Posted on: March 27, 2009 8:28 pm

Houston OT Vollmer Draws Scouts to Pro Day

A large contingent of NFL scouts descended upon the Houston campus Friday to workout 13 former Cougars and other local prospects; most significantly OT Sebastian Vollmer.

Vollmer, 6-7, 312 pounds, was a bit of a late bloomer in terms of his football ability, but has progressed each season and has the natural tools scouts are looking for in a developmental prospect. My fellow senior analyst Chad Reuter acknowledged Vollmer's impressive play when scouting the East-West Shrine Game practices and further noted Vollmer as one of the 15 Best Prospects not invited to the Combine.Vollmer, who started at left tackle for the Cougars, was moved to the right tackle position in the Shrine Game and took to the position quickly, showcasing rare athleticism and surprising physicality.

On Friday, Vollmer showed that Chad was correct to notice him, stunning scouts with his combination of size and raw athleticism. One scout in attendance clocked Vollmer at 5.12 in the 40-yard dash and watched the former Cougar tackle post a staggering 37.5" vertical jump -- significantly better than any vertical jump recorded by an offensive tackle at the Combine.

The headlining talent at offensive tackle this season is likely to drop Vollmer lower than he'd be in a typical draft. However, come the mid portion of the second day, teams would be wise to consider him. He certainly has the size/speed combination to intrigue scouts and one can't help but be impressed by his ability to step up his performance at the Shrine Game and his Pro Day.

Posted on: March 26, 2009 8:39 pm

Nevada LB Mauga one to watch

A torn left pectoral muscle kept Nevada linebacker Josh Mauga from participating in the drills at the Combine, but his performance Wednesday in front of an estimated 20 league representatives has his stock on the move.

Mauga, who has seen starting action at both inside and outside linebacker while with the Wolfpack, is being projected by scouts as an inside linebacker in the 3-4 defense and is one of the few second day linebackers with the combination of size and athleticism to do it. Mauga's 40-yard dash times (4.58, 4.60, 4.62), 20-yard shuttle (4.28), and three-cone drill times (7.16) would have ranked among the best at the Combine, especially considering his size (6013, 246 pounds). Mauga looked especially good in positional drills. There were an estimated 20 teams represented. 

Mauga is currently NFLDraftScout.com's 12th rated inside linebacker and viewed as a 7th round to undrafted free agent. Considering his workout and recovery from the pectoral injury, however, some teams are projecting him at least a round earlier.

Category: NFL
Posted on: March 24, 2009 5:10 pm

Hakeem Nicks Gained 14 pounds in a month


 Hakeem Nicks measured in at a shade under 6-1, 212 pounds at the Combine, but weighed 14 pounds more last week at North Carolina's Pro Day.

As a guy who is known to pack on a pound or two, myself, adding an average of a pound every two days generally requires putting in some serious time at the buffet line.

Players in the past have spoken about how traveling through several private workouts in the two months between the Combine and the draft, itself, can wreak havoc on their bodies. Many of the players have found it difficult to find time to workout and eat with an eye towards nutrition when skipping across the country. With Nicks, however, that hasn't been the problem. The hamstring injury that kept him out of the many of the drills at the Combine, left him unable to workout as much as he'd like...

Considering the number of talented receivers fighting to make the first round, the rapid weight gain by Nicks will not go unnoticed by NFL scouts and could lead to a drop out of the top 32...



Category: NFL
Posted on: March 23, 2009 7:42 pm

Britt Impressive at Rutgers Pro Day


 Forty one representatives from 27 NFL teams were on hand at the Rutgers Pro Day Monday. As many as five different Scarlet Knights could be drafted one month from now, as head coach Greg Schiano and his staff have done a terrific job of building this program.

Like LSU and other top flight programs, Rutgers has taken the step of inviting media into workouts and releasing the results of the workouts online. You too can see the actual results in a PDF format by following the link provided below.

Junior wide receiver Kenny Britt was the headliner of the bunch, though all told, 11 members of last year's Rutgers' program worked out for scouts.

The 6-3, 210 pound Britt was clocked as fast a 4.40 in the 40-yard dash, though league representatives on hand reported that they clocked him at 4.46 seconds. Senior receiver Tiquan Underwood was even faster, timing between 4.36-4.41 according to the watches of scouts. Both receivers ran well in drills and caught the ball cleanly.

Two sleepers to keep an eye on for the second day of the draft (or perhaps even free agency) that helped their stock were linebacker Kevin Malast, who ran in the 4.6s at 236 pounds and quarterback Mike Teel. Teel didn't wow with his athleticism, but threw the ball well enough to encourage teams who were intrigued by his stellar play over the second half of the 2008 season. Neither Malast nor Teel were invited to the Combine, so their performances Monday were critical in earning consideration for the next level.

This is the link to the full results from the Rutgers Pro Day:  http://scarletknights.com/football/



Posted on: March 23, 2009 7:20 pm

Wake Forest Pro Day


 All 32 teams were represented at Monday's Pro Day, though the two Demon Deacon headliners -- LB Aaron Curry and CB Alphonso Smith -- chose to stand on their Combine performances and only did positional drills.

Curry electing not to workout wasn't a surprise, as he was arguably the most impressive athlete in Indianapolis. According to those in attendance, Curry was impressive, as expected, in linebacker drills.

Alphonso Smith, on the other, hand surprised some scouts who thought he'd try to prove faster than the pair of electronically timed 4.57s he ran at the Combine. Smith is an established ballhawk, who leaves Wake Forest as the ACC's career leader with 21 interceptions, but the combination of question speed and Smith's height (5-9 exactly) is likely to be enough to push him right out of the first round.

I'm still waiting from some of the scouts who attended the workout to fill me in the details of the other players that worked out Monday. While Curry and Smith are unquestionably the two highest rated players representing Wake Forest, there are several other sleeper candidates to keep an eye on, including inside linebacker Stanley Arnoux, safety Chip Vaughn and receiver DJ Boldin, whose older brother is Arizona standout, Anquan Boldin.

Though I hope to provide more details from the workout earlier, the most intimate details from the Pro Day will come in the next installment of the four-part series I'm writing detailing Aaron Curry's Road to the Draft. I will be interviewing Curry this week on his Pro Day experience and what he is looking forward to the most with his several upcoming private workouts.


You can read Part One and Two by copying and pasting the following URLs into your browser.

Part One (Curry's training and preparation for the Combine) here: http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/

Part Two (Curry's post-combine thoughts and prep for the Pro Day) here: http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/

Posted on: March 21, 2009 4:12 pm

Barden impressive, but Jarron Gilbert more so...


 Cal Poly wideout Ramses Barden is getting most of the media attention due to another solid peformance, but the word among scouts is that Spartans' defensive lineman Jarron Gilbert was the most impressive player at the San Jose State-Cal Poly-etc. Pro Day that occurred Friday.

Twenty seven teams were represented at the workout, including head coaches Rex Ryan of the New York Jets and John Fox of the Carolina Panthers.

Gilbert was the most impressive of the bunch, turning in a 4.76 40-yard dash at 6-5, 284 pounds. He also improved upon his already impressive Combine performances in the broad jump (10'7"), vertical (37"), short shuttle (4.40) and 3-cone (7.59).

Typically, the collegiate coaches or scouts will put the players through the workouts. This workout was different, however, as Ryan took over the DL drills and worked Gilbert especially hard. Gilbert would seem to be a perfect fit in the Jets' 3-4 scheme at defensive end. The Jets will have plenty of competition in landing Gilbert's services, however, as he's lined up several private workouts already, including: Detroit, Dallas, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, San Diego, and Atlanta. 

Cal Poly wideout Ramses Barden was impressive, generating interest from several teams later in the workout. Fox seemed quite interested. The 6-6, 227 pound receiver looked fluid in drills and was timed in the 4.50-4.56 range in the 40-yard dash.

Watch out for San Jose State cornerbacks Coye Francies and Christopher Owens, two players I've mentioned repeatedly in Rang's Gang and Diamond in the Rough articles. Francies again was disappointing in the 40-yard dash, running in the 4.59-4.65 range, though it was obvious to those in attendance that he was gutting it out with a sprained ankle or other lower leg injury. He has good agility, however, and not only showed on film that he can play, but was among the more impressive corners at the Senior Bowl.

Christopher Owens, on the other hand, looked great in drills. Fellow senior analyst Chad Reuter pointed out that Owens looked good in a previous writeup from the Texas vs. Nation game and he also helped himself at the Combine, but Friday, Owens (5-10, 177) was even better, clocking in at a 4.40 and showcasing better explosiveness out of his broad jump (10') and vertical (35").

Posted on: March 21, 2009 3:53 pm

Colts only team at Nate Davis' Pro Day

I've been pretty vocal in my opinion about Ball State junior quarterback Nate Davis. I believe he is among the best deep-ball passers of this draft and a legitimate starter candidate if he is given time to sit on the bench and develop in a more pro-style offense.

Apparently, however, NFL scouts are starting to question Davis' ability, as only one team -- the Indianapolis Colts -- were represented at Davis' Pro Day Friday.Perhaps teams were comfortable enough with the fact that Davis threw -- and, in my opinion at least, threw well -- at the Combine already.

Davis, for what it is worth, again threw the ball well, completing 61 of the 70 passes he threw in a workout orchestrated by former NFL quarterback, turned QB guru Steve DeBerg. Not surprisingly, Davis was at his best throwing deep passes. Of the 9 incompletions, 5 were drops by his receivers.

There are certainly concerns with Davis. His lack of height and well-publicized learning disability are chief among them. I generally believe the Wonderlic is an overrated component of grading prospects, but at quarterback, it is important. Should Davis have scored poorly on the test (as is rumored), I can understand why he might be dropping. I was not particularly impressed by Davis during the interview process at the Combine and do not anticipate that teams were either.

However, considering the lack of talent among this year's quarterback class and the lengthy careers of past quarterbacks whose greatest asset was the long ball (Jeff Blake, anyone?) Davis remains a quality mid-round prospect with significant upside.

The film doesn't lie. Davis can play.




Posted on: March 21, 2009 1:56 am

Cornerback DJ Moore Better at WR?


 An estimated 20 teams attended the Vanderbilt Pro Day with the hope that cornerback D.J. Moore, who left after his junior season would improve upon his disappointing Combine time of 4.59 and 4.60 seconds (electronically timed). Unfortunately, he only ran slightly faster Friday at the Vanderbilt Pro Day, registering 4.55-4.61 -- and that was with a breeze behind him.

The 5'09, 197 pound Moore has eye-popping athleticism and was considered by many to be the top cornerback in the SEC. The questions about his straightline speed have led to quite a few scouts to wonder if the quick and secure-handed Moore could make the transition to receiver. Moore had 12 interceptions over the past two seasons at Vanderbilt and has rare hand-eye coordination for a cornerback, turning 13 of his 18 career passes defended into turnovers. Moore also proved to be one of the nation's best punt returners while at Vanderbilt, averaging 14.35 yards on 17 returns.Unlike many of the top-ranked returners, Moore's success is not a typical all-or-nothing returner. His average in 2008 is due to the fact that he consistently made the first defender miss and squirted his way through for 10+ yards consistently, rather than breaking one 90 yard touchdown, but averaging 5 yards per return otherwise.

Also, he is no stranger to the receiver position, having manned the spot several times over his career with the Commodores.

Don't let Moore's poor times in the 40-yard dash fool you, he's a talented athlete well worth Top 50 consideration -- it just may not be at the position he typically started at while with the Commodores.

Category: NFL
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com