and performance in pre-draft events marks a terrific comeback for a guy who sat on the sidelines in 2008 with a broken ankle.
Running back Anthony Dixon ran in the upper 4.5-second area (4.58). This represents an improvement of almost two-tenths from his combine mark and will push Dixon towards the late part of round two.
Thursday, March 25, 1:15 p.m.
Half a dozen teams were on hand to watch Austen Lane at the Murray State pro day, and the defensive end made their trip worth it. He measured 6-6 and 273 pounds. His 40 time of 4.76 seconds was almost .1 better than his fastest official hand time from the combine. His short shuttle time of 4.37 seconds was more than .2 better than his mark from Indianapolis. Lane pushed up 20 reps on the bench, not a great number but close to what scouts expected.
Rain forced the cancellation of position drills, though it won't matter much as Lane performed well during defensive line and linebacker drills at the combine. He's an intriguing prospect and scouts feel he has a great amount of upside. The middle part of round two is a distinct possibility for the small school defender.
Thursday, March 25, 11:30 a.m.
East Carolina, UNLV and Mississippi State highlight a day in which fast-rising defensive end Austen Lane will draw a big crowd at Murray State.
Foot surgery prevented receiver Ryan Wolfe of UNLV from participating in the combine, but today he'll perform for scouts. Unheralded defensive tackle Martin Tevaseu, also from UNLV, gets the opportunity to display his skill after not receiving an invitation to the combine. And Hawaii linebacker Brashton Satele, the cousin of Oakland Raiders centers Samson Satele, is a name to keep on the backburner.
Graded as a potential late-round choice before the season began, Satele was sidelined all of 2009 while recovering from shoulder surgery. He hopes to return to Hawaii for the 2010 season and has applied for a sixth year of eligibility. Assuming the NCAA does not give Satele a definitive answer by March 31, the talented linebacker will participate in Hawaii's pro-day event, which takes place in Carson, Calif. the next day. Satele is allowed to workout for NFL scouts, yet could return to play for Hawaii next season if he is declared eligible by the NCAA and does not sign with an agent.
His recent marks in training have been as good as any linebacker that participated in the combine. The 250-pound Satele has been running times of 4.55 seconds in the 40, 6.6 seconds in the three cone and has posted a best of 37.5-inches in the vertical jump.
In February, Andy Staples featured Callahan Bright in an article on SI.com. Bright, who played for Division II Shaw University last season, participated in North Carolina State's pro day yesterday. The 342-pound defensive tackle completed 41 reps on the bench and flashed ability during the rest of the workout. Unlikely to be selected in draft, Bright's size will attract teams and he's likely to sign a free agent contract.
Wednesday, March 24, 8:49 p.m.
Several NFL prospects stood out during the UConn pro-day Wednesday, beginning with defensive back Robert McClain. McClain measured 5-feet-9, 195 pounds and ran 4.42 seconds in the 40. His vertical jump was impressive at 38.5 inches as was his bench press at 23 repetitions. McClain tweaked his hamstring during the workout and was unable to complete position drills, but his potential as a dime back and special teams player has scouts intrigued.
Defensive end Willie Young failed to impress during the North Carolina State pro-day. His 40 time of 4.91 seconds was a slight improvement over his combine mark, yet not the sort of speed scouts are looking for in an undersized pass rusher.
In Nevada, defensive back Jonathan Amaya looked impressive. His 40 time of 4.45 seconds was better than his combine speed of 4.52 seconds. Amaya also improved his vertical jump, hitting 33 inches today. He was primarily a safety in college, but with his display on Wednesday, many scouts think he has the athleticism and ball skills to move to corner.
Junior Kevin Basped did not impress scouts in Nevada. As was the case during the combine, Basped looked stiff and unathletic during his workout. The junior was previously graded as a potential middle-round pick but is now likely to fall into the very late rounds.
Wednesday, March 24, 12:15 p.m.
The events started early this morning at Central Michigan's pro day, which got underway at 8.
Receiver Antonio Brown, who clocked 4.57 seconds in the 40 during the combine, improved his time to 4.49 and caught the ball well during drills.
Opinions are mixed on the throwing workout of quarterback Dan LeFevour. While his short and intermediate passes were solid, LeFevour struggled throwing downfield. Receivers were slowing up in their routes to catch the ball and out-running LeFevour's deep passes in some instances.
Bryan Anderson, one of the biggest sleepers at receiver, raised some eyebrows. The big pass catcher measured 6-feet-5 and 212 pounds, then ran 40 times just under 4.55 seconds (4.50 and 4.58). His marks of 37 inches in the vertical jump, 4.06 in the short shuttle and 6.81 seconds in the three cone also stood out. Anderson later grabbed every catchable ball thrown his way during position drills, which surprised no one.
A four year starter at Central Michigan, Anderson left the school ranked second in career receptions (290), first in receiving yards (3648) and first in touchdown receptions (28). He moves towards April as a legitimate fourth receiver on the NFL level and a possible later round selection.
Wednesday, March 24, 11:22 a.m.
Just a few workouts highlight today's schedule. Defensive end Willie Young will try to improve on his disappointing times from the combine at North Carolina State this morning. Kevin Basped of Nevada will try to do much the same later today. Central Michigan quarterback Dan LeFevour is expected to throw 80 passes for scouts in a scripted workout.
Jevan Snead impressed those present at the Mississippi pro-day on Tuesday but not everyone who wanted to attend was on hand. Several coaches and NFL decision makers were attending the owners meetings in Orlando. There is word Snead may hold another pro-day workout to accommodate those not in attendance yesterday.
One week ago Monday, during Georgia Tech's pro-day, we noted receiver Demaryius Thomas was seen easily moving around on the left foot that was surgically repaired at the end of February. Sources close to the situation told us yesterday the rehabilitation is going well and there's a good chance Thomas will do a workout for scouts before the draft. There's no date yet and the details of what the workout will be comprised of are still to be determined. We expect the decision to be made in the coming weeks.
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