In scouting hundreds of players each year it is impossible not to develop a few favorites. These aren't necessarily the best athletes or the most productive players. For me, they are guys who play with supreme intensity, technique or durability.
Two of my favorites this year -- Miami offensive tackle Jason Fox and Arizona State linebacker Travis Goethel -- had nearly polar opposite results in highly anticipated Pro Day workouts Friday.
Fox, a 47 game starter for the Hurricanes, had a lot riding on his workout as he was unable to perform in any of the senior all-star games or the Combine due to undergoing a minor procedure on his left knee. He pulled his hamstring 3/4 of the way through his first attempt at the 40-yard dash. Though he tried to gut it out through positional drills, the injury was obviously bothering him, according to scouts in attendance. All 32 teams were represented at Miami's Pro Day.
While the inability to finish the workout is no doubt troubling for Fox (according to reports, he did not want to speak with reporters following the workout), teams that stay true to the mantra of focusing on film will know what this kid can do. He may not have the athleticism to warrant a first or perhaps even second round selection, but he's a reliable technician that can play the game -- whether at left tackle, or perhaps inside at left guard.
While Fox struggled, Goethel took advantage of the attention. Goethel, 6-3, 240 pounds, started 41 of 50 games over his career, but rarely got the attention he deserved with the Sun Devils, only gaining all-conference accolades as a senior (and it was honorable mention honors, at that).
I love the way this kid plays the game, however. Posssessing a combination of physicality and instincts, he is a classic special teams demon at worst and a potential surprise starter. I had reservations about his pure speed, but, according to a scout in attendance, Goethel impressed Friday with a pair of 4.60s in the 40-yard dash, a 4.54 time in the short shuttle and a 6.91 in the 3-cone -- all of which shaved about 3/10s of a second from his times recorded at the Combine. The scout was also sure to note that the performance was on grass, which is all the more impressive, as this surface generally is not as conducive to fast times as a track or turf.