Pro Day Tracker (cont.)
More from Nebraska.
Eric Hagg posted a 38.5-inch vertical jump, an improvement of four inches from his combine mark. Cornerback Prince Amukamara stood on his combine time and did not run the 40. Defensive end Pierre Allen continues to be hampered with a calf strain and was unable to run on Thursday. Allen plans on working out for scouts in early April.
At Texas Tech, 18 teams made the trip primarily to watch Taylor Potts and the quarterback did not disappoint. Potts displayed good accuracy, timing and looked sharp on the more than two dozen passes. Scouts were most impressed by his ability to take snaps from under center, drop into the pocket with balance and easily move around before getting rid of the ball. It looked very natural from a quarterback that took the majority of his collegiate snaps from the shotgun formation. This undoubtedly vaults Potts, who's flown under the radar for most of the season, into the late rounds.
Stephen Paea, you have company.
Much was written from Indianapolis when Oregon State defensive tackle Paea set the combine record by completing 49 reps on the bench. That mark was matched on Tuesday by Blaine Sumner from Colorado School of Mines, a Division II program.
The small-school defensive lineman measured 6-feet, 1˝-inches and 335 pounds. Besides his solid mark on the bench press, Sumner also touched 32 inches in the vertical jump. Sumner will get a chance to top that number, which he thinks he can accomplish, as he's been asked to participate in next week's pro day at Air Force.
Not to be outdone, Sumner's teammate and record-setting sackmaster Marc Schiechl, also wowed the scouts in attendance. Schiechl, who holds the Div-II record with 45 career sacks, ran 4.64 40, posted a 35-inch vertical jump and broad jump of 10 feet, 5 inches. Oh yeah -- he also completed 38 reps on the bench. Primarily playing defensive end in college, Schiechl measured 6-feet-2˝ and weighed 251 pounds. He was put through a battery of linebacker drills and looked terrific. He also will showcase his skills again during the Air Force pro day.
For the record, the last time Colorado School of Mines had a player selected in the draft was 1974. They may have a pair chosen next month.
Another small-school player that turned heads was Stephen Burton of West Texas A&M. The receiver significantly improved many of his combine marks, including the 40, despite running in windy conditions. His times averaged in the low 4.4 range, including a mark of 4.46 into a strong head wind. Burton's best hand time at the combine was 4.5. His marks of 35 inches in the vertical and 10-4 broad jump were also better than his Indy numbers.
Besides producing as a receiver at West Texas A&M, Burton was an accomplished return specialist, adding to his pro value. Expect to him to be drafted as Round 4 closes out.
It was a blistering day in Lincoln as a several Nebraska prospects really improved their 40 times from the combine, starting with Niles Paul.
The receiver, who timed 4.57 seconds in Indianapolis, got that number down to 4.40 at pro day. Some teams had Paul as fast as 4.37 on stopwatches. Paul also improved his vertical jump by 1.5 inches, touching 36 today. Even if scouts add to Paul's 40 time because of the fast surface, the 224-pound wideout still comes out of the day with a forty in the 4.4s, which will improve his stock.
Safety Eric Hagg was another who was much swifter today. His times were in the low-to-mid 4.5s, with one team recording Hagg at 4.50 seconds. That's more than one-tenth faster than his performance in Indianapolis and like Paul, it will help Hagg's stock even if time is added because of the surface.
Finally tight end Mike McNeill, who was a surprise non-invitee at the combine, was timed at 4.61 seconds. This will push the productive pass catcher into the late rounds of the draft.
In Louisville, scouts were intrigued to watch sleeper offensive tackle Byron Stingily. The big lineman did not disappoint.
Measuring 6-5 and 313 pounds, Stingily timed as fast as 4.89 in the 40 and posted a short shuttle time of 4.43. By comparison no offensive tackle at the combine ran as fast as Stingily while only one was able to top his shuttle time. He's likely to slide into the late rounds and is an exceptional developmental prospect.
There was a large crowd at the Clemson pro day, primarily to see the defensive backs perform. The consensus was all three DBs -- cornerback Byron Maxwell, safety DeAndre McDaniel and Marcus Gilchrist, who can line up at either position -- looked good in all the drills, displaying a lot of natural skills. McDaniel's unofficial 40 time came in at 4.61, slightly better than his combine result. All three are being looked upon as prospects who can contribute as rookies in the secondary or on special teams, and potentially develop into starting players.
Defensive lineman Jarvis Jenkins participated in a full workout and significantly improved many of his marks from the combine. The 311-pound lineman posted a 4.87 in the 40. His best time in Indianapolis was 5.03. Jenkins also improved his short shuttle time by two-tenths, stopping watches at 4.69. This will keep him in the hunt to be a top 75 selection in April.
At the Miami Hurricane pro day, running back Damien Berry posted a 4.45 in the 40, almost a full tenth better than his combine number. Free-agent tight end prospect Richard Gordon ran in the high 4.6s after measuring in at 6-3˝ and 267 pounds. Underrated cornerback Ryan Hill, who started ahead of DeMarcus Van Dyke last season, ran as fast as 4.50.
Unfortunately, a heavy rain storm made the field unusable and forced the pro day to be rescheduled for March 25.
Scouts in Buffalo saw cornerback Josh Thomas improve on his combine performance. He ran 4.43 in the 40, slightly better than his combine average of 4.50. His vertical jump of 40 inches and broad jump of 10-feet, 8-inches were impressively better. Thomas has solidified himself as a mid-round choice.
His teammate, safety Davonte Shannon, also surprised scouts. Shannon's 40 times clocked 4.64, one-tenth better than scouts timed him last year. He's a free-agent prospect who will help a zone defense and play with a special teams mentality.
Eight NFL franchises sent scouts and position coaches to Fort Valley, Ga., to watch Ricardo Lockett. The small-school receiver, who turned in a terrific combine workout, was impressive again.
The 211-pound Lockette pushed up 22 reps on the bench press, a number that was surpassed by just two receivers at the combine. His 3-cone time of 6.75 represented an improvement of nearly four-tenths from his mark in Indianapolis.
Lockette looked solid catching the ball on a rain-damaged field. There's been a ton of interest in the wideout, who could end up in the fourth round of April's draft.
Several pro days have already concluded, including at Kentucky and Indiana.
In Lexington, receiver Randall Cobb and running back Derrick Locke both stood on their combine numbers but did perform position drills for scouts. When it came to catching the ball, one scout described both as "putting on a clinic" as each player caught everything thrown to them, ran crisp, precise routes and looked natural in all their skills.
The feeling from scouts leaving the workout is Cobb is a second-round lock and there's a chance that Locke, who has been compared to Dexter McCluster of the Kansas City Chiefs, could slide into the late part of the same frame.
Wildcat receiver Chris Matthews, who was not invited to the combine, had a solid performance. The 218-pound wideout was clocked at 4.56 seconds in the 40 and also caught the ball well. Matthews, who was not on the radar screen prior to the season, leaves pro day as a late-round pick.
In Bloomington, receiver Terrence Turner shaved almost .06 seconds from his combine performance as he clocked 4.54 then caught everything thrown in his direction. The 215-pound wideout has been moving up draft boards since January and now looks like a solid fourth-round selection.
Defensive end Da'Quan Bowers, who's still recovering from minor knee surgery done in January, won't run for scouts at Clemson's pro day. He has a date of April 1 set to showcase his skills.
Another highly rated junior won't run for scouts, this time at the Indiana's pro day. Receiver Tandon Doss, graded as a top 75 choice, underwent groin surgery last December and will workout on April 5.
Texas Tech is a pro day to closely monitor as quarterback Taylor Potts gets his chance to throw for scouts. One of the most efficient and productive quarterbacks in the nation, Potts,was not extended a combine invite. Tech's passing offense has offered little in the way of next level quarterbacks, yet most scouts think Potts is the most physically gifted passer to come out of the program in a long while.
NFL teams flocked to Berkeley, Calif., to watch defensive end Cameron Jordan and several of his draft-eligible teammates' workout. Jordan, running back Shane Vereen and linebacker Michael Mohamed all stood on their combine numbers but participated in position drills.
For his part Jordan looked terrific. Even in shorts he looked forceful, explosive and displayed a great burst in his movement skills. The bottom line for Jordan, who projects as a top-10 pick, is he's a terrific athlete on the defensive line -- a combination that's always sought out in the early part of the draft.
One of the big winners from Cal's pro-day was Chris Conte. The defensive back measured just over 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds. His 40 times averaged an even 4.5 seconds. Conte looked terrific in position drills displaying quick footwork and the ability to move sideline to sideline. The feedback from teams has been terrific with no less than a half dozen squads stamping him as a late second- to early third-round choice. With the weakness at the safety position in April's draft no one would be surprised if Conte is one of the first to be selected, with his name being called during the draft's second day.
In Wisconsin the buzz on pro-day surrounded quarterback Scott Tolzien.
The signal caller threw close to 80 passes and just three fell incomplete. Tolzien displayed speed on the shorter passes and surprised scouts with his deep throws. For Tolzien, who performed well during Shrine week, then put in a good showing at the combine, it's another reason for teams to consider him in the late rounds.
Offensive linemen Gabe Carimi and John Moffitt as well as defensive lineman JJ Watt stood on most of their combine times, but were strong in drills. Carimi impressed scouts with his toughness as he finished the workout despite injuring his ankle while running the three cone.
The situation was a little different for John Clay.
The running back tipped the scale at 233 pounds (three more than the combine, but 35 less than his 2010 playing weight) and ran his 40 in the mid 4.7's (4.76 seconds), almost a one-tenth of a second faster than his time in Indianapolis. Clay did have his struggles catching the ball during drills and teams are torn as to what to do with him in the NFL.
Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller continues to fly up draft boards with his impressive performances. Although he turned in a tremendous combine workout, Miller ran for scouts today in College Station and improved some of his marks. His 40 time was clocked as fast as 4.50, compared to an average of 4.53 in Indianapolis. Miller also ran the short and long shuttle and his times were comparable to his combine performance. The athletic defender has positioned himself in the draft's initial eight selections.
The position drills have ended in Alabama and the 40s have been completed. Running back Mark Ingram's times ranged between 4.50 and 4.56, which is better than his fastest hand held time from the combine, 4.62.
Twenty teams were on hand in Stillwater, Okla., for the Oklahoma State workout, part of which took place outdoors in windy, 38-degree weather. Running back Kendall Hunter timed 4.43 in the 40, slightly better than his best combine time of 4.46. It was a tremendous performance considering the weather. Hunter rested on his remaining marks from the combine but will take part in position drills during the remainder of the workout.
There were several standout performances at the Kent State pro day.
Highly considered safety Brian Lainhart ran 4.55 in the 40, touched 37.5 inches in the vertical jump and completed 28 reps on the bench. Lainhart is considered a thinking man's defensive back, yet his marks today could push him into the late rounds.
Linebacker Corbani Mixon, who began his career at Michigan before transferring to Kent State, put on a show for linebackers. Potentially a weak-side linebacker in the NFL, Mixon clocked 4.65 in the 40, completed 39 reps on the bench and had a vertical jump of 35.5 inches. Scouts have always loved Mixon's potential and he's a prospect who has fallen under the radar screen.
There are four important pro days on today's schedule -- Alabama, Mississippi State, Wisconsin and California.
Top-rated running back prospect Mark Ingram will be the one to watch in Tuscaloosa, as the former Heisman Trophy winner hopes to improve on the very average 40 time he turned in at the combine. Defensive tackle Marcell Dareus and offensive lineman James Carpenter are set to do position drills and will rest on most of their combine marks. Quarterback Greg McElroy, who cracked a bone in his hand during the Senior Bowl, recently had his cast removed yet won't work out for scouts. He is tentatively scheduled to throw April 5 if his rehabilitation continues at its present pace.
In Berkeley, star defensive lineman Cameron Jordan is another who will rest on his fine combine marks and partake only in position drills.
Some late results from Tuesday's pro days:
-- Fresno State junior receiver Jamel Hamler improved his 40 time from the combine by almost .05 seconds. Hamler was timed at 4.55 by scouts on Tuesday.
-- Eyebrows were raised when Northwestern linebacker Quentin Davie did not receive an invitation to the combine; he showed Tuesday why someone made a mistake.
The 6-foot-4 Davie, who tipped the scales at 232 pounds, posted 40 times as fast as 4.68 seconds and a vertical jump of 35 inches. The 40 time was faster than all but six linebackers who ran at the combine while the vertical jump was surpassed by just five in Indianapolis. Davie, who can be used at a variety of linebacker positions, has likely secured a spot for himself in the late rounds.
After his poor throwing performance at the combine, Cam Newton took to the field at Jordan-Hare Stadium today for what his quarterback coach George Whitfield Jr. referred to as the "true test" of the Heisman Trophy winner's passing skills. The bottom line on the workout -- it was a much needed improved performance from Newton.
The quarterback stood on all his combine numbers and waited almost four hours before starting his passing workout. For some reason, possibly stress, Newton looked tired to the point of exhaustion when he began the workout.
He threw an array of passes, taking all his snaps from underneath center Ryan Pugh. Newton showed better footwork as he threw the ball off three-, five- and seven-step drops.
Of the 60 scripted passes thrown by Newton, 11 were incomplete, including five catchable throws that were dropped by receivers.
His throws were crisp and he showed much better rhythm and timing, compared to his combine workout. The further down the field Newton threw the ball, the more on target his passes were. He also displayed nice touch on throws, softly placing the ball in the hands of intended targets when necessary. He had no problem firing the ball to receivers on the occasions he wanted to show off his arm strength.
Most of the passes that dropped to the ground were thrown too high, a consistent problem for him at the combine.
After completing his scripted workout, Newton remained on the field throwing passes, which the NFL coaches in attendance requested. All the teams that own top-12 picks and desperately need a quarterback had their general manager, head coach or both in attendance.
This does not compare to Sam Bradford's incredible pro day from a year ago, nor does it push Newton to the top of the quarterback list. What it did was show scouts the physically gifted junior is headed in the right direction.
Newton's defensive teammate Nick Fairley turned in another good performance. Just like in Indianapolis, Fairley looked incredibly athletic displaying great footwork and quickness. This was made all the more impressive by the fact the defensive lineman weighed in at 297 pounds, six heavier than he tipped the scales at the combine.
The Arkansas pro day is over and by all accounts quarterback Ryan Mallett turned in another terrific throwing workout.
As was the case at the combine, Mallett got into a good rhythm, displaying terrific accuracy and timing on all his throws. Mallett hit receivers in stride and rarely had pass catchers reaching backwards or going vertical to grab his throws. He also showcased his rifle arm throughout the workout.
Earlier in the day, Mallett ran the 40 in a pedestrian 5.37 seconds. Will that time hurt his draft stock? Probably not. Teams that require quarterbacks to roll outside the pocket and throw on the move are likely to frown upon it, but overall Mallett's passing skills have been impressive the past two weeks. Teams must now factor in Mallett's character questions with his awesome physical skills and come up with a final draft grade.
Offensive linemen Ray Dominguez built upon his combine result and once again performed well for scouts. He improved on just about all his combine marks and looked terrific in position drills. Most project the Arkansas tackle to guard in the NFL and some teams presently grade him as a third-round pick.
Another Razorbacks offensive line prospect, DeMarcus Love, didn't fare as well Tuesday. Love looked athletic on the field but struggled in his position drills. He lacked balance and overall coordination.
The belief is Love, who was graded as a potential first-round pick entering the year, now will be selected at least a round later than Dominguez.
Pro day at Oklahoma has finished as the draft eligible Sooners worked out for nearly two hours.
Running back DeMarco Murray chose to stand on his combine numbers in the 40 (4.37) but did participate in position drills. Murray looked terrific in pass-catching drills and now moves towards April as a solid top 75 selection.
The same cannot be said for Jeremy Beal. The Sooners' top pass rusher (28 sacks and 53.5 tackles for loss since his sophomore season) barely broke 5.20 seconds at the combine and looked slow again today. During position drills, Beal was sluggish, showed limited burst and poor footwork. Beal's measurables and poor athletic skills now pose a dilemma for teams. He measures 6-2˝ and 262 pounds, which is too small for defensive end in a conventional four-man front, and he's too slow to play outside linebacker in a 3-4 alignment. At one time considered a possible top 45 choice, expect Beal to drop to as late as the fourth round.
The sleeper of the day was receiver Cameron Kenney, who caught 33 passes for the Sooners last season with an average of 16.4 yards per catch. He ran his 40 in 4.52 seconds then posted solid marks in the vertical jump (35.5 inches) broad jump (10-9) and 20-yard shuttle (4.09 seconds). Considered a free agent entering the day, he may now move into the late rounds.
With last week's NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis in the books, the next phase of talent evaluation for the 2011 NFL Draft kicks into high gear this week. Personnel from all 32 NFL teams, including scouts, coaches and general managers, are hitting the road to check out players as they conduct their pro-day workouts at their college campuses.
Today, all eyes will be on quarterback Cam Newton, who will try to improve upon his disappointing throwing workout at the combine. Newton completed only 11 of 21 passes in Indianapolis and some scouts said he displayed poor mechanics.
Also today, Arkansas' Ryan Mallett, will again throw for scouts (while likely running a 40 too), with hopes of wowing NFL personnel with his arm strength and accuracy -- just like he did at the Indy combine. And in Norman, Okla., a dozen Sooners will try to impress NFL teams at their workouts.
Also on this week's pro-day docket: Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Indiana, Oregon State and Arizona.
For more draft information, visit TFYDraft.com
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