Senior wide receiver Nick Toon shaved more than a tenth of a second off of the 4.54 second time he had posted at the Scouting Combine, ran crisp routes and plucked the ball out of the air easily, highlighting what one veteran NFL scout called an "impressive group overall" at the Wisconsin Pro Day.
The 6-2, 215 pound Toon was clocked at 4.43 seconds Wednesday. The improved time is important as average straight-line speed is considered to be Toon's biggest shorting. He also improved upon his vertical jump (39") from the Combine (37.5) and registered a 10'10" broad jump, as well. Toon is currently rated by NFLDraftScout.com as a 3rd round prospect and the No. 100 player on our board, overall.
Toon was hardly the only Wisconsin standout to enjoy a strong day.
Quarterback Russell Wilson not only completed 59 of 63 passes, according to Tom Mulhern of the Wisconsin State Journal, he also improved on the one element that scouts question the most -- his height.
After being measured at 5-11 even at the Senior Bowl and Scouting Combine, Wilson inexplicably came in 3/8 of an inch taller at the Pro Day. Conspiracy theorists know this, pro scouts are the ones doing the measuring at each event.
Wilson, according to the scout, was poised throughout the workout and demonstrated "the same touch and arm strength we'd all seen on tape -- whether here [at Wisconsin] or before [at North Carolina State]."
“He’s a very impressive fellow,” Green Bay Packers' general manager Ted Thompson said of Wilson, “articulate, knowledgeable, confident, and he projects that confidence. He’s going to be a good get for somebody.” Wilson is currently rated as NFLDraftScout.com's No. 10 quarterback. His size is the biggest factor keeping outside of the top five at the position and thus a team willing to cater their offense around his ability to throw on the run could grade him significantly higher.
While the skill position players got most of the buzz, scouts believe the Wisconsin tradition of producing quality offensive linemen could be proven yet again with one or two Badger blockers the first players drafted from the school in 2012.
Offensive guard Kevin Zeitler was "efficient and powerful" during positional drills. Junior Peter Konz was unable to fully participate due to the fact that he's still recovering from the dislocated ankle that sidelined him for much of the second half of the regular season in 2011. He did do the snapping to Wilson in drills, however. Scouts like Konz's size and mobility enough that some view him as possible convert to guard or even right tackle in the NFL. More than a few scouts are concerned with a lack of ideal strength shown during the bench press drill at the Combine, where Konz lifted the bar "only" 18 times. Zeitler, by comparison, had 32 reps.
One relatively unheralded prospect that caught the scout's eye Wednesday was defensive lineman Louis Nzegwu. Nzegwu didn't take the step up as a senior some had expected after emerging in his junior season with 46 tackles, including 7.5 tackles for loss and three sacks. Though his sack total increased (4.5), Nzegwu's tackles (34) and tackles for loss (six) dropped and he wasn't invited to the Combine. Measuring in at 6-3, 254 pounds, he demonstrated "some wow athleticism" by being clocked at 4.57 seconds in the 40-yard dash and recording a 41.5" vertical jump. Nzegwu is currently rated as a free agent prospect by NFLDraftScout.com but his athleticism certainly warrants scouts taking a closer look.