Pro Day Tracker (cont.)
Two small school prospects that performed at the combine continued to impress scouts Thursday.
Midwestern State offensive lineman Amini Silatolu worked out in front of position coaches in Wichita Falls, Texas this morning. He stood on most of his numbers from Indianapolis, though his 32-inch vertical jump and 9-foot, 3-inch broad jump represented slight improvements. Coaches on hand then put Silatolu through 40 minutes of position work and came away impressed the way the 314-blocker moved around the field. The feeling from most is that the offensive lineman has locked himself in as a top 45 pick.
Samford cornerback Corey White had a sensational workout this morning. His official forty time was clocked at 4.40 seconds, though some teams timed White as fast as 4.36 seconds. Look for White's name to be called early on the final day of the draft.
Another small school cornerback, Chris Greenwood of Albion College, impressed scouts as well. Greenwood, who was not invited to the combine though did participate in the Shrine Game, took part in Michigan's pro day and was one of the fastest prospects on the field. His numbers Thursday would make many of the defensive backs from the combine blush as Greenwood measured 6-feet, 1.5 inches and 193 pounds then timed as fast as 4.34 seconds in the forty, posted a broad jump of 11 feet, 2 inches and touched 43 inches in the vertical jump. He's a bit unpolished in his technique, yet is considered a terrific developmental prospect and Greenwood is getting consideration by the Pittsburgh Steelers.
At Louisiana Tech, scouts and coaches worked Matt Broha hard at defensive line, linebacker and tight end drills. Broha measured 6 feet, 4 inches and 256 pounds then ran just over 4.8 seconds in the forty. He looked explosive and smooth during defensive drills then caught all 25 passes thrown his way running tight end routes. Broha, who has fallen under the radar, is scheduled to travel to five NFL franchises for pre-draft visits.
His teammate, running back Lennon Creer who was in Indianapolis last month, ran the forty in 4.66-seconds, a slight improvement from his combine times.
Though we've received no official numbers yet, word from the Virginia pro day is cornerback Chase Minnifield, who has struggled with a knee injury since the 2011 season, did not look all that good this morning. Coming into his senior season Minnifield was graded as a top 40 choice, but his draft stock has since slipped.
Cam Johnson, on the other hand, continues to watch his draft stock move north. Sources at the workout said the dominant pass rusher looked good in position drills. That would be a postseason trifecta for Johnson, who looked good at the Senior Bowl, turned in a solid combine workout and performed well during pro day.
Offensive lineman Austin Pasztor caught the attention of scouts today. Measuring 6 feet, 7 inches and 306 pounds, Pasztor ran 5.35 seconds in the forty after posting a vertical jump of 31-inches. He moved well and looked agile in drills. Playing guard at Virginia, some teams project Pasztor as a right tackle for the next level.
Virginia Tech has finished their pro day, and it was receiver Danny Coale that turned heads.
The steady pass catcher bettered his time of 4.42 seconds from the combine, clocking as fast as 4.37 seconds today. His vertical jump of 37 inches was a two-inch improvement from Indianapolis, while Coale bettered his broad jump mark by 8.5 inches, leaping 10-3 1/2. One of the most underappreciated receivers in the draft, Coale interviewed well at the combine and impressed NFL decision makers with his maturity. He entered the season with late-round grades, but now has the possibility to break into the third round.
Jarrett Boykin was another Hokie wideout who improved his marks from Indianapolis. Boykin's best time of 4.57 seconds was .05 faster than his combine mark.
Several players that did not attend the combine also posted solid numbers.
Safety Eddie Whitley cracked the 4.4-second mark on a number of watches, clocking as fast as 4.38 seconds in the 40.
Chris Hill, a talented cornerback who struggled to break into the deep Hokie secondary, gave scouts a lot to think about with his numbers. Hill touched 37 inches in the vertical jump, completed 13 reps on the bench press and ran 40 times that stopped watches between 4.37 and 4.45 seconds. His three-cone mark of 6.78 seconds and short shuttle time of 4.08 seconds were also impressive. Hill earned an invitation to camp this summer with his pro day performance.
Versatile Chris Drager, who lined up at tight end and linebacker for the Hokies, ran times in the mid 4.8s and posted a three-cone time of 7.13 seconds. He's another who will get into a camp this summer, and Drager should be a demon on special teams.
Missouri had their second pro day today and receiver Jerrell Jackson stole the show, posting an official 40 time 4.37 seconds. His fastest time at the combine was 4.50 seconds.
Michigan, Oregon and Virginia Tech are the prominent workouts that dot the schedule today. We'll also be keeping watch on Louisiana Tech, where Matt Broha, a sleeper defensive end/outside linebacker who is drawing a lot of interest across the leauge, will perform in front of scouts.
Some finishing notes from yesterday include two outstanding performances.
Defensive back Deshawn Shead, rated as a potential free agent entering the season, wowed the 14 teams that attended the Portland State pro day, which took place in driving rain and windy conditions.
Shead, who lined up at both cornerback and safety for PSU, measured 6-1 and 220 pounds. His testing marks included a 38-inch vertical jump, broad jump of 10-4 and 24 reps on the bench. In adverse conditions, the big defensive back ran the 40 in times as low as 4.51 seconds. There are many who now feel Shead will squeeze into the last round of the draft based on his performance.
Bryce Brown, the one-time highly recruited running back who has played for two different schools since 2009, but totaled just 104 combined carries in both seasons, gave scouts a taste of why there were such great expectations around him. Brown ran 40 times which ranged between 4.37 and 4.45 seconds after tipping the scales at 223 pounds. He touched 34 inches on the vertical jump and completed 22 reps on the bench.
Brown started his career at Tennessee in 2009, where he rushed for 460 yards and three touchdowns on 101 carries as a freshman. He transferred to Kansas State to reunite with his brother, linebacker Arthur Brown, a top prospect for the 2013 NFL Draft. Three games and three carries into his Kansas State career Brown left the program. Unlikely to be selected at any point in next month's draft, Brown is sure to get an invitation to camp this summer based on his awesome natural talent.
Pro day workouts at Michigan State, Cal, Florida State and Maryland are complete on what's been a busy day.
The weather in Berkley, California was miserable, as a downpour disrupted the Golden Bears' workout and most of the position drills were cancelled. Still, there were a few outstanding performances from lesser-known prospects despite the terrible conditions.
Defensive lineman Ernest Owusu stole the show. Measuring 6-4 and 277 pounds, Owusu completed 39 reps on the bench, posted a 30.5-inch vertical jump and ran 40 times between 4.72 and 4.78 seconds. Those times are likely to be quickened by scouts due to the slick surface the players ran on. The workout today will force scouts to reevaluate Owusu, who was not a good fit in Cal's 3-4 defense the past two seasons.
Safety DJ Campbell also looked outstanding. Campbell posted a vertical jump of 38 inches, broad jump of 10-5 and ran in the low 4.5-second range in the 40, despite straining a hamstring muscle. This is in contrast to Cal's other safety, Sean Cattouse, who attended the combine earlier this month. Cattouse bettered his 40 time of 4.76 seconds from Indianapolis, running 4.68 seconds today. Many believe Campbell is the better NFL prospect than Cattouse, despite receiving fewer headlines and less praise from NFL scouts.
There were some superb performances in East Lansing, as the Michigan State players performed in front of almost three dozen scouts, coaches and personnel people from around the league.
Quarterback Kirk Cousins continues his upward momentum on draft boards. After performing well at the Senior Bowl and combine, Cousins once again looked terrific throwing the ball today. His deep passes were on the money throughout the entire workout, and every throw had terrific velocity. NFL decision-makers on hand were amazed at the way Cousins handled himself today, saying the senior basically ran the workout, organizing his receivers in position drills and coming across as a real field general. His leadership stood out and this bodes well for Cousins, who also come across incredibly well during interviews. He seems like a second-round lock at this point.
Several receivers were beneficiaries of Cousins' fine work, including Keshawn Martin. The swift wideout stood on his combine marks, but caught everything thrown in his direction during position drills. He ran scissor-sharp routes and showed great timing catching the ball. Scouts were impressed the way Martin caught the deep ball.
Though he performed well today, B.J. Cunningham took a backseat to Martin. Cunningham caught all but two passes but looked slightly stiff running pass routes. There are more than a few who believe when all is said and done Martin will be selected before Cunningham in next month's draft.
Both Spartan juniors who entered this year's draft stood out. Word is Edwin Baker looked better than anyone during the physical tests, posting a 40 time in the high 4.3s. Baker's best time at the combine was 4.44 seconds. Jerel Worthy, who did not lift at the combine, completed 28 reps today and was another NFL hopeful from the Michigan State program who impressed future employers in position drills.
Two cornerbacks stood out in Maryland's workout, as both Cameron Chism and Trenton Hughes ran under 4.4 seconds. Unofficially, Hughes' best time clocked 4.38 seconds.
The Florida State workout was a bit of a snoozer compared to past events. Tackle Andrew Datko completed 20 reps on the bench press, normally not a good number for a 325-pound offensive tackle. But considering Datko missed most of the 2011 season with a shoulder injury, an ailment he's suffered with for almost a year, it was a notable performance.
The pro day workouts at Oklahoma and Marshall are complete, and two of the most feared pass-rushers in April's draft came away impressing scouts.
Marhall's Vinny Curry continued the momentum of the morning's brilliant workout with a first-class practice session. Curry ran through a battery of linebacker and defensive line drills for almost 45 minutes, a session in which one scout on hand referred to as "masterful." Looking athletic and explosive, coaches were impressed with the mental toughness and tenacity Curry showed throughout the workout. During linebacker drills, engineered by the Arizona Cardinals, Curry flowed well around the field, quickly changing direction without losing balance. The New Orleans Saints and Detroit Lions handled the defensive line drills and again, Curry was up to the task in every test. There was a feeling from teams departing the workout that Curry is now back in the conversation as a potential pick in the bottom half of round one.
In Oklahoma, Ronnell Lewis comes away with glowing reviews from his pro day workout. Lewis also worked linebacker and defensive line drills after running the 40. He looked incredibly athletic, quick and balanced during defensive line drills. He was surprisingly smooth when put through pass coverage exercises. Lewis was quick moving in reverse, effortlessly changed direction and got tremendous depth on pass drops. For a player who primarily made plays behind the line of scrimmage in college, Lewis showed surprising ball skills today. Expect his draft grade to move into the top half of round two after today.
Scouts came away with two more Sooner defenders today.
Frank Alexander also showed well in position drills. He displayed athleticism during linebacker and defensive line drills, easily moving about the field and quickly getting from point to point.
Cornerback Jamell Fleming sat on his combine numbers, but looked good in defensive back drills. He was smooth making the 180-degree transition from backpedaling to moving forwards. Fleming displayed a burst of speed and was fluid getting airborne to grab passes thrown his way.
The Wednesday pro day schedule is a busy one, with workouts taking place from coast to coast. Penn State, Florida State, Oklahoma and Cal are the big events to keep an eye on, with Michigan State and Maryland two additional pro days of keen interest.
The workout is well under way in Norman, Oklahoma and the early results have been good for Ronnell Lewis. The college pass-rush specialist, who projects to outside linebacker in the NFL, slightly improved his 40 time from the combine, posting 4.65 seconds. In Indianapolis, Lewis was credited with a electronic time of 4.72. His vertical jump of 32.5 inches represented an improvement of 1.5 inches.
Frank Alexander, a college defensive lineman who several teams project to outside linebacker, ran times between 4.75 and 4.79 seconds. He also touched 35 inches in the vertical jump. Those are both terrific marks for Alexander, who did not participate in any of the workouts at the combine.
Travis Lewis, who strained a hamstring during his combine workout, posted a 40 time of 4.76 seconds, .12 faster than his mark in Indianapolis.
The players are preparing to start position drills in the Sooners' training facility.
Marshall's pro day is also underway, and Vinny Curry has posted marks that were significantly better than his combine results.
In the 40, Curry has run several times under 4.7 seconds, with a fast time of 4.65 seconds. His best time at the combine was 4.87 seconds. Curry also completed 28 reps on the bench press and posted a vertical jump of 35.5 inches, the latter a 3.5-inch improvement from the combine.
Why was Curry so much better today? The word was nerves got the better of one of the draft's best pass-rushers at the combine. His running form led to poor times in the 40. Today's marks were more in line with the expectations of scouts. Curry is presently taking part in position drills.
NBA playoff preview: Portland Trail Blazers vs. Houston Rockets
NBA playoff preview: Charlotte Bobcats vs. Miami Heat