Category:NFL Draft
Posted on: March 6, 2012 11:41 pm
 

Greg Childs lights up track at Arkansas Pro Day

On a day full of interesting results from Pro Days scattered across the country (from UCLA to Illinois to Georgia Tech), it was the workout in Fayetteville, Arkansas that had scouts buzzing Tuesday night. 

That's because Arkansas wideout Greg Childs stole the spotlight demonstrating much greater explosiveness in measureable and positional drills from what he showed les than two weeks ago at the Scouting Combine. In doing so Childs helped to prove that perhaps he's regained the explosiveness that made him a star in the SEC before partially injuring the patella tendon in his right knee in 2010 and reinjuring the knee last year.

The 6-3, 212 pound Childs had enjoyed a quietly solid workout at the Combine (where he weighed in seven pounds heavier), including running the 40-yard at 4.55 seconds and posting a 36.5" vertical jump. On Tuesday, Childs was clocked at 4.41 seconds in the 40-yard dash and also improved his vertical jump significantly, posting a 41.5" vertical that would have tied Stanford's Chris Owusu for third among all receivers tested in Indianapolis this year.

"It was just mainly showing everybody that I was healthy again; showing everybody I was 100 percent," Childs told reporters following the workout. "I came out here and I had some scouts tell me, 'You look 100 percent. You look as explosive as ever.'"
   
The league source I spoke to Tuesday night couldn't have agreed more. 

"He looked like he was back," a high-ranking official from an NFC team told me. "Honestly, he looked better than he did before. I wouldn't have estimated him as a 4.40 guy based off of tape so this was great workout for him. There was a bit of a buzz about [Childs' workout] as we left."

Childs had looked like a future high round pick early in his career at Arkansas. He led the Razorbacks in catches, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns as a sophomore and junior and appeared destined for All-SEC honors in 2010 before suffering the injury. Though he reportedly didn't actually tear the patella, Childs did undergo surgery. Many expected that he'd miss the 2011 season but Childs returned in the spring and surprised the Arkansas staff and media when he elected to practice without so much as a knee brace. Unfortunately, while his heart was willing, Childs looked like a shadow of himself as a senior. He caught just 21 passes for 240 yards in 2011 and did not score a touchdown. 

Childs also helped himself during positional drills. He caught passes cleanly from his former teammate (and current New England Patriot) Ryan Mallett, as did his receiver mates Joe Adams and Jarius Wright. After running well at the Combine (4.42), Wright elected not to run again Tuesday. Adams did run again, but was unable to improve upon the surprisingly disappointing 4.55 time he registered in Indianapolis, clocking in at exactly the same time Tuesday. The scout noted that Adams weighed in at 188 pounds Tuesday, which is nine pounds heavier than he weighed at the Combine.

All three Arkansas receivers are currently viewed as likely Day Three picks by NFLDraftScout.com.

While Arkansas' trio of receivers garnered most of the attention Tuesday, pass rusher Jake Bequette also made news. Bequette informed scouts that he'd injured his pectoral muscle at the Combine and elected not to participate in measureable drills Tuesday. The 6-5, 274 pound defensive end did participate in linebacker drills, however, at the request of scouts from 3-4 teams.  Bequette posted solid numbers in drills at the Combine but wasn't able to perform in the bench press drill there, either. He told scouts that he'll be scheduling a workout in which he'll do the bench press prior to the draft.  

Finally, two SEC standouts I was surprised wasn't invited to the Combine showed that perhaps they should have been with strong workouts, Tuesday. Safety Tramain Thomas measured in a shade under 6-0 (5-11 7/8) and 200 pounds. He was clocked at 4.51 seconds in the 40-yard dash and posted a 38.5" vertical jump. Inside linebacker Jerry Franklin (6-1, 242 pounds) Franklin was not invited to the Combine but was clocked at 4.60 seconds in the 40-yard dash, a 6.90 second time in the three-cone drill and a 37.5" vertical jump.
Posted on: March 6, 2012 8:44 pm
Edited on: March 6, 2012 8:49 pm
 

Parents banned from UCLA's Pro Day

When UCLA closed its lightly-anticipated Pro Day, it wasn't just to fans and the media. The Bruins didn't even allow parents into Tuesday's workout, according to the L.A. Times.

"They're saying we can't watch for this reason or that reason," Harold Edison, father of Bruins defensive tackle Justin Edison, told the paper. "This is a big day for my son and they are not going to let me watch?"

Edison was told by employees of the UCLA football program that he couldn't even be in the parking structure, and that campus police would be called if parents refused to leave "and it escalates."

UCLA closed the Pro Day under the auspice of limiting "distractions."

Mark Dye, father of safety Tony Dye, was told the closed workout was so the Pro Day would be like "a job interview."

"I think this is all unnecessary," Mark Dye told the Times. "If they have a legitimate reason for keeping parents out, I haven't heard it yet."

It's a strange tactic from a program that might not have a single player drafted next month and doesn't need negative media attention as new coach Jim Mora attempts to rebuild the program. Tight end Corey Harkey is the best prospect, rated 12th in a weak position group and 235th overall by NFLDraftScout.com. Harkey also had one of the worst all-around workouts at the Scouting Combine last month.

One would think the downtrodden Bruins program would encourage a "come one, come all" approach in an effort to build some support around its athletes and hopefully get a few drafted in the late rounds or at least into some NFL training camps. 

Dye is the 18th-rated strong safety prospect and 409th overall, while Sean Westgate is the 42nd-rated outside linebacker in this class by NFLDraftScout.com.

Although Harold Edison said there was some "buzz" around his son after the NFLPA all-star game, he is not currently among NFLDraftScout.com's top 750 prospects. Other former Bruins participating in the Pro Day were Nate Chandler, Derrick Coleman, Taylor Embree, Jamie Graham, Mike Harris, Glenn Love, Kai Maiava, Nelson Rosario and Josh Smith, along with 2011 alum Christian Ramirez and 2007 alum Rodney Van, according to UCLABruins.com.

 

 

Category: NFL Draft
Posted on: March 6, 2012 8:28 pm
Edited on: March 6, 2012 8:30 pm
 

Auburn's Pro Day lacks sizzle minus stars

With no Cam Newton, no Nick Fairley and just three prospects among NFLDraftScout.com's top 500 rated players for the 2012 draft, Auburn's Pro Day lacked anything close to the sizzle it provided in 2011.

Nine Tigers and North Alabama running back Wes Holland worked out in front of NFL Scouts.

Brandon Mosley, NFLDraftScout.com's No. 9-rated offensive tackle, was primarily a spectator while choosing to stand on his results from the Scouting Combine. He posted a 5.21-second 40-yard dash, benched 225 pounds 30 times, had a 27-inch vertical, a 103-inch broad jump, a 7.43-second three-cone drill and a 4.78-second short shuttle in Indianapolis.

Long snapper Josh Harris stands a decent chance to get drafted, but managed only 16 bench reps at 225 pounds, although he did post an 11-foot, 5-inch broad jump, according to AL.com.

Free safety Neiko Thorpe enjoyed a strong workout, highlighted by an 11-5 broad jump and a 38-inch vertical. That type of athleticism could help him sneak into the late rounds or at least become a priority free agent.

Other former Tigers who took part in the workout included quarterback Barrett Trotter, linebacker Eltoro Freeman (28 bench reps, 11-5 broad jump) and running back Eric Smith, who was dismissed from the team before last season but was allowed to come back for the school's Pro Day.

Posted on: March 6, 2012 5:49 pm
Edited on: March 6, 2012 5:56 pm
 

Mercilus a big draw at Illinois' Pro Day

Illinois defensive end Whitney Mercilus became the first top prospect to participate in agility tests during the Pro Day season, running an impressive 4.38-second short shuttle and a 7.03-second three-cone drill, according to NFL.com.
  
One of 18 prospects to work out in front of representatives from all 32 NFL teams for Tuesday's indoor workout on field turf, Mercilus is trying to prove he can transition to edge rusher in a 3-4 scheme if asked. Rated as the No. 3 defensive end prospect and No. 26 overall by NFLDraftScout.com, Mercilus measured in at 6-3 7/8, 258 pounds.
  
Offensive tackle Jeff Allen, a rising prospect looking to crack the top three rounds, stood on his workout numbers from the Scouting Combine, although he did run a 4.78 short shuttle and 7.57 three-cone drill.
  
A.J. Jenkins is the 18th-rated wide receiver by NFLDraftScout.com. He ran a 4.06 short shuttle and a 6.73 three-cone drill.
  
Cornerback Tavon Wilson is a fringe draft prospect who ran 4.5 and 4.55-second 40-yard dashes to go along with a 32-inch vertical jump, 10"4' brad jump, 4.16 short shuttle, 7.04 three-cone drill and bench pressed 225 pounds 17 times.
  
But there was no doubt the scouts were on hand primarily to take in Mercilus' workout. He's one of the first-round's biggest enigmas. After two mediocre season's at Illinois, he busted out as the nation's top defensive end with 16 sacks, nine forced fumbles and a whopping 22.5 tackles for loss.
  
"I just have a knack for it," he said at the Combine, where he ran a 4.68 40, fourth-best among defensive linemen in attendance. "Throughout the game I was able to watch the quarterback's movements and just see him open up and then I just go in there and just knock it away."
 
He also benched 225 pounds 27 times, had a 32-inch vertical jump, a 118-inch broad jump, a 7.17 three-cone drill and a 4.53 in the short shuttle in Indianapolis.
   
Scouts gush a list of positives traits, including quickness, agility, strength, instincts, condition, attitude ... and he is just beginning to mature and could be a great outside linebacker. Reaching for comparisons, they mention names like Simeon Rice, Dwight Freeney, Richard Dent, and even the great Reggie White.
  
The U.S. born son of parents who emigrated from Haiti in the 1980s, Mercilus played mostly soccer until high school. His 2011 season had an auspicious beginning when lost the tip of his left index finger last spring in a weight-room accident. Teammates were shocked when he light-heartedly dismissed the injury as only a bother when he played the keyboard or tried to pick up coins.

 

Posted on: March 6, 2012 5:24 pm
 

Richardson to skip Alabama's Pro Day

ATLANTA - Tailback Trent Richardson, the consensus top-rated running back and the No. 6 overall prospect by NFLDraftScout.com, will not participate in drills at Alabama's Pro Day on Wednesday, agent Jimmy Sexton confirmed to The Sports Xchange.
  
It was believed by most that Richardson, who underwent minor knee surgery in the offseason and was unable to work at the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, would not be fully rehabilitated from the knee surgery in time for the campus workout. Some scouts, however, held out hope that Richardson might be ready for the audition.
  
That will not be the case, though, and Richardson will work out for scouts in about three weeks, Sexton said.
  
"He just started running full speed this week (at the API facility in Phoenix), and he's close to be ready, but it's not quite there yet," Sexton said. "People should have plenty of time to see him and get a good read."
  
Also skipping the Alabama Pro Day, which will still feature several top prospects, and is expected to attract representatives from all 32 franchises, will be safety Mark Barron, the top-rated player at his position by NFLDraftScout.com. Barron recently underwent double hernia surgery, and was also unable to participate in the on-field drills at the Combine. Like Richardson, Barron is expected to be able to get on the field closer to the end of this month.
  
The inability to work out so far has not affected the projected draft statuses of either of the Crimson Tide stars.
  
It is believed that Richardson, 20, injured his left knee in the practices preceding the national championship game. Renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews, who performed the procedure on Richardson's knee, has characterized the operation as minor and assessed the back should experience no long-term problems. Richardson's rehabilitation has progressed as scheduled, and he appears to be on target for the late-month workout.
  
A Heisman Trophy finalist, Richardson is projected as a top 10 selection in April, perhaps even a top five choice, despite the fact running backs have been devalued a bit in recent years in the draft. In three seasons at Alabama, he rushed for 3,130 yards and 35 touchdowns on 540 carries. In 2011, Richardson registered 283 rushes for 1,679 yards and 21 touchdowns.
  
At the Combine, Richardson measured 5-feet-9 1/4, 228 pounds.
  
Barron, 22, was 6-1, 213 pounds in Indianapolis. There is some disagreement among scouts about whether his best position is at free or strong safety. But with teams increasingly deploying the safety spots interchangeably, there doesn't appear to be much dispute that Barron is the top safety prospect.
  
He recorded 149 tackles, 12 interceptions and 34 passes defensed in his four years with Alabama.

--Len Pasquarelli, NFLDraftScout.com/The Sports Xchange.

Posted on: March 6, 2012 3:13 pm
Edited on: March 6, 2012 3:15 pm
 

Hill shows off route-running Ga. Tech's Pro Day

ATLANTA -- Wide receiver Stephen Hill wanted to leave a specific impression with the NFL coaches who flocked to Georgia Tech's pro day.
  
"I just want to show them, because those are the guys who will be drafting me, that I can do great things other than just running deep routes," said the 6-4, 215-pounder, one of the stars of the NFL Combine, where he posted an unofficial 4.36 time in the 40-yard dash.
  
Mission accomplished. With two head coaches -- Atlanta's Mike Smith and Lovie Smith of the Bears -- and most NFL teams in attendance, Hill did his part to continue nudging his draft stock upward.
  
Running a variety of short and intermediate routes, Hill got in and out of his breaks fast and caught all 12 passes, including a fingertip-grab off the turf, form quarterback Eric Ward in Tuesday's workout. Vikings wide receiver coach George Stewart ran the receiver drills and ordered Hill through the route tree.
  
His eye-catching gold and silver Nike Vapor cleats only added to the spectacle. Scouts wanted to see something they didn't on film from Hill -- how he runs routes, if he repeats them with precision and how he tracks the ball over his shoulder and adjusts to poorly thrown passes. Hill was not a featured part of the run-first offense Tech operates.
  
Some scouts might be concerned with Hill's junior season, in which he dropped easily catchable balls but made the spectacular catches.
  
But scouts view him as a natural hands catcher. One observer credited him with five drops and 28 receptions last season.

Hill didn't run the 40-yard dash at pro day. He is 4.36 at the Combine tied for the fastest showing.
  
"I think I kind of showed enough," he said with a laugh when asked about not running at pro day.
  
Hill has been working out under the watchful eye of former Falcons wide receiver Terance Mathis
  
"Basically it's just route-running, getting in and out of breaks, making sure I catch the ball with my eyes," he said. "Of course with my hands, but mostly with my eyes."

Several Tech seniors try to impress
Pro day wasn't all about Hill.  Also working out were seven Tech seniors projected as undrafted free agents: RBs Roddy Jones and Embry Peeples, DE Jason Peters, LB Steven Sylvester, WR Tyler Melton, DT Logan Walls and CB Rashaad Reid.

According to scouts, Peeples ran a 4.50, followed by Jones (4.53), Reid (4.56), Sylvester (4.75) and Peters (4.83).

Peters benched 225 pounds 28 times. Walls did 24 reps, followed by Sylvester (23), Melton (16), Jones (14), Peeples (14) and Reid (11 3/4).

Melton dropped his first pass but redeemed himself with a twisting, leaping grab.

Tech coach Paul Johnson said Jones and Peeples are "probably third-down backs, slot receivers. Clearly they've done some of that, catching the ball in space. It just depends on how teams see them.

"You hope they all get a chance, they all get into camp and see what happens."

 

 

Posted on: March 5, 2012 9:38 pm
Edited on: March 6, 2012 2:42 pm
 

CB Jackson, DT Meatoga impress at Hawaii Pro Day

More than a dozen former Warriors participated in Hawaii's Pro Day workout watched by personnel from 26 NFL teams in Carson, Calif. on Monday. The school moved its annual workout to California in recent years to make it easier for more scouts to attend.

Ironically enough, arguably the the top-rated prospect at the event wasn't even a member of the Hawaii football team.

Cal-Poly cornerback Asa Jackson was allowed to participate and rewarded scouts with his performance. Jackson, who fully participated in the Scouting Combine, shaved five hundredths of a second off of his 40-yard dash (4.44) from the time he posted in Indianapolis (4.49) and added three inches to his vertical jump (34.5"-37.5"). Jackson is currently rated as the No. 25 cornerback in the 2012 draft by NFLDraftScout.com. He is amongst a strong group of so-called second and third tier prospects that make up arguably the deepest position in the draft.

Of Hawaii's players, defensive tackle Vaughn Meatoga was not surprisingly the most impressive prospect. The 6-1, 299-pounder is the 22nd-rated defensive tackle in the 2012 class. He was invited to the Scouting Combine, and stood by those numbers, largely sitting out Monday's agility drills. He did participate in the vertical jump (31") and broad jump (9'2") Monday. He lifted the 225-pound bench press 27 times in Indianapolis, ran a 5.00-second 40-yard dash and was fifth among all defensive linemen with a 4.21-second short shuttle.

According to a source close to Meatoga, two NFL defensive line coaches (Kansas City, Cincinnati) came to the workout to specifically see Meatoga. Meatoga dined Sunday evening with the Kansas City coach.

Another fringe draftable prospect is outside linebacker Corey Paredes, who ran an impressive 4.55-second 40, according to the school's website.

Wide receiver Royce Pollard ran a 4.57 in the 40, while offensive lineman Brett Leonard lifted the 225-pound bench press 25 times.

Hawaii had three players drafted last year and has had at least one in 10 of the past 12 years.

Posted on: March 5, 2012 9:13 pm
 

UAB's McCants stands on Combine workout

Thirteen former Blazer players joined prospects from other area schools at UAB's pro day Monday.
  
Offensive tackle Matt McCants, the only participant on hand who was invited to the Scouting Combine last month, stood on his Indianapolis numbers and did not go through the agility testing. He is the No. 8-rated offensive tackle prospect by NFLDraftScout.com and the 84th-rated prospect overall, projected to go in the third round.
  
Other former UAB players who attended the pro day included tight end Jeffery Anderson, cornerback T.J. Ballou, running back Justin Brooks, offensive lineman Greg Calhoun, offensive lineman Terence Edge, wide receiver Frantrell Forrest, defensive tackle Elliott Henigan, defensive lineman D.J. Reese, running back Pat Shed, offensive lineman Darion Smith, cornerback Terrell Springs and tight end Danny Volk.
  
Calhoun lifted the 225-pound bench press 30 times, while Springs posted a 34-inch vertical jump, a 4.26-second 20-yard shuttle and a 9-foot, 9-inch broad jump, according to the school's website.
  
Henigan, the 38th-rated defensive tackle and No. 520 overall prospect, is the only other Blazer rated among the top 750 by NFLDraftScout.com for the 2012 draft.
 
 
 
 
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