Pro Day Tracker (cont.)
Three West Coast pro days finished off what was a ridiculously busy day of workouts.
The Nevada pro day featured receiver Rishard Matthews, who ran the 40-yard dash in a best time of 4.46 seconds, a significant improvement from his combine mark. The big wide out also turned in a broad jump of 10 feet, 3 inches, also better than his performance from Indianapolis. The improved marks can be attributed to the fact Matthews is finally healthy as the receiver was still recovering in the off season from a knee injury, a sprained MCL, which he suffered late in the 2011 campaign. Matthews really should not have run during the combine yet gave it a go anyway. He looked solid in position drills afterward and did not drop a single pass thrown his way.
Linebacker Brandon Marshall also ran fast today, timing 4.64 seconds in the 40. The 242-pound defender ran a best of 4.72 seconds at the combine. He later participated in linebacker drills with teammate James-Michael Johnson and both looked terrific displaying a lot of athleticism and quickness throughout the session.
Former Nevada running back Mike Ball, who was suspended from the program midway through the 2011 season, was allowed to take part in the pro day and timed 4.55 seconds in the 40, which equaled his best from the combine. Finally underrated defensive back Isaiah Frey, who projects as a zone cornerback in the NFL, posted a 40 time of 4.45 seconds.
At San Jose State, safety Duke Ihenacho turned in a terrific performance at pro day. He bettered his combine makes in the 40 (4.52 seconds vs. 4.66s), vertical jump (39 inches versus 35 inches) and broad jump (10 foot, 3 inches). Later in drills Ihenacho looked outstanding, displaying terrific ball skills. He's established himself in the second tier of safety's in next month's draft. Ihenacho will be selected earlier than many people presently predict.
One player that also stood out was unheralded cornerback Peyton Thompson. The three-year starter posted a 40 time of 4.42 seconds, vertical jump of 37½ inches and broad jump of 10 feet, 7 inches. He also looked comfortable in drills. The 5-foot-10, 180-pound corner has good bloodlines as he's younger brother to Denver Broncos cornerback Syd'Quan Thompson.
Finally San Diego State drew a big crowd for their pro day event.
Quarterback Ryan Lindley was impressive throwing the ball during the entire workout. He was on the money with all his throws and displayed a solid deep arm. Lindley accurately placed all his throws, except for two passes in the early going, in which the timing seemed to be off with receivers unfamiliar with the signal caller.
Linebacker Miles Burris, who did not run at the combine but looked terrific in position drills, turned in some solid testing marks today.
Weighing just over 240 pounds his marks included 40 times of 4.64 and 4.68 seconds, 6.68-seconds in the three-cone and a short shuttle time of 4.21-seconds. His vertical jump of 37½ inches was also impressive. Later in the workout Burris looked comfortable and relaxed in coverage drills which are important as he was primarily used at the line of scrimmage for the Aztecs and did not do much dropping into space. Burris is a sleeper of sorts at the linebacker position as he can lineup at numerous spots in a 3-4 alignment or play on the strong side in a conventional scheme. Don't be surprised if he sneaks into the late part of the draft's second day.
The pro day at Baylor is complete and scouts leave Waco, Texas even more impressed with quarterback Robert Griffin than they were at the combine.
A confident, poised but very loose Griffin looked terrific throwing the ball today. He was smooth and quick dropping into the pocket from underneath center to deliver the ball, something he rarely did at Baylor. Griffin's footwork was dynamic as he easily moved side to side, then fired the ball throwing on the move, staying on balance and in control during each maneuver. His arm was strong as passes quickly got to the intended target, but at the same time Griffin showed the ability to delicately put touch on throws and place the ball into pass-catchers' hands when required. Griffin displayed an explosive release as passes would fire from his hand, and all the throws were delivered with tight spirals. He was also deadly accurate throughout the entire workout, as receivers rarely broke stride or were forced to contort their bodies to grab passes that were behind or above them. Griffin practiced to the 4.41-second 40 time he ran at the combine, showing terrific rhythm and tempo from start to finish.
If there was one criticism to be had, it seemed Griffin's timing was slightly off early in the session, as receivers were forced to speed up to get to the pass, but that one blemish barely stood out. Even after throwing 77 passes, the athletic quarterback looked barely winded and finished the workout running 40 yards downfield to catch a pass thrown by his No. 1 receiver, Kendall Wright.
In the end, the junior passer delivered everything that was expected of him.
Kendall Wright also impressed today. He started the workout by running his 40 in times which ranged in the mid-4.4-second area (4.45s); much better than his combine mark but not as fast as many expected. It was a different story during position drills, as Wright showed a terrific burst of speed and second gear catching the deep throws. He ran outstanding pass routes, quickly getting into breaks then exploding to the ball on exit. His ability to quickly transition from making the catch to running after the reception was also impressive. Wright caught just about everything thrown in his direction and was smooth throughout the entire workout, displaying great balance and body control in all his movements. Today should stop any perceived slide in Wright's draft stock and should affirm the receiver as a top-20 choice.
Running back Terrance Ganaway also left a solid impression on scouts. The big ball-carrier tipped the scales at 241 pounds, then ran his 40 in just over 4.5 seconds (4.53). He looked good in limited work catching the ball.
The general consensus from the Rutgers pro day is receiver Mohamed Sanu made a lot of money for himself today. The junior carried the momentum of improved 40 times this morning into his position workout and a number of scouts said Sanu, "looked really, really good." He caught the ball well, which was no surprise, but also ran crisp routes and practiced as fast as he timed earlier in the day. Could Sanu now squeeze into the late part of round one? Maybe, but if he doesn't he will surely come off the board during the first half dozen picks of the second round.
Defensive lineman Justin Francis also turned in a complete workout and delivered more than teams expected. He easily moved about the field during position drills, looking fluid and smooth. The 270-pound lineman also looked solid in bag drills. Expect Francis to move into the early part of the draft's final day.
Offensive lineman Desmond Wynn, a versatile blocker who can be slotted in at tackle or guard, impressed in drills by showing a lot of athleticism moving about the field in bag drills as well as sliding his feet in pass blocking drills. Wynn is a bit of an unknown commodity; the prevailing thought in the scouting community is he has starting potential if properly developed.
Finally, running back/fullback Joe Martinek may have moved into the last round of the draft with his performance today. After turning in some terrific testing numbers, Martinek looked just as athletic in position drills. He caught the ball extremely well and practiced to his 40 time of 4.55-seconds.
At Boston College, the reviews for both Luke Kuechly and Donnie Fletcher have been positive.
Kuechly continues to impress scouts with his athleticism and quickness. The linebacker was swift today and looked better in pursuit drills than he showed at the combine. That said, most at the workout feel Kuechly grades as a late-first-round pick.
Fletcher started the day by timing 4.4 in the 40, though some watches had him as fast as 4.38. The cornerback looked smooth in position drills, though onlookers commented he dropped a fair number of passes in ball drills.
A pair of non-Boston College players participated in the workout and impressed scouts.
UMass tight end Emil Igwenagu, whose stock has been rising since January, sat on his numbers from the combine but looked exceptional catching the ball in drills. Holy Cross cornerback Chandler Fenner also displayed next level skills in the workout.
Early marks from the Rutgers pro-day are starting to come in and the results are good for receiver Mohamed Sanu.
The productive pass catcher stood on most of his marks from the combine, but clocked times under 4.5 today in the 40, stopping watches at 4.48 seconds on his second attempt. That's an improvement of almost .15-seconds from his mark in Indianapolis.
Defensive lineman Justin Francis did not run at the combine due to a quad injury yet moved his 270-pound frame to times under 4.9 in the 40 this morning, clocking as fast as 4.86-seconds. Francis also posted a 36-inch vertical jump and broad jump of 9-feet, 8-inches, both significant improvements from his marks in Indianapolis.
Joe Martinek, the Scarlet Knights feature runner in 2010 who moved to fullback last season, also impressed the 25 teams in attendance. Martinek ran 40 times in the mid-to-high 4.5's (4.57) after posting 32.5-inches in the vertical jump. The athletic Martinek is getting long looks as a west coast fullback by a number of teams.
The first of two eagerly anticipated pro days this week has arrived, as the attention of the football world focuses on Waco, Texas, where Robert Griffin III will throw for NFL teams. But that only scratches the surface of today's menu.
Griffin's favorite target, receiver Kendall Wright, is also expected to take part in the workout to try and improve his disappointing 40 time from the combine. Another wideout who hopes to speed things up today is Mohamed Sanu, as he's scheduled to run during the Rutgers pro day. The big-bodied receiver's best official hand time from the combine clocked 4.62 seconds.
Finally, out west Ryan Lindley will throw the ball during San Diego State pro day. Lindley was relatively impressive at the combine and a good workout today will solidify his status as a middle-round pick.
Late yesterday afternoon a little-known linebacker impressed NFL teams at the Idaho pro day.
Korey Toomer, who sat on the sidelines in 2010 and was not considered training camp worthy by NFL scouts prior to the season, performed brilliantly in front of eight teams. The 6-2 Toomer tipped the scales at 236 pounds, then ran 40 times as fast as 4.49 seconds. His three-cone clocked 6.86 seconds, and he completed 20 reps on the bench. Toomer's vertical jump was a story in itself, as the athletic defender reached over the 40-inch maximum of the measuring machine on hand. Scouts decided to credit him with a mark of 41 inches.
Thus far Toomer has 16 official pre-draft visits scheduled with teams around the league. Not too bad for a prospect considered an afterthought just eight months ago.
In Chapel Hill, N.C., Quinton Coples looked solid in both defensive line and linebacker drills. He was exceptional during defensive line drills and held his own at the linebacker position, though no one is going to select Coples on the basis of standing him up over tackle on a regular basis.
Receiver Dwight Jones was banned from the workout due to an incident in late December where his likeness was used on a poster to promote a New Year's Eve party. Though Jones had the posters with his image removed he reportedly attended the party, which did not sit well with UNC officials. As a result he held his own private workout up the road from the Tar Heel campus at East Chapel Hill High School. Jones ran two forty's, timing 4.47-seconds with the wind and 4.54-against it. He was then put through pass catching drills by the Denver Broncos with a team scout being used as the practice quarterback.
In Austin, Tex., Kheeston Randall and Emmanuel Acho stood on most of their combine numbers but participated in position drills and both looked solid.
One of the surprises of the day was Cody Johnson, the 258-pound fullback. Johnson ran times in the low 4.7-second range and showed good movement skills. Primarily a ball-carrier in the Longhorns' passing offense, Johnson possesses the size and body type to be a lead blocker in the NFL and can also line-up as a short-yardage ball carrier.
The Iowa State pro day has come to a conclusion, with scouts impressed by two Cyclones who attended the combine and another pair who did not.
Cornerback Leonard Johnson significantly improved on his disappointing combine 40 times today by clocking in the low-to-mid 4.5s, with a fast of 4.51. His 35-inch vertical jump and three-cone time of 6.95 seconds were also improvements from Indianapolis. Johnson looked quick and smooth during position drills and performed to the expectations of scouts. The senior cornerback, highly thought of in scouting circles, struggled through his combine workout while suffering with a viral infection, which adversely affected his training two weeks prior to his arrival in Indianapolis. After today's performance, Johnson is sure to get consideration in the late part of the draft's second day.
Offensive tackle Kelechi Osemele also impressed NFL teams during position drills. He was both powerful and smooth, easily moving his large frame about the field. Several scouts in attendance said that Osemele looked better today compared to his impressive performance at the combine.
Fellow offensive lineman Hayworth Hicks, who was not at the combine, also displayed next-level skills. Hicks measured 6-2 and 329 pounds, ran his 40 just under 5.3 seconds and looked good in drills. He's a powerful lineman with terrific hand punch and a blocker who most teams think can play in a power blocking/ball-control offense.
Darius Reynolds, the Cyclones' leading receiver last season, also looked solid. The 209-pound wideout broke the 4.5-second barrier on a number of watches, timing as fast as 4.48 seconds. He also timed 6.73 seconds in the three-cone, touched 35 inches in the vertical jump and completed 23 reps on the bench.
Damon Harrison, a defensive tackle from William Penn University, participated in the workout and made scouts take notice. The NAIA All-American measured 6-3 1/2 and 339 pounds, then completed 34 reps on the bench and posted a vertical jump of 29 inches. He looked like he belonged during position drills and there are a few who now think the big lineman may sneak into the last round of the draft.
The pace of the pro day schedule picks up today as Iowa State, Texas and North Carolina are the big workouts on the menu.
Iowa State cornerback Leonard Johnson will try and improve his 40 time from the combine, while word from Durham, North Carolina is Tar Heel linebacker Zach Brown may try and top his 4.44-second timing from Indianapolis.
Tuesday starts off with the mention of two sleepers lost in the shuffle of Monday's workout.
With all the star power at the Iowa pro day, it was easy to overlook Jordan Bernstine, the Hawkeyes' starting safety in 2011. But after his workout on Monday, scouts won't forget him anytime soon. Bernstine posted gaudy numbers, running his 40 as fast as 4.34 seconds, timing 6.75 seconds in the three-cone run as well as posting marks of 41 inches in the vertical jump and 18 reps on the bench. Still rough around the edges, teams feel Bernstine may finally be turning the corner in his football career.
Tiny Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Alabama earned notice in the scouting community when receiver Cody Pearcy stole the show during the Alabama State pro day. Pearcy, a Division III all-American receiver who registered 44 receptions for 766 yards and 8 touchdowns last season, turned in a workout that would've made combine king Stephen Hill jealous. His numbers included 4.31 seconds in the 40, 3.76 seconds in the short shuttle, 6.7 second in the three-cone, a vertical jump of 44 inches and 10-6 in the broad jump. Only his marks in the broad jump and three-cone were bettered by receivers at the combine.
Measuring 5-11 and 165 pounds, Pearcy also excelled as a return specialist for Huntingdon. Yesterday's workout bought the small-school receiver a ticket to rookie minicamp, where he'll surely get an opportunity to display his skill as a slot receiver and return specialist.
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