Pro Day Tracker
Latest news and analysis as prospects prepare for 2011 NFL Draft on April 28-30
Sources at today's Notre Dame pro day, the final non-individual event on the calendar, said a trio of players stood out this morning, including two who were unable to work out at the combine.
All eyes were on Kyle Rudolph and the junior tight end did not disappoint. Rudolph, whose season ended in October after he underwent surgery to repair an injured hamstring, ran 40 times which averaged in the low-4.8s. Some watches timed Rudolph as fast as 4.77. He later caught the ball exceptionally well. Rudolph now moves towards the draft as the top tight end and should be drafted in the first half of round two.
Running back Armando Allen, who had been recovering from a hip injury and was another Irish prospect who sat on the sidelines in Indianapolis, posted times as fast as 4.46 after tipping the scales at 202 pounds, three more than his combine weight. Allen should be picked in the later rounds of the draft.
Underrated cornerback Darrin Walls was one of the stars of the day running in the low-4.4s. Walls was not invited to the combine but impressed scouts with his play during the week of practices at the Shrine Game. He offers the physical skills to play in the NFL and is a legitimate late-round pick who could surprise a number of people.
Today's headliner is Villanova offensive lineman Ben Ijalana, who was unable to participate at the Senior Bowl or the combine after undergoing surgery on a sports hernia late in December.
Ijalana peformed well for the offensive line coaches in attendance, touching 27 inches in the vertical jump, 9-feet in the broad jump and running the 40 in times as fast as 5.12.
Ijalana also received good reviews for his position work during the drills segment. Several teams said they like the versatility of the small school lineman, who they project at both guard and tackle in the NFL.
Ijalana has received some first round mention recently but the initial half of the second round seems a better fit for the large blocker.
Indiana junior wideout Tandon Doss, who has recovered from the groin injury which kept him from working out at the combine, put up these marks today: 4.56 seconds in the 40, 6.87 seconds in the three cone, 32.5 inches in the vertical jump and 9-8 in the broad jump.
Doss caught the ball well during drills, running crisp routes and displaying great balance in his game. Throwing the ball to Doss during the workout was Hoosier senior passer Ben Chappell, who was on the money all morning.
Doss, projected as a third receiver at the next level, projects as a third- or fourth-round pick and would be a steal if he goes later than that.
We failed to mention the outstanding workout of Virginia cornerback Ras-I Dowling earlier this week. Twenty-seven teams had representatives on hand to watch Dowling perform Monday. The talented senior, who was rated as a potential first-round pick prior to the season but struggled with multiple leg injuries throughout the 2010 campaign, did not disappoint.
Though still not 100 percent, Dowling's 40 times were clocked as low as 4.34. His vertical jump was 38 inches and his broad jump was 10-8. Dowling also looked terrific in a variety of defensive back drills.
So where does Dowling fit in the draft? Physically he ranks as a top tier cornerback and his play in 2009, when he was fully healthy, was first-round caliber. He's likely to slide out of the top 50 selections yet will be a steal if he gets his game back on track and plays to his level of ability.
Several running back coaches were on hand to watch Kansas State's Daniel Thomas work out today. Thomas, who was unable to participate in the Senior Bowl and the combine due to hamstring issues, performed better than expected. His 40 times averaged 4.55, and were as fast as 4.50 on a number of watches. Scouts were concerned about his speed and today's performance should quell those doubts. Thomas, who measured 6-feet, 230 pounds in Indianapolis, later looked good in position drills. While his ongoing hamstring issues will raise some red flags, today's workout should be enough to cement Thomas as a top 100 choice.
Nebraska defensive end Pierre Allen was also scheduled to run for scouts today but had to push his workout date back as he still hasn't fully recovered from the calf injury which kept him from participating in the combine.
The pro day for Da'Quan Bowers has ended and now the decision rests with NFL general managers and head coaches as to where he fits in at the top of the draft.
Bowers looked solid during position drills, displaying good movement skills and flexibility. He showed a good degree of quickness throughout the session and was smooth on his feet. Bowers also looked winded at times, huffing and puffing his way through the workout.
Afterwards he addressed reporters, and Bowers admitted struggling with his conditioning while recovering from the knee surgery. Bowers told the crowd he was disappointed in his 40 time yet satisfied with his performances in the three cone and shuttle. Bowers pegged the North Carolina State game on Nov. 6 as the day he tore his meniscus.
Bowers, along with Tyron Smith of USC and a handful of other players, will travel to Indianapolis next week for the combine re-check. The annual re-check gives NFL teams another opportunity to re-examine players who were medically red-flagged during February's combine.
Two small school prospects who must be mentioned as we close out the week.
During the South Carolina State pro day, offensive tackle Johnny Culbreath (6-5 and 321 pounds) posted 40 times as fast a 4.94 seconds and completed 27 reps on the bench. The left tackle prospect looked solid in position drills, displaying footwork and skills as a pass protector. He could squeak into the last few spots of the draft and at the very least Culbreath will be highly sought as a free agent.
In Nacogdoches, Texas, more than a dozen NFL teams had representatives on hand to watch Jabara Williams at the Stephen F. Austin pro day. The Southland Conference Defensive Player of the Year did not disappoint as his marks included 40 times as fast as 4.54, a short shuttle time of 4.24 and 36.5 inches in the vertical jump. Measuring just under 6-2 and weighing 228 pounds, Williams was out of position at middle linebacker in college yet is getting a lot of consideration as a late round weak-side linebacker prospect.
Former South Carolina tight end Weslye Saunders, who hobbled around on one leg during the Gamecocks pro day earlier this week, had the bothersome stress fracture in his foot surgically repaired today. Usual rehabilitation from the procedure is up to 60 days.
The first day of April has one major pro day, and it's a workout that could shape the top of the draft.
Getting the day started early, Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers already has finished the initial testing with results that were somewhat disappointing. Bowers measured 6-3˝ and 276 pounds. His broad jumps were between 9-feet, 2-inches and 9-feet, 6-inches with a vertical jump that touched 34.5 inches. Bowers' 40 times ranged between 4.83 and 4.92 seconds. He did rebound with a solid three-cone time of 6.95 seconds. Bowers average times in the short shuttle clocked in the upper 4.4-second area with his fastest being 4.34.
For Bowers, the 40 time don't stack up against some of the top defensive linemen who participated at the combine. By comparison, California's Cameron Jordan ran in the mid-4.7s and weighs 11 pounds more than Bowers. But Bowers' best three-cone and short-shuttle times were right in line with the upper echelon of performances by the defensive linemen at the combine.
The workout took place outdoors on a strip of field turf at Memorial Stadium. A large crowd was in attendance, including NFL general managers, head coaches, assistants and scouts.
Interest was hight to see Bowers today, after he only completed the bench press at the combine. He continues to recover from a minor surgical procedure performed on his knee in January to repair a torn meniscus.
The Hawaii pro day at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., is finished. The workout took almost six hours as NFL prospects from the University of Hawaii plus local Los Angeles players that attended schools around the nation took part in the event.
All three receivers from Hawaii looked terrific and each established themselves as legitimate picks during different points of the draft's seven rounds.
Greg Salas sat on his combine numbers and stood out in receiver drills. He showcased his outstanding route running and reliable hands. Salas is quickly moving up draft boards as a variety of teams feel he'll be a good fit for their offensive system. Relatively unknown for much of the year, Salas could slide into the late part of round two.
Kealoha Pilares showed he's lost nothing in his game after suffering a knee injury in the Hawaii Bowl last December. Pilares posted a vertical jump of 40.5 inches and broad jump which measured 10-feet, 5-inches. He then timed 4.45 in the 40 before showing reliable hands and solid route running throughout the workout. At the end of the day, scouts put Pilares through a battery of running back drills, the position he played his first two seasons at Hawaii. Pilares is now likely to be selected during the bottom third of the draft.
Rodney Bradley, not invited to the combine, proved he belongs at the next level. Bradley posted 4.50 in the 40 and looked just as good as his teammates catching the ball. Used as part of the starting receiver rotation for the Warriors, he'll get consideration in the draft's closing frames.
Finally, safety Mana Silva gave scouts something to think about. The Oregon State transfer, who totaled a nation-leading eight interceptions last season, was perceived as being too slow and unathletic for the NFL. His 40 time of 4.43 will make scouts rethink that opinion. Silva also looked effective in position drills. In a weak class of safeties in next month's draft, Silva is just the kind of player who could slide into the late rounds.
Barely two months removed from knee surgery to repair an injury suffered during the Senior Bowl, Oregon State's Stephen Paea looked impressive at his pro day.
Paea, who weighed 303 pounds at the combine, touched 31 inches in the vertical jump and clocked times which ranged from 5.14-ro-5.17 in the 40. He was then worked hard in position drills and stayed on the field until he had completed everything scouts asked of him.
It was a solid performance for Paea, considering the circumstances. He could slide into the late part of round one, though more than likely Paea will be chosen in the top half of the second frame, in large part due to the quality and depth of the defensive line position in this year's draft.
The North Carolina pro day, held in 40-degree weather on a wet field, has just finished.
Quarterback T.J. Yates had the workout of his life today and impressed a large number of people. Due to the pro-day rules instituted after the lockout, the Carolina senior was the only quarterback available to throw the ball during all the position drills. Yates ended up throwing 112 passes during the workout and for the most part was accurate throughout the morning. Many league insiders feel Yates is the most underrated QB in this year's draft. Considered by many as a seventh-round selection, Yates could jump into the fifth round based on his performance today and his strong passing workout at the combine.
Linebacker Quan Sturdivant timed 4.65 seconds in the 40, which is a solid time though most in attendance expected him to break 4.6. Cornerback Kendric Burney, who was terribly slow at the combine (4.71), was clocked between 4.68-to-4.72 seconds today.
Defensive end Robert Quinn improved his combine marks on the bench press (24 reps) and broad jump (10-feet, 5-inches). His 40 times ranged between 4.57-to-4.61 seconds, better than his 4.62 from Indianapolis.
Receiver Greg Little also had a solid workout. His 40 ranged between 4.49-to-4.53 seconds, a slight improvement from his combine time. Little also improved in the three cone (4.19). He later caught the ball well, displaying good footwork running routes and quickness into his breaks. He showed a large degree of athleticism and balance on the slippery turf.
Tight end Zach Pianalto was one of the beneficiaries of Yates passing. After running the forty in 4.75 (an improvement of .03 from the combine), he caught the ball extremely well.
In Chapel Hill, N.C., the workout is under way for several defensive prospects who project as top 100 picks. For linebacker Quan Sturdivant, who did not participate in the Senior Bowl and chose not to run the forty or three cone at the combine after claiming to hurt his hamstring in warm-ups, it's his one shot to impress NFL teams and quell the criticism about his athleticism.
Oregon State defensive tackle Stephen Paea is set to run and complete position drills for scouts at his individual pro day. Paea set a combine record with 49 repetitions on the bench yet did not partake in anything else after injuring his knee during the Senior Bowl.
In Carson, Calif., members of the Hawaii football team eligible for April's draft will be working out this afternoon. We'll be watching wide receiver Kealoha Pilares, a potential late-round choice, who was unable to run at the combine due to a knee injury.
Junior Tyron Smith turned in some terrific marks at USC's pro-day.
Tipping the scales at 310 pounds, three more than his combine weight, Smith ran 40 times which ranged in the mid-to-upper 4.9-second area. Some clocks had the big offensive tackle as fast as 4.92. Those marks were far superior to any offensive tackle that ran in Indianapolis. His 30-inch vertical jump and 9-foot, 2-inch broad jump also rank in the upper echelon of marks from the offensive tackle class at the combine. Smith improved his bench press by completing 31 reps, up two from the combine. Sources said he looked terrific in position drills, displaying good movement skills and solid footwork.
The workout was attended by Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett and offensive line coach Hudson Houck, presumably to see Smith, who is projected as the Cowboys first-round pick in SI.com's Don Banks' latest mock draft.
Receiver Ronald Johnson ran a pair of 40 times which averaged 4.48, a slight improvement for him from Indianapolis. His 3-cone time was clocked as fast as 6.5 seconds. He also completed 20 reps on the bench press. He ran sharp routes and caught the ball very well.
Fast rising tight end Jordan Cameron stood on his numbers from the combine but looked terrific in position drills. The smooth athlete was very natural catching the ball and turned a lot of heads, as he did at the combine.
Running back Allen Bradford hoped to improve his 40 time from the combine (4.53) but fell far short, clocking as slow as 4.69. This now puts a question in the mind of teams around the league. Bradford did rebound and looked good in position drills.
Defensive tackle Jurrell Casey was slightly faster today, posting a best of 5.03 in the 40. His combine mark was 5.04. Casey pulled up with a hamstring issue on his second attempt in the 40 after timing 5.14, but came back and completed the position drills.
The big winner of the day could be weak-side linebacker prospect Malcolm Smith, who was not invited to the combine. Smith, who weighed 225 pounds, posted marks which included 28 reps on the bench, 39 inches in the vertical jump, 10-feet, 5-inches in the broad jump and times as fast as 4.47 in the 40. Smith was equally impressive during position drills, looking smooth, fluid and quick. He translated his timed speed onto the field and was very athletic. He is set to visit with the Bears and Seahawks.
The other Trojan linebacker who participated today, Michael Morgan, also ran well, timing in the mid 4.4-second range in the 40. It was a different story during position drills as Morgan struggled in all aspects. Known more as an athlete than football player, Morgan's performance today won't change any opinions.
Cornerback Shareece Wright suffered an injury today which bares watching. According to an onlooker, Wright caught his foot in the turf during one of the drills and as he laid on the field being attended to, told trainers he heard something go "pop".
Jake Locker turned in a solid performance, according to those just leaving the workout in Seattle.
Locker threw approximately 49 passes, including his warm-up tosses, and just two ended up incomplete according to scouts in attendance. Five passes sailed high of the mark, which required receivers to make acrobatic receptions to come down with the ball. Early in the workout, Locker showed outstanding timing and was on the money with his throws, hitting receivers as they left their breaks and allowing pass-catchers to run to the ball. He seemed comfortable with his footwork and passing fundamentals, an improvement from the combine where he seemed a bit stiff with his new throwing mechanics. As the workout neared the end, Locker grew a bit weary, reflected in his timing and accuracy. From the get-go, Locker was very loose and heavily involved in the workout, cheering on his former Husky teammates as they performed for scouts. Overall, it was another step in the right direction for Locker.
Linebacker Mason Foster improved his time from the combine with 40's that ranged from 4.68-to-4.72.
Offensive lineman Cody Habben turned in solid marks including 28 reps on the bench and a broad jump of 8-feet, 10-inches. Habben measured 6-feet, 5.5-inches and 295 pounds.
South Carolina defensive back Chris Culliver continues his upward movement on draft boards. At today's pro day, Culliver sat on most of his combine numbers, including the 40, as he posted a time of 4.36 during his Indianapolis workout. He did bench press today and was credited with 15 reps. It was a solid number, even moreso considering Culliver missed the second half of his senior campaign after suffering a torn pectoral muscle which required surgery to repair. After the bench, Culliver looked quick and fluid in position drills. The versatility to play cornerback, safety and kick-returner could push the Gamecock senior into the draft's initial 65 selections.
The results were not as good for Weslye Saunders. The former Gamecock tight end timed in the mid-4.9s in the forty and showed minimal quickness all day. While he caught the ball well in drills, onlookers said Saunders seemed to be favoring the foot he re-injured at the combine.
The pro day for Cameron Heyward has finished and judging by those at the event, the Ohio State defensive lineman impressed many of the teams on hand.
He tipped the scales at 295 pounds and unofficially his marks read 4.95 in the forty, a short shuttle time in the low-4.4s and three cone time in the 7.4 area. Reportedly, Heyward touched 35 inches in the vertical jump.
Sources at the workout said Heyward looked solid in drills, moving well and showing good hand punch, despite his recent surgery. The Buckeye has been all over draft boards and there are a variety of opinions in the scouting community as to where he fits in this April. Considering his workout today, coupled with his body of work in college and ability to line up at several positions on the defensive line, it's tough to see Heyward slipping past the 24th pick in round one and very understandable if he ends up as a top 15 selection.
One of the busier days on the pro-day schedule takes place today as scouts will get a first look at three players unable to participate at the combine -- defensive lineman Cameron Heyward, tight end Weslye Saunders and offensive tackle Tyron Smith.
Heyward will complete a full workout at Ohio State, minus the bench press, as he's recovered from the elbow surgery performed back in January. Sources from the Heyward camp told us the first-round prospect has been lifting weights but is not ready to try and max out on the bench press. Several draft eligible Buckeyes will piggyback off Heyward's workout today and give scouts a last look at their skills.
South Carolina welcomes back tight end Weslye Saunders at its pro day. Saunders, who sat on the sidelines last season due to NCAA rules violations, was prepared to run during the combine before re-injuring his foot. Doctors who examined Saunders in Indianapolis uncovered a stress fracture and the injury was made worse when the big tight end landed awkwardly during the vertical jump.
Out west, the USC pro day is one that always draws a big crowd and today will be no different. Junior offensive tackle Tyron Smith, who was still recovering from minor knee surgery during the combine, is expected to complete a full running workout today.
Finally, Jake Locker has another opportunity to prove his passing skills are headed in the right direction after his fine combine workout as NFL teams will be in Seattle for the Washington pro day.
Representatives from the league's 32 teams converged on UCLA's campus today for the first of three important pro-days out on the West Coast.
It was a late afternoon start in Westwood, Calif. as many of the general managers and position coaches from the NFL landed in Los Angeles this morning before quickly making their way to the workout to watch a trio of Bruin prospects from on the defensive side of the ball. Linebacker Akeem Ayers really improved from his combine performance. The junior's best time in Indianapolis was 4.81 seconds in the 40 yet today Ayers got that mark down to 4.69 seconds. The workout was run on field turf, not an especially fast surface and sources at the workout said Ayers' improvement can be chalked up to a different training regiment since returning from Indy.
Whatever he did, it worked. Ayers also looked solid in position drills, moving around the field with ease and showing a variety of skill.
This will likely cement Ayers in the first round, something that was not a certainty after him combine workout.
Defensive lineman David Carter, who was a combine snub, also performed well. Measuring 6-feet, 4.5-inches and at 293 pounds, Carter timed at 4.93 seconds in the 40, completed 25 reps on the bench and posted a broad jump of 9-foot-3 inches. He also looked athletic in position drills and will now get consideration from defenses around the league. They'll like consider using him at tackle in a four-man line or as a two-gap end in a 3-4 alignment.
The response to the workout of safety Rahim Moore has been lukewarm. The junior stood on his forty times from the combine, the best which was 4.58 seconds, and seemed off his game in drills. Scouts said he did not display many of the ball skills he's shown in the past and Moore struggled tacking (finding) passes in the air on occasion.
In Salt Lake City today, representatives from more than two dozen NFL teams attended pro day at Utah.
Center Zane Taylor complete an impressive 41 reps on the bench, eight better than his mark from the combine. His 40 time (5.41), vertical jump (26.5 inches) and three cone (7.94) were all improvements from Indianapolis.
Guard Caleb Schlauderaff did not participate in any testing at the combine or today. He's been sidelined with assorted leg injuries. His situation will be re-evaluated in two weeks to decide if he'll be able to complete a combine-type workout before the draft. Schlauderaff was awarded various All-American and all-Conference awards in 2010 and impressed scouts during the week of practice at the East-West Shrine game.
Pro day is over in Texas and scouts came away impressed with several of the top prospects, starting with Sam Acho.
The college defensive end was run through linebacker drills and improved on his terrific performance at the combine. Acho brushed up on some of the smaller details of the linebacker position, looking very fluid moving in reverse and displaying a smooth backpedal. He caught the ball well in pass coverage and showed the ability to quickly change direction without hesitation. Acho has been lauded for his spirit and approach as he's known as a player who's the first one to the workout and the last to leave.
Defensive backs Aaron Williams and Chykie Brown both looked solid in drills. Brown dropped just a single pass and looked good in his backpedal, which had been questioned. Williams was very fluid and fast moving sideline-to-sideline, which is more evidence to those who feel safety is his best position in the NFL, not cornerback, the spot he played for the Longhorns.
Curtis Brown attempted to participate in the position work but was forced to the sidelines after just a few drills, the result of the lingering effects of the stomach virus he's been suffering from.
Three big pro days of note are on today's schedule -- Texas, Utah and UCLA.
In Austin, cornerback Chykie Brown timed as fast as 4.36 in the 40 and posted a vertical jump of 39.5 inches. The 40 was more than 0.1 faster than his mark from Indianapolis (4.49) and he was three inches better in the vertical jump.
Another Texas cornerback, Aaron Williams, also bettered many of his numbers. Williams ran in the low-4.4s, timing as fast as 4.39 on some watches. He was also three pounds lighter (201) than his combine weight.
Several Texas seniors who were not invited to the combine impressed those on hand, starting with receiver James Kirkendoll. The Longhorns leading pass catcher in 2010, Kirkendoll ran 4.4 in the 40 despite a stumble at the start of his run. Teammates expected Kirkendoll to run in the low-4.3s and onlookers claimed the misstep cost him up to 0.1. He also posted a terrific broad jump of 11 feet.
Tight end Greg Smith, known more for his blocking rather than his athleticism and pass catching, touched 39 inches in the vertical jump and timed his 40 right around 4.80.
Curtis Brown, the Longhorns' third-highest rated defensive back, is just taking part in position drills today. The senior cornerback had initially planned to run the 40 but has been suffering from the stomach flu the past week. Brown will sit on his combine marks, including 4.51 in the 40.
Cheta Ozougwu of Rice decided not to put any more strain on his already wounded hamstring. Instead of running the 40, Ozougwu was put through a battery of defensive line and linebacker drills for the teams in attendance. Sources from his camp said Ozougwu will run the 40 prior to the draft once his injury heals.
Cincinnati receiver Armon Binns, who ran much better than expected (4.50) at the combine, improved on some of his other marks today. Binns touched 33.5 inches in the vertical jump, an improvement of two inches. He also bettered his broad jump by three inches, posting a mark of 10-feet, 1-inch. Binns later looked solid catching the ball and he adds to the depth of quality receivers who will be available in the middle rounds of the draft.
Cincinnati holds its pro day today but one player who won't be participating is offensive lineman Jason Kelce. During the combine, Kelce turned in one of the best workouts of any offensive lineman in Indianapolis. His 40 time of 4.89 was almost .10 faster than other lineman and his 10-yard split time (1.70) was outstanding. His marks in the short shuttle (4.14) and three cone (7.22) were also the best of any blocker.
What made Kelce's performance all the more remarkable was he was sick during the workout. Kelce was violently ill throughout his stay in Indianapolis and was eventually diagnosed with appendicitis. He underwent an appendectomy March 9 and has two more weeks of recovery.
At Rice, defensive end/linebacker Cheta Ozougwu is hoping to run the 40 but recently suffered a hamstring injury in training which may limit him to just position drills. Ozougwu, who played defensive end for the Owls, projects to linebacker in the NFL. He looked outstanding during position drills at the combine and a good 40 before the draft could push him into the initial 125 selections.
The Utah State workout is under way and cornerback Curtis Marsh looked impressive. Marsh, who pulled out of the Senior Bowl with a hamstring injury, timed as fast as 4.37 in the 40 this morning.
Small school cornerback Cortez Allen was expected to run at The Citadel today but rainy conditions prevented him from timing in the 40.
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