On a day when Baylor offensive tackle Jason Smith, a potential top 2 pick in the upcoming draft, worked out for scouts at the Baylor Pro Day, the buzz in scouting circles was not the athletic Smith nor any of the other Bears. The buzz was about Western Illinois outside linebacker Jason Williams, whose all-around workout was better than any outside linebacker tested at the NFL Combine -- including Wake Forest's Aaron Curry.
My fellow senior analyst Chad Reuter touted Western Illinois outside linebacker Jason Williams two months ago as among the best players at the East-West Shrine Game. Williams' play that week and the big play potential he showed as a senior (17 tackles for loss and 6 forced fumbles), however, weren't enough to land him an invitation to the NFL Combine.
Williams, who measured at the East-West Shrine Game at 6-1, 241 pounds, clocked in at 4.49 seconds in the 40-yard dash, posted a 39" vertical jump and lifted the bar 26 times. The forty time was recorded on a gymnasium floor, rather than a track, so scouts will likely add a tenth of a second to Williams' time, but the results were nonetheless impressive.
Williams could be the first player selected in the 2009 draft that was not invited to the Combine.
Williams wasn't the only legitimate NFL prospect working out. Leatherneck running back Herb Donaldson, who rushed for 1,784 yards and 21 touchdowns as a senior, ran a 4.56 in the 40-yard dash, and posted a 32" vertical, 10'2" broad jump and an eye-popping 28 reps. The 28 reps were more than lifted by any running back at the Combine.