Pro Day Tracker (cont.)
Two receivers must be mentioned as we finish a busy Monday of pro-day workouts.
While most of the attention at the Arizona pro-day was focused on Juron Criner, it was another receiver that came away the big winner according to scouts. David Douglas, who was the Wildcats second leading receiver after Criner, was the faster and more consistent wide out on the field today. Douglas ran times that will officially be charted as 4.45 seconds then looked effortless in horrible conditions during the position drills. He caught everything thrown his way and. according to onlookers, toughed it out when others had succumbed to the driving rain and hail.
Criner's numbers last season are nothing to dismiss as he posted 65 receptions for 666 yards and four scores. He'll now get an invite to camp and Douglas may even get consideration in the draft's closing stages.
Appalachian State receiver Brian Quick ran 40 times as fast as 4.51 seconds at pro-day, equaling his mark from pro-day. He too had a fine pass catching session during position drills, displaying strong, dependable hands.
The conditions during the Arizona pro day went from bad to worse, as what started out as a hail storm turned into a torrential downpour during the workout.
Players ran the 40 on a fast indoor carpet and scouts will adjust the times due to the favorable conditions.
Receiver Juron Criner posted a mark in the low 4.6s, but when adjusted his official time will be closer to 4.68, similar to the time he posted at the combine. During the heavy downpour Criner looked terrific in position drills, catching everything thrown in his direction. Scouts love Criner's football skills, but believe he's a slow-footed receiver who also comes with off-field issues.
Quarterback Nick Foles looked solid in the adverse conditions. Scouts thought Foles took something off his passes in order to make the wet ball more catchable, but looked surprisingly effective rolling outside the pocket, then throwing on the move.
Defensive back Robert Golden ran well, posting a best 40 that will read somewhere around 4.46 seconds. The versatile secondary prospect lined up at both cornerback and safety for Arizona and is considered a sleeper of sorts. Golden posted a vertical jump of 37.5 inches, then looked solid in ball drills, displaying a quick backpedal and the ability to flip his hips when switching from his backpedal to moving forwards. He was not invited to the combine, but looks like a late-round choice at this point.
At the Iowa pro day cornerback Shaun Prater, who did not run at the combine due to a minor right knee flare-up, posted 40 times as fast as 4.39 seconds today. He also timed 4.19 seconds in the short shuttle. Prater will workout again for scouts on April 4, when he will do position drills. Joining him will be teammate Mike Daniels. The defensive lineman sat out the combine and today's pro day workout as he's been recovering from shoulder surgery performed the second week of January. The highly rated Daniels is scheduled to take part in all the drills, except the bench press, on April 4.
One of the most anticipated weeks on the pro day schedule is upon us, as teams will travel to watch the draft's top two players, quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, work out in just a few days.
Monday's workouts got underway this morning with a dozen teams on hand for the Wake Forest pro day event.
Kyle Wilber, starting defensive end for the Demon Deacons the past three seasons and a player most teams project to outside linebacker in the NFL, tipped the scales at 242 pounds, seven less than his combine weight, and then ran 40 times as fast as 4.60-seconds, an improvement of almost .15 seconds from his best mark in Indianapolis. Wilber later did position drills at both defensive end and linebacker for 20 minutes. Scouts came away impressed, and the senior defender continues to improve his draft stock.
Safety Cyhl Quarles also improved in the 40, timing 4.53 seconds today versus a fast of 4.54 at the combine.
A different defensive back, one not invited to the combine, turned heads today. Josh Bush, a three-year starter who lined up at both safety and cornerback and picked off six passes last season, displayed next-level talent all morning. Measuring 5-11 and 208 pounds, Bush ran times under 4.50 seconds, with a best mark of 4.49 seconds. He also completed 16 reps on the bench press. During position drills, Bush looked smooth and fluid. He was quick pedaling in reverse and showed terrific ball skills. Most scouts feel Bush has solidified himself as a late-round pick.
Receiver Chris Givens participated in receiver drills and, though he looked solid, some scouts on hand were concerned the junior did too much body catching rather than snatching the ball with his hands.
Offensive lineman Joe Looney, who suffered a foot injury at the Senior Bowl in late January which required surgery to repair, was seen walking around this morning with no ill effects. Looney is ahead of schedule in his rehabilitation and is expected to be 100 percent by the time camp rolls around. There's a possibility he will do some sort of workout for scouts just prior to the draft, once cleared by doctors.
The pro day events for the week have concluded.
At Arizona State, the downward spiral continues for linebacker Vontaze Burfict. The one-time highly rated linebacker, who struggled through a disappointing 2011 campaign then ran poorly at the combine, looked no better today. Scouts thought Burfict looked poorly conditioned and out-of-place in drills. He was not smooth changing direction, dropped passes in drills and generally looked like a free agent compared to the first-round pick most predicted just six months ago. Several scouts said they felt bad for Burfict, who'll have another chance to redeem himself on March 30.
Receivers Gerell Robinson and Mike Willie looked good in pass-catching drills. Both caught just about everything thrown their way, with Robinson running solid routes. Scouts feel Willie will be a good special teams player at the next level.
Cornerback Omar Bolden, whose not played competitive football since 2010 due to a knee injury, looked tight in drills and is likely to fall into the late rounds.
In Corvallis, Ore., both James Rodgers and Brandon Hardin continued the momentum of their good workouts as both looked smooth and polished in position drills.
Safety Lance Mitchell, who underwent double hernia surgery in late November, also performed well in drills. Mitchell measured a solid 6-foot-2 and 207-pounds before posting marks of 6.9 seconds in the three-cone, 4.19 seconds in the short shuttle and 12 reps on the bench. Mitchell did not run the 40 today.
Little-known offensive lineman Jason Slowey turned heads during the Western Oregon pro-day. A college left tackle who projects to guard in the NFL, he measured 6-2½ and 304 pounds. His marks included 38 reps on the bench press, 9-2 in the broad jump and a short shuttle time of 4.64. Slowey also ran a solid 40, timing 4.96. Ten teams were on hand to watch the sleeper workout today.
All 32 of the league's teams were on hand today for the Oregon State pro day, and the star of the workout was a non-combine participant.
Defensive back Brandon Hardin, who missed the entire 2011 season after injuring his shoulder in August, ran 40 times as fast as 4.36 seconds after tipping the scales at 219 pounds.
Hardin's other marks included a 35.5 inch vertical jump, 10-4 broad jump and 24 reps on the bench. His short shuttle timed as fast as 4.03 seconds, while his three-cone came in at 6.8 seconds. Oregon State's starting cornerback in 2010, Hardin entered the season with a mid-round grade from NFL scouts. Most project the big defensive back to safety and after today's workout many believe he's kept the middle-round projection.
Skill specialist James Rodgers improved his 40 time from the combine significantly, posting a best of 4.47 seconds. His fastest mark in Indianapolis was 4.62 seconds.
The Temple pro day is finished and NFL teams were very impressed with several of the prospects who took part.
After his tremendous 40 time, running back Bernard Pierce looked terrific in pass catching drills. The junior ran both short and deep routes, looking equally effective in both. He was natural catching the ball and at one point made an impressive fingertip grab. Pierce has solidified himself in the second tier of running backs next April and ranks as a potential top-75 choice.
Fellow combine invitee Evan Rodriguez rested on his 40 time from Indianapolis (4.53 seconds), but was another who stood out in pass catching drills. Rodriguez lined-up at tight end, fullback and H-back during position drills, looking smooth in all areas.
Receiver Rod Streater and tight end Matt Balasavage were two more that stood out catching the ball. That's a good sign for both as Streater (19 receptions) and Balasavage (one reception) had minimal offensive production last season. Both will now be brought into a camp after the draft.
A busy Friday on the pro day schedule ends a hectic week of workouts.
In West Virginia, linebacker Najae Goode and Bruce Irvin stood on their combine numbers, but did position drills, and both looked solid according to scouts.
Irvin was very explosive and looked good in ball drills. That's important, as he was primarily used as a pass rusher at West Virginia. Displaying coverage skills further confirms the versatility of the athletic defender in the minds of scouts. Irvin's fastest official 40 time from the combine was 4.41 seconds, the best of any defensive front seven player.
Goode looked solid in both linebacker and defensive back drills. Initially graded as a low-level free agent entering the season, he has moved into the middle of the draft's final day.
Two Mountaineers who were surprise non-invitees at the combine displayed their skills today.
Defensive end Julian Miller, a productive three year starter, clocked 4.78 and 4.82 in the 40, touched 33.5 inches in the vertical jump and put up 19 reps on the bench. He was run through defensive line and linebacker drills for 35 minutes after testing and looked athletic. Expect Miller to be one of the two dozen non-combine participants to be selected in last day of next month's draft.
Cornerback Keith Tandy ran 40 times that ranged between 4.50 and 4.57 seconds.
The times from Temple pro day have been fast -- startling, in fact.
Running back Bernard Pierce, who surprised many with a 4.45 40 clocking at the combine, lowered his time by one-tenth today. Several watches had Pierce, not known as a fast ball-carrier, turning in times of 4.34 seconds. Sure-handed receiver Rod Streater also cracked the 4.4-second barrier, timing 4.37 in the 40.
Tight end Matt Balasavage (255 pounds), known more for his blocking, ran in the high 4.7s (4.78 seconds), after posting 21 reps on the bench press. Derek Dennis, one of the more underrated guards available next month, completed 25 reps on the bench press, then ran a 40 time of 5.23 seconds.
The Temple players are presently participating in position drills.
The Arizona State pro day had some of the excitement taken out of the event, as quarterback Brock Osweiler won't be throwing for scouts until March 30, the same day linebacker Vontaze Burfict will run again and try to improve on his 40 time of 5.00 seconds from the combine. Burfict reportedly completed 16 reps on the bench this morning.
Other marks from the Arizona State pro-day, which is still in progress, include oft-injured cornerback Omar Bolden running 4.55 seconds in the 40 and receiver Mike Willie unable to break 4.8 seconds.