Pro Day Tracker (cont.)
The word from the Western Michigan pro day was promising for teams considering Jordan White, one of the best receivers in April's draft. The sturdy White ran almost one tenth of a second faster today than his time from Indianapolis, unofficially clocking a 4.59-second 40. It's an important mark for White, who looked outstanding in position drills, as the time will likely push him back into the late rounds of the draft.
Sacramento State drew an unusually heavy crowd for their pro day as nearly two dozen teams showed up, including five defensive line coaches. They were on hand primarily to watch Akiem Hicks, the former LSU recruit who played college football in Regina, Canada.
Hicks, who impressed a number of scouts during the Shrine Game, looked equally effective today. His marks of 27 reps on the bench, 33 inches in the vertical jump and 9 feet, 2 inches in the broad jump all represented improvements from his combine results. He later kept the momentum going in position drills on what was a rainy day.
Hicks is getting consideration from both 4-3 defenses around the league, who project him to tackle, as well as a number of 3-4 squads that like Hicks as a two-gap end.
Tuesday was another quiet day on the pro day schedule before the action starts to pick up on Wednesday.
In Toledo, there was a large turnout of scouts and offensive coaches on hand to watch junior receiver/return specialist Eric Page. The All-American did not disappoint, improving his 40 times from the combine by one-tenth of a second. While most of the watches clocked Page at 4.51 seconds, a few dipped as low as 4.48 seconds. During position drills Page ran sharp, crisp routes and caught NFL passes. He solidified himself as a fourth-round pick and may squeak into the draft's second day for a team that falls in love with his versatility.
Two under-the-radar prospects on the Toledo squad had impressive showings during the workout.
Slippery ball handler Adonis Thomas, who totaled 1071 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior while also adding 31 recpetions, looked fast and explosive. Thomas timed as low as 4.44 seconds in the 40 after posting marks of 19 reps on the bench press, 38 inches in the vertical jump and 10-4 in the broad. During position drills he looked quick and balanced in all the exercises.
Safety Desmond Marrow, who led the Rockets with 83 tackles, 3 interceptions and 15 pass defenses, displayed a lot of next-level skills during his workout. He ran in the low 4.5s on his 40 attempts and touched 35.5 inches in the vertical. Marrow is unlikely to be selected in the draft, but could very well latch onto a roster next season as a reserve safety/special teams player.
A large showing of scouts made their way to Division II program California University of Pennsylvania and turned their attention to a pair of offensive prospects.
Receiver Thomas Mayo, considered by many a potential late round choice, touched 41.5 inches on the vertical jump and ran 40 times that ranged between 4.55 to 4.48 seconds. He looked terrific in pass catching drills, running NFL style routes and snatching passes from the air. The feeling is Mayo, who was not graded by NFL scouts coming into the season, will make a roster as a fifth wideout in September.
Offensive guard Rishaw Johnson, who was at the combine, stood on his numbers from Indianapolis then looked solid during a brief stint of offensive line drills.
Almost 20 teams were on hand for Pittsburgh's pro day and they saw a good performance from Panther offensive lineman Lucas Nix, who's recovering from a bout of strep throat.
The big blocker stood on most of his numbers from the combine but also worked position drills for almost twenty minutes. He looked fluid, athletic and impressed scouts with his versatility. Nix, who lined up at both tackle and guard for Pittsburgh, is getting consideration for both of those positions as well as center by NFL teams.
Defensive tackle Myles Caragein completed 20 reps on the bench press and ran 5.05 seconds in the forty. The two-year starter on the Panther defensive line was later tried at multiple offensive line positions, at one point snapping the ball from center for scouts.
Cornerback Antwuan Reed improved his forty time from the combine, timing 4.48 seconds, then looked smooth in drills.
Fiery linebacker Max Gruder completed 26 reps on the bench press after measuring 6-foot, 1-inch and 236 pounds. He later timed 4.1 seconds and posted a mark of 32.5 inches in the vertical jump. Gruder projects as a back-up linebacker that can handle the inside or outside spot and scouts feel he will excel on special teams.
Nineteen teams were on hand in Tulsa as two prospects were the focus of attention.
Multipurpose skill player Damaris Johnson, who was suspended from the team in August after being charged with then eventually pleading guilty to felony embezzlement, performed well for scouts. The NCAA's career all-purpose yardage leader measured a small 5-feet, 7.6-inches and 178 pounds. His fastest forty time clocked at 4.48 seconds. Johnson participated in receiver drills in addition to showing his skills returning punts and kick. The diminutive ball handler is being projected as a slot reciever/return specialist by NFL teams.
Quarterback GJ Kinne looked better than expected. Kinne, whose been working with former NFL starters Chad Pennington and Scott Brunner since January, was sharp throwing the ball. Scouts questioned Kinne's arm strength and asked the signal caller to hurl the ball as far as he could. When they were finished measuring the ball sailed past the 80-yard mark, quelling any concerns about Kinne's arm.
The pro day schedule starts a bit light today, as we'll focus on Pittsburgh and Tulsa. Later this week scouts will be attending pro day workouts at Cal, Florida, Oklahoma, Penn State and Arizona State, to name a few.
Several performances that slipped through the cracks late last week are worthy of mention.
At Washington State, linebacker Alex Hoffman-Ellis may have worked himself into the late rounds with his performance Friday. He measured just over 6-0 and 233 pounds. His 40 time clocked at 4.54, seconds while he completed 36 reps on the bench and touched 36.5 inches in the vertical jump. He's a smart and tough football player who will do well on special teams while backing up at outside linebacker.
Syracuse senior cornerback Kevyn Scott consistently ran in the mid 4.3s in the 40 after measuring 5-10 and 201 pounds. Teams love Scott's athleticism and now its just a matter of making him a consistent football player.
Columbia offensive tackle Jeff Adams participated in the pro day at Northwestern and looked good. He measured 6-6, 308 pounds, ran a solid 40 time of 5.11 seconds and touched 34.5 inches in the vertical jump. Adams completed just 19 reps on the bench, a pedestrian number, but scouts feel he possesses the underlying ability to develop into a backup at a number of offensive line spots for an NFL team.
The festivities have ended in Stillwater, as the large crowds of NFL general managers, coaches and scouts who attended the Oklahoma State pro day are heading home.
By all accounts, receiver Justin Blackmon met or exceeded expectations. As reported earlier his 40 times, which will officially end up in the mid 4.4-second range (4.46), were faster than anyone thought possible. Despite reports the workout was run on a fast surface, OSU coaches told scouts and others it's the same field turf used during the season. Blackmon ran solid routes during position drills, something he did at the combine and a skill he's worked hard on in the run-up to the draft. He displayed his patented soft hands, consistently plucking the pass from the air away from his frame and catching the ball with proper fundamentals. Except for two drops it was a spotless day for Blackmon, who heads toward the draft as a top-four pick. Over the next six weeks many will speculate which team will select Blackmon. It is noteworthy that Leslie Frazier was on hand with a full complement of offensive coaches from the Minnesota Vikings, the franchise many project grabbing USC offensive tackle Matt Kalil with the third pick of the draft.
Scouts thought quarterback Brandon Weeden turned in a solid showing. There's no questioning his arm strength and, except for a few passes that had receivers adjusting vertically or backwards to grab the ball, Weeden was accurate throughout the workout. His ability to put deep passes on the money stood out to those in attendance. Several teams told Weeden he's "NFL ready" as he moves to the next phase of his football career.
Levy Adcock, who did not receive a combine invitation to the surprise of many, also proved he's next-level material. The big lineman looked terrific in bag drills and moved around the field with ease. As described by those at the workout, Adcock is more athletic than given credit for and can line up at any of three positions on the offensive line. The prevailing thought is Adcock will be selected at the start of the draft's final day.
Finally, Josh Cooper, who's still struggling with hamstring tightness, ran one 40 time which clocked as fast as 4.56. Despite his hurting leg Cooper took part in the position drills and ran terrific routes and caught everything thrown in his direction.
More than a dozen teams were on hand today for the Mississippi pro day and scouts say the star of the show was offensive tackle Bobbie Massie.
The junior lineman, who surprised many by entering the draft, stood on all of his combine numbers but participated in position drills and looked outstanding. One coach from Mississippi said Massie looked better today than at any point in his college career. That statement is not surprising considering the big tackle has been working with former All-Pro center LeCharles Bentley since December. Massie will be back on the Mississippi campus to privately work out for NFL teams during the week of March 18 and is now projected in the top half of round two.
Running back Brandon Bolden also performed well today. His 40 time, which clocked 4.46 seconds, was significantly better than his mark from the combine. Bolden displayed that speed later in the workout during position drills.
Defensive end Kentrell Lockett struggled through the workout. At one time highly rated by scouts prior to his knee injury from September 2010, he struggled to get under 5.0 seconds in the 40 and did not look like the "Lockett of old," as expressed by many on hand.
Defensive end Wayne Dorsey, an athletic prospect who missed most of the 2011 season with a broken arm, timed 4.86 in the 40.
The buzz at the Oklahoma State pro day is that Justin Blackmon has run much faster than most expected. Word from Stillwater is the big receiver timed quicker on his second 40, clocking under 4.45 seconds and as fast as 4.41 seconds on a number of watches.
A different receiver is lighting it up in South Florida. TY Hilton, who did not workout at the combine due to a leg injury, ran in the mid-4.3-second range this morning, his official time coming in around 4.36 seconds. Scouts say Hilton looked incredibly explosive in his 40 and during drills. Evidently the game-breaking receiver/return specialist dropped just a single pass during drills. He did pull up late in the workout and it looked to many that the strained hamstring which kept Hilton from participating in the Senior Bowl and combine may have flared up.
Early marks from the Oklahoma State pro day are starting to trickle in.
Justin Blackmon touched 35 inches in the vertical jump and posted a broad jump of 10-4. Thus far the unofficial times in the 40 have been promising. Word is Blackmon broke 4.5 seconds on a number of watches, with a few reading 4.45 seconds.
The much anticipated 40-yard sprint of receiver Justin Blackmon takes place today as the Oklahoma State pro day workout tops the schedule. Blackmon, who did not run at the combine due to a minor leg issue, is expected to participate in most of the workout today. The same holds true for his teammate Josh Cooper, a highly rated slot receiver/return specialist who was unable to run at the combine.
In Columbus, Ohio the Buckeyes are also working out for scouts. Receiver DeVier Posey will stand on his 40 time from the combine but participate in receiver drills. Thus far this morning offensive tackle Mike Adams has completed 21 reps on the bench.
Staying with offensive linemen in the state of Ohio, Brandon Brooks is drawing rave reviews from his workout yesterday. A dozen offensive line coaches made their way to the Miami, Ohio campus and put Brooks through a rigorous workout of offensive line drills which lasted 80 minutes. All but four of the coaches on hand worked Brooks hard in a variety of one-on-one blocking drills. The belief is Brooks, who was not invited to the combine, could land in the late part of round two.
A long day of pro day workouts finally came to an end with Wyoming and Washington on the west coast finishing their workouts.
A fast track in Seattle led to 40 times that were quicker than expected for Husky players.
Jermaine Kearse, who struggled as a senior and performed below expectations, ran exceptionally well. His 30, timed as fast as 4.43 seconds, was almost .15 seconds better than his run at the combine.
Likewise, running back Chris Polk dipped close to 4.45 seconds in the 40, more than one-tenth faster than his mark in Indianapolis. The prevailing thought from all was Polk looked smooth and solid in all the position work after his runs.
Defensive tackle Alameda Ta'amu completed position drills after posting a time of 7.2 seconds in the three-cone. He heads towards the draft as a second-round pick and likely the second nose tackle to be selected.
In Wyoming, underclassman Alvester Alexander posted a 40 time in the mid-4.4s after measuring 5-11 and 206 pounds. It was a solid mark for the little known running back, who totaled 695 yards rushing last season.
Multi-purpose defensive back Tashaun Gipson, who lined up at both cornerback and safety for the Cowboys, displayed a good degree of athleticism. Gipson completed 23 reps on the bench, touched 37 inches in the vertical and timed 4.54 seconds in the 40.
Some final notes from earlier in the day include a pair of solid performances from the Northwestern pro day.
Jeremy Ebert led the Wildcats offense with 75 receptions for 1,060 yards and 11 touchdowns. Today he led them at the pro day as the 5-10 1/2, 200-pound receiver clocked as fast as 4.37 seconds in the 40. He also finished with 16 reps on the bench, more than admirable for a wideout. Ebert will most assuredly now receive consideration in the late rounds of the draft.
Northwestern's top defensive back prospect also performed well. Brian Peters, who picked off five passes last season and accumulated 92 tackles, posted a best 40 time of 4.60 seconds after measuring 6-3 and 215 pounds. He's a classic strong safety who plays with a special teams mentality.
Lastly, remember the name of Colorado receiver Toney Clemons.
The transfer from Michigan has been considered an under-the-radar prospect and late bloomer. Today after measuring 6-2 and 210 pounds, Clemons was credited with a best time of 4.41 seconds. He's been moderately productive, posting 43 receptions each of the last two seasons, though his marks in 2011 included eight touchdowns and a per-catch average of 15.8 yards. Unlikely to be selected at any point during the seven rounds, Clemons is one of those prospects who seemingly comes from nowhere to have a productive NFL career.
In Coral Gables, Florida a number of former Miami Hurricanes impressed scouts with athletic workouts.
Receiver Aldarius Johnson, who was suspended for the 2011 campaign due to off-field infractions, and Laron Byrd, a highly rated senior wideout who put up pedestrian numbers last season, both sizzled on at their pro day.
Johnson measured just under 6-2 and weighed 208 pounds. His 40 times clocked in the low 4.4-second range, with a few watches reading 4.40. Byrd, who is slightly larger and was considered a potential third-round choice entering the season, ran a tad slower, timing 4.45 seconds. Both wideouts caught the ball well during workouts, showing the ability to easily adjust and catch the errant throw in stride.
Also impressing was underrated safety JoJo Nicolas. He measured 6-0, 196 pounds and ran a time of 4.56 in the 40. During drills, Nicolas showed impressive ball skills and the ability to cover large amounts of area in a short time. He performed much better than expected and set himself up as a potential late-round choice.
Defender Olivier Vernon ran under 4.7 seconds today, the time he hoped to clock at the combine. His weight was 262 pounds and afterward Vernon looked explosive and fast in linebacker drills.
Working out next to Vernon was Bethune-Cookman sackmaster Ryan Davis, who looked equally impressive. The small-school prospect, who finished the season with 12 sacks and 21.5 tackles for loss from his defensive end position, measured 6-2 1/2 and 259 pounds. His vertical jump was a respectable 35 inches, with a 40 time just over 4.8-seconds. Davis looked much faster in linebacker drills and displayed athleticism moving in open space.
Most of Miami's top prospects, including running back Lamar Miller, receiver Tommy Streeter and linebacker Sean Spence stood on most of their combine numbers.
In Boulder, Colorado offensive lineman Ryan Miller shrugged off a disappointing season and received positive reviews for his pro day effort. The big lineman concentrated on position drills and was thoroughly tested by the Indianapolis Colts. He displayed terrific power and hand punch, and moved better than many expected. Miller was highly considered after his sophomore season, but never truly improved his game. He could be a sleeper in the late rounds.
Rodney Stewart, who led the Colorado offense in both rushing and receiving last season, also impressed during the Buffalo's workout. The small skill player measured just 5-6 1/2 and 179 pounds but performed big, completing 21 reps on the bench press, touching 36 inches in the vertical jump and posting a broad jump of 10-4. His best 40 time clocked in at 4.53 seconds, and Stewart timed 6.72 seconds in the three-cone run. He's a slippery skill player who creates his own yardage and does not back down to a challenge. Stewart projects as a Leon Washington-type of player in the NFL.
At the Mississippi State pro day, several of the Bulldogs who participated at the combine were able to improve their 40 time, but the story remains Fletcher Cox.
The athletic defensive lineman stood on his impressive combine numbers, but looked outstanding in drills. Today's display, coupled with his ability to line up at three different spots on the defensive line, could push Cox into the top 10 of the first round.
Running back Vick Ballard and safety Charles Mitchell, who both ran 4.64 seconds in Indianapolis, timed in the mid 4.5s today. Ballard also improved his time in the three-cone, clocking 6.90 seconds compared to 7.04 at the combine.
Offensive tackle James Carmon turned a few heads today. He measured a massive 6-6 and 330 pounds, timed 5.24 seconds in the forty and 4.17 seconds in the short shuttle and completed 22 reps on the bench. Carmon came to Mississippi State as a defensive lineman from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and totaled eight tackles while blocking a kick in 2010. He moved to the offensive line as a senior and held down the left tackle position for the Bulldogs all last year. Scouts feel his upside is enormous and fully expect Carmon to make an NFL roster in one form or another this coming season.
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