The athletic testing done at the scouting combine and pro days are really about just two things for scouts: confirming the athleticism see on tape from prospects already deemed draftworthy and identifying athletes who may have flown underthe radar. With spectacular pro day workouts that rival (or beat) some of the bestput forth this year, two sleeper receiver prospects are creating a huge buzz inthe scouting community.
Tiny Huntingdon College (Alabama) is not exactly considered a hotbed for NFL talent so when wide receiver Cody Pearcy worked out for scouts a few weeks ago, he went to the Alabama State pro day. There, a handful of scouts (including at least one representative from the New York Giants and Miami Dolphins) watched the Huntingdon's career receptions leader put forth a workout that one scout, upon hearing of the numbers, characterized as an "unbelievable" effort.
Pearcy is certainly smaller than scouts would prefer at 5-feet-10, 161 pounds, but his numbers otherwise were off the charts. Pearcy was clocked as fast as 4.31 seconds in the 40-yard dash, posted a 44-inch vertical jump -- each of which would have led all combine participants this year. Pearcy also recorded a 6.67 time in the three-cone drill and 3.76 seconds in short shuttle -- the fastest time in recent NFL history, according to NFL.com's Combine Tracker. The fastest time recorded in this event at the combine since 2006 came when former University of Tennessee defensive back Jason Allen was clocked at 3.81 seconds. Allen, by the way, was drafted with the No. 16 overall pick by the Miami that year. He's now a member of the Cincinnati Bengals.
As his statistics prove, Pearcy is hardly just a track athlete. He had 46 receptions for 766 yards and eight touchdowns as a senior and finished as the program's career leader in receptions (147), receiving yards (2,632) and receiving touchdowns (25). He also holds the school-record for receiving yards in a game (233) and a season (1,078).
As if Pearcy's numbers weren't impressive enough, this week another startling workout was turned in by a lightly regarded receiver, which could force scouts to reevaluate their rankings.
South Dakota State wideout Dale Moss, 6-3 and 213 pounds, was clocked between 4.38-4.45 seconds in the 40-yard dash. He also posted a 41.5-inch vertical and a 10-10 broad jump, demonstrating exciting explosiveness. Perhaps most impressive was the burst and change of direction ability Moss showed during shuttle drills. Rarely are taller athletes capable of pivoting as fluidly as shorter athletes, but that is precisely what Moss did, clocking in at a stunning 6.32 seconds in the three-cone drill and 4.08 seconds in the short-shuttle.
Just as Pearcy's time in the short shuttle would have ranked as the best in recent NFL history (at least among those results taken at the combine), Moss' effort in the three-cone drill also would have led all 2012 combine participants and is faster than the numbers put forth last year by former Oregon wide receiver Jeff Maehl, who led all 2011 prospects with a 6.42 second time.
Moss is a particularly intriguing athlete because he only has one year of football experience. His first four years at SDSU were spent on the basketball team (he averaged 7.6 points and 5.4 rebounds in 2010-11) before he emerged as the Jackrabbits' leading receiver in 2011, catching 61 passes for 949 yards and six touchdowns.
Obviously scouts will have to do more homework on these two athletes to warrant using a draft pick on them. But considering the incredible upside each appears to possess, don't be surprised if both ultimately hear their names called on the draft's third day.