Pro Day Tracker (cont.)
Tight end Dwayne Allen stood out in position drills and caught the ball extremely well from former Tiger quarterback Willy Korn, who delivered passes all day. Allen looked fluid and smooth moving about the field. Many were surprised Allen did not try to improve his 40 time of 4.89 seconds from the combine, but he told people after the workout, "I'm not a 40 guy," and said he has no plans to run again prior to the draft.
Andre Branch also looked solid in position drills. The college defensive end was put through a battery of linebacker drills by the New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan, and for the most part looked solid. Though Branch was overthinking at times, the scouts on hand were impressed with his athleticism and movement skills. He's locked himself up as someone who will go in the top half of the second round.
Cornerback Coty Sensabaugh also drew positive reviews for his positional work. The senior stood on his combine 40 time of 4.42 seconds but looked smooth and crisp in defensive back drills.
Two offensive linemen also looked solid. Landon Walker, who was not invited to the combine, ran 5.30 seconds in the 40 after completing 32 reps on the bench. He and teammate Antoine McClain showed terrific power in drills and the ability to quickly move their feet.
Scouts had mixed feelings on the performance of defensive tackle Brandon Thompson. The big lineman ran a 40 time near 5.10 seconds, but showed little balance and was slipping throughout his workout. Teams like his underlying athleticism and feel Thompson will contribute at the next level, but this was not the workout he needed to push himself into the late part of round one.
The pro day schedule for Thursday gets started quickly, as the Miami Hurricanes and Clemson Tigers are well into their workouts. But there are other workouts to keep on eye on as well. More than a dozen offensive line coaches from around the league will make their way to Miami, Ohio to watch offensive lineman Brandon Brooks today. Brooks, who turned in a tremendous athletic workout, will be put through offensive line drills this afternoon.
Clemson tight end Dwayne Allen, defensive end/outside linebacker Andre Branch and cornerback Coty Sensabaugh all chose to stand on their 40 times from the combine and will participate in position drills.
Late word from yesterday had some very fast times at the Louisville pro day, starting with receiver Josh Bellamy, who timed in the low 4.4-second range and ran as fast as 4.38 seconds on a few watches. Bellamy, who was well thought of coming into the 2011 season before struggling with injuries throughout his senior year, also posted marks of 37 inches in the vertical and 10-5 in the broad jump.
Underrated linebacker Dexter Heyman, who led the Cardinals in tackles (90) and tackles for loss (16), ran in the 4.76 range, faster than many expected. The 6-foot-3, 238-pound defender also posted a vertical jump of 35 inches.
Tight end/wide receiver Josh Chichester ran times as fast as 4.57 seconds and touched 38 inches in the vertical after measuring 6-8 and 245 pounds. Finally, defensive end Greg Scruggs, who played in just nine games last season then was arrested in December for a DUI, ran in the mid 4.6s at 280 pounds. Always considered a tremendous athlete, Scruggs has never translated his natural physical gifts into full-time football production.
After years of a carnival like atmosphere for the USC pro day, an event that was used as a tool to recruit top high school prospects under former coach Pete Carroll, today's workout could be described as nondescript at best.
The Trojans top players in April's draft, offensive tackle Matt Kalil and defensive end Nick Perry, both sat on their outstanding combine numbers and took part in a few position drills. They both looked solid in their limited participation. Most on hand said Kalil and Perry both looked and played the part of first-round picks.
Defensive tackle DaJohn Harris, who was not allowed to workout at the combine after doctors discovered a small hole in his heart, a condition known as patent foramen ovale or PFO, did participate in the pro day. Weighing just over 300 pounds Harris ran 40 times between 4.96-5.05 seconds.
Running back Marc Tyler ran his 40 in the mid-4.7's, slightly better than his combine result. The conditions were tough for the players, who ran into a strong headwind during the 40.
FBS program Eastern Washington had about a half dozen scouts on hand for its pro day.
Safety Matt Johnson, who missed most of the season's second half with a torn biceps tendon, put on a show for scouts. The hard hitting run defender measured just over 6-feet and 211 pounds. His fastest 40 time clocked 4.54 seconds and Johnson's other marks included a vertical jump of 38.5 inches and 18 reps on the bench.
Defensive tackle Renard Williams, highly rated coming into the season, measured 6-feet, 1/2-inch and 302 pounds. His marks included 23-reps on the bench press, 32-inches on the vertical jump and a fast 40 time of 5.20 seconds.
Record-setting quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell was unable to throw as the facility where the workout was held was not conducive to a passing workout. Mitchell will participate in the SMU pro day later this month.
The Wisconsin pro day is complete and the star of the workout was guard Kevin Zeitler, who looked tremendous in position drills. The dominant run blocker showed terrific power in bag drills and easily moved about the field during motion drills. After his workout those in attendance used words such as "outstanding" and "beastly" to describe Zeitler, whose swiftly rising up boards. The Badger senior has locked himself up as a top-45 choice and there's a feeling he could slide into the late part of Round 1.
Quarterback Russell Wilson threw the ball well during a scripted workout. His down field passes were on the money and Wilson displayed solid arm strength on all his throws. This did not come as a surprise to scouts as they expected Wilson to do well in an open space workout with no defenders trying to knock him around.
Peter Konz looked solid in limited action snapping the ball. There's a feeling in the scouting community the all-Big Ten center and his 6-foot, 5-inch frame can lineup at guard or right tackle as well as center.
Safety Aaron Henry was slightly disappointing posting times in the low 4.6-second area in the 40-yard dash and did not look prepared for the workout. Offensive tackle Josh Oglesby, who clocked in at 5.81 seconds during the combine, looked very sluggish during the workout.
One small school player that turned heads during Wisconsin's pro day was Beloit receiver Derek Carrier. The three sport athlete (Carrier also played basketball and ran track in college) ran under 4.5-seconds after measuring 6-foot-3 and 240 pounds. His other marks included a 40-inch vertical jump, 10-foot, 2-inch broad jump and 6.69 seconds during the three cone run. The three cone time was topped by just one receiver at the combine.
Carrier is more than just a good athlete as the Division III wide out caught 75 passes for 1,100 yards and 12 touchdowns last season. He left teams scrambling after the workout and received more than two dozen requests for game film from scouts and NFL team officials on hand.
There was another small-school prospect that impressed NFL teams today.
Nine franchises made their way to Hamilton, N.Y. to watch running back Nate Eachus workout during the Colgate pro day. The four-year starter whose amassed 4,485 rushing yards and 53 touchdowns, posted a best time of 4.56 seconds in the 40 after measuring 5-foot-10 and 214 pounds. His other marks included a vertical jump of 37.5 inches as well as 24 reps on the bench.
After position drills Eachus sat privately and met with a pair of NFL teams for two hours.
The pro day at Alabama and Texas A&M is over, while the Badgers of Wisconsin just began their workout. Here are a few results thus far.
In Tuscaloosa, Don'ta Hightower stood on his 40 time from the combine, but did improve one inch in the vertical jump, touching 33 inches. During drills, Hightower showed some stiffness changing direction and was not quick in coverage drills. His backpedal looked mechanical and forced, while Hightower showed little in the way of being able to burst out of his plant. He's a big, forceful linebacker with solid straight line speed, but Hightower did nothing today to dispel the belief he's a two-down defender.
Hightower's performance was in stark contrast to Jerrell Harris, a linebacker often overlooked due to the star power playing around him.
Harris measured 6-2 1/2 and 241 pounds. He cracked 4.6 seconds on a number of stopwatches and tapped 35 inches on the vertical jump. During drills, Harris looked quick, athletic and fast. He easily changed direction and showed lateral speed in coverage drills. With his size and speed, Harris can line up at a number of outside linebacker positions in the NFL.
Another unheralded Tide player impressed scouts today, tight end Brad Smelley. The senior looked terrific catching the ball, running solid routes and snatching passes cleanly from the air. Smelley lacks classic size for the tight end position, but could easily make the transition to H-back or a move tight end in the NFL.
Receiver Darius Hanks struggled to crack 4.7 seconds in the 40, but ran solid routes, caught the ball well in drills and practiced faster than his 40 time. He still has a chance to squeeze into the late rounds of the draft.
In College Station it was a different receiver drawing rave reviews.
Texas A&M senior Jeff Fuller, who did not workout at the combine, tested well in front of scouts today. The 224-pound wideout clocked under 4.55 seconds on a number of watches, reportedly running a best time of 4.53 seconds. He posted a vertical jump of 36 inches and broad jump of 10-feet, 3-inches. Fuller looked solid in pass-catching drills and looked comfortable running routes. He will work out again for scouts, as Fuller will participate in Ryan Tannehill's pro day on March 29.
Cornerback Terrence Frederick shaved almost one-tenth of a second from his combine time, clocking 4.45 seconds in the 40.
From Madison, Wisconsin comes word that most of the Badgers who participated in the combine will not run the 40 today, except receiver Nick Toon. Early results show the dependable pass-catcher slightly improving from his performance in Indianapolis (4.54 seconds), running times ranging between 4.48 and 4.52 seconds.
Today's pro day schedule includes Alabama, Texas A&M, Wisconsin and USC, but don't expect any breaking news from these workouts, as the top prospects are not expected to participate.
Crimson Tide stars Trent Richardson, Mark Barron and Courtney Upshaw are bypassing today's workout and will perform for scouts on March 29. That's the same day Texas A&M signal caller Ryan Tannehill, who has been recovering from a broken bone in his foot, will also be throwing for NFL teams.
USC tackle Matt Kalil and defensive prospect Nick Perry are expected to stand on their combine workouts, where both prospects performed brilliantly.
In Wisconsin, top rated center Peter Konz will not work out as he continues to recover from the ankle he dislocated last November, an injury further irritated during the Rose Bowl. Konz will do some snapping to quarterback Russell Wilson.
Some final results from Illinois pro day yesterday include a terrific performance from linebacker Ian Thomas. The speedy defender ran 4.67 seconds in the 40 after tipping the scales at 232 pounds. His other marks included an impressive 32 reps on the bench, a 37-inch vertical jump and a fine session of linebacker drills. Thomas is a potential late-round pick by a 4-3 defense that needs a weak side linebacker.
Several NFL hopefuls on the West Coast battled cold, windy weather and saw their pro-day workouts go late into the afternoon.
The UCLA pro day was attended by all 32 teams and featured a number of seniors hoping to redeem themselves after failing to meet expectations in 2011. Most of the Bruins who took part in the workout impressed scouts.
The story of the day was receiver Nelson Rosario who was graded as a late-round pick entering the year. Rosario measured 6 feet, 5 1/2 inches, 230 pounds then ran 40 times of 4.55 into a stiff headwind. His other marks included a vertical jump of 36.5 inches and a broad jump of 10 feet, 1 inch. All were outstanding results for Rosario, who caught the ball well during drills. Scouts were impressed the way the big pass-catcher was able to quickly get into pass routes and stay on balance exiting breaks. There's a feeling Rosario could add weight to his frame and eventually develop into a field-stretching tight end.
Safety Tony Dye, graded as a mid-round choice coming into the season only to struggle with several injuries, also turned in a solid performance. Dye was credited with an official 40 time of 4.56 seconds, posted 4.15 seconds in the short shuttle and 7.02 in the three cone. He also touched 36.5 inches in the vertical jump. These numbers were competitive with many of the safeties at the combine. He later looked smooth and quick in position drills.
Former Vanderbilt cornerback Jamie Graham, who transferred to UCLA only to miss most of the season with injury, also turned heads with a good workout. Ditto for Josh Smith, the receiver/return specialist transfer from Colorado who was forced to play in the secondary last season after injuries started to mount for the Bruins. Both looked camp worthy and should be signed soon after the draft ends.
At Cal-Lutheran, nearly a half dozen teams withstood bad weather to watch cornerback Justin Haulcy-Bateman workout. The small-school sleeper did not disappoint, running 4.49 seconds in the 40 and 6.7 seconds in the shuttle. His other marks included 15 reps on the bench and 37 inches in the vertical jump. Haulcy-Bateman will have a second workout March 26.
Another small-school prospect stood out Tuesday. Jeremy Caldwell, a top FBS cornerback and return specialist, timed in the low 4.4s, clocked 4.1 seconds in the short shuttle and touched 35 inches in the vertical jump. Caldwell could get looks in the final round for a team that needs both a dime back and kick returner.
The Illinois pro day is complete and, while most of the top name prospects stood on their combine numbers, there were some standout performances.
Fast-rising Whitney Mercilus posted a time of 7.03 in the three-cone, which bettered his mark from the combine by almost .15 seconds. The number would've also placed Mercilus, who lined up at defensive end last season, in the top half of the linebackers who participated in the three-cone test at the combine. His short shuttle run of 4.49 seconds was also an improvement from his combine number last week. Afterward, Mercilus ran through position drills at both defensive line and linebacker. The game-impacting junior has likely secured a spot for himself in the bottom half of the first round.
Receiver AJ Jenkins also blistered in the three-cone and short shuttle, posting times in the low 3.8 second area and 6.7 second area respectively. His short shuttle time was faster than any run by a receiver at the combine, while only two wideouts bested the three-cone mark.
Jason Ford, the Fighting Illini's second-leading rusher last season, tipped the scale near 250 pounds and posted 40 times in the low-to-mid 4.6-second range, and turned in a vertical jump of 35 inches. Both are terrific marks and Ford later stood out in pass-catching drills. The college running back is getting long looks as a west coast fullback by NFL teams.
Offensive lineman John Cornell, overlooked in scouting circles due to the quality talent around him, also fared well. He completed 32 reps on the bench press, then cracked 5.10 seconds in the 40 on a number of watches. The 40 time is important, as this tells scouts Cornell has the athleticism many did not think he possessed.
SI Now: Mack Brown denies reports of decision to stepping down
SI Now: Who will get the most 2nd place votes for the Heisman trophy?