Tag:Pro Day
Posted on: March 18, 2010 1:09 pm

Big Ten WRs steal from Tebow's thunder

Lost in all the attention heaped upon Tim Tebow's Pro Day were two eye-popping results by Big Ten wide receivers certain to improve their draft stock.

I'd listed Illinois' Arrelious Benn as a faller following the Combine after the 6-1, 219 pound wideout was slower (4.57) and sloppier as a route-runner and pass-catcher than expected.

Yesterday during his Pro Day, however, Benn was "pretty spectacular" according to sources on the scene. Scouts from two separate teams, each thought likely to invest a pick in the 2010 draft on a wideout, clocked the big receiver at 4.36 and 4.39, respectively. They also acknowledged that Benn's footwork in route-running drills was much more fluid and that he caught the ball very well.

Benn is viewed by most clubs as a second round pick.

Benn, however, wasn't the only Big Ten receiver to enjoy a eye-popping workout Wednesday.

Michigan State's Blair White, 6-2, 209 pounds, had already impressed scouts at the Combine with better athletic ability than most gave him credit. He spoke about this issue at the Combine.  "I think one of the main things I've heard is that a lot of people think I'm just a possession receiver at the next level," White said. "It's tough trying to overcome that stereotype, because I think I'm better than that and I disagree. But I just have to go out there and let my performing do the talking for me."

His performance did the talking Wednesday, as he was timed at 4.40 by one scout I spoke to. The scout mentioned "no surprises" among White's route-running and catching -- which is to say he was great. Route-running and sticky hands are two of White's best characteristics.
Posted on: March 17, 2010 12:00 pm

Haden steadies stock, Spikes' dropping at Pro Day

Florida cornerback needed to run in the 4.4s to steady his stock after a pair of disappointing times in the 40-yard dash at the Combine. As I reported earlier, according to scouts in attendance, Haden was successful, timing in the mid 4.4s for both of his attempts Wednesday.

The times are likely to cement Haden's status as the top cornerback in the draft and a certain first round pick.

On the opposite side of the spectrum is inside linebacker Brandon Spikes, who was clocked at 4.99 and 5.03. This time would have placed him ahead of only Kentucky inside linebacker Micah Johnson as the slowest LB tested at the Combine.

Though I like Spikes' ability as a run stuffer in the middle, I've questioned his sideline to sideline speed for quite some time.

Spikes didn't run at the Combine, but did compete in the vertical and broad jumps. Perhaps he shouldn't have. Spikes finished tied with Johnson for last in the vertical (29") and with the third worst total in the broad jump (9'3") among linebackers tested in Indianapolis. 

Spikes' slow, unathletic workouts could have a devastating effect on his draft stock. Currently rated by NFLDraftScout.com as a second round prospect, Spikes could in fact slip out of the second day of the draft.

Posted on: March 16, 2010 4:35 pm

Rutgers OT Anthony Davis will try again 3/30

Rutgers offensive tackle Anthony Davis, considered by some scouts to be this year's best all-around OL propsect, will be working out for scouts on campus March 30, according to an email sent by his agent to NFL teams.

The 6-5, 323 pound Davis elected to leave Rutgers after his junior season after being given a first round grade by the NFL Advisory Committee. While team's love his combination of size and agility, Davis has a history of letting his weight get the better of him. Concerns about his commitment were further flamed when Davis struggled in interviews and the workout session at the Combine.

Davis was expected to be the star of Rutgers Pro Day March 10, but was suffering from a hamstring injury and the stomach flu. He arrived at the Pro Day, spoke to some teams, but was told to go home after vomiting, according to a report from NFL.com's Jason La Canfora.

Davis is a better athlete than he appeared during drills at the Combine. While an offensive tackle's time in the 40-yard dash is not necessarily an indicator of his ability to block, scouts weren't pleased that Davis was timed at 5.44 seconds in the event. Only two players who weighed less than Davis were slower. Those two, Texas' Adam Ulatoski and North Carolina's Kyle Jolly are each currently rated as potential undrafted free agents by NFLDraftScout.com.

Posted on: March 12, 2010 8:00 pm

Rams top brass meet with Suh for 35 minutes

Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh spent only about 15 minutes working out at Nebraska's Pro Day Thursday, but is was the 35 minute sit down session he had with Rams' general manager Billy Devaney and head coach Steve Spagnuola that could have the greater impact on whether he is the first defensive tackle to be drafted first overall since Cincinnati selected Dan "Big Daddy" Wilkinson in 1994.

I certainly believe the Rams should take Suh with the first pick simply because I believe he is the best player in this draft. Quite frankly, I think he's the best player by a significant margin.

That said, I have recently changed my forecast of the first round to have the Rams taking Oklahoma's Sam Bradford simply because of the greater value teams place on quarterbacks.

More details on Suh and the Rams extensive checks on him can be found by reading Bryan Burwell's fine article for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch here.

Posted on: March 11, 2010 6:43 pm

Nation's leading rusher/Combine-snub wows scouts

The focus might have initially been on the Northwestern players at their Pro Day this morning, but the scouts representing an estimated 20 NFL teams instead got a show from the nation's leading rusher, Southern Illinois running back Deji Karim .

Karim rushed for 1,694 yards and 18 touchdowns this season for the Salukis and was noted as a player to watch after a solid showing at the Texas vs. Nation game.

Chad Reuter, who scouted the practices in person noted: Karim, however, looked powerful and quick as a runner and also a threat as a receiver on screens. He runs very low, making him hard to find and bring down.
Still, his production and solid showing at the TvN certainly didn't prepare scouts for the eye-popping workout he put forth Thursday.

Karim measured in at 5-8 3/4 and 209 pounds Thursday. He was timed by scouts in attendance at 4.38 seconds and posted a 43" vertical jump, a 10'3" broad jump and banged out 19 repetitions of 225 pounds.

Karim had been viewed as a late round or priority free agent prospect, but his spectacular results in the workout prove that his game-day prowess is no fluke. 

It is also important to note that several Salukis have gone on to enjoy NFL success -- the most recent big name being another running back with a very different style of running than the elusive Karim -- New York Giants' behemoth Brandon Jacobs.
I had referred to the Northwestern Pro Day in an earlier blog posting, but focused more on the Wildcats' players and Western Illinois cornerback Patrick Stoudamire, Jr, who, like Karim, wasn't invited to the Combine despite a sparkling collegiate career.

Stoudamire measured in at 5-10 1/4, 205 pounds. He looked fluid in positional drills and measured out well, turning in a 4.45 second dash in the 40, a 6.67 in the 3-cone, a 3.95 short shuttle and a 9'11 broad jump. Stoudamire also lifted the bar 11 times.

Posted on: March 11, 2010 1:21 pm
Edited on: March 11, 2010 1:27 pm

OLB Lawerence, WR Decker impress at Minn. Pro Day

NFL Draft enthusiasts should know all about Minnesota wide receiver Eric Decker by now. The 6-3, 217 pound Decker was a Biletnikof finalist in 2008 with 83 catches for 1,077 yards and 7 touchdowns. Despite being limited to only eight games due to Lisfranc sprain, he earned first team all-Big Ten honors for the second consecutive season as a senior.

The Lisfranc sprain kept Decker from working out for scouts at the Combine and also kept him from participating in the drills at Minnesota's Pro Day Wednesday. Decker will have follow-up surgery to have screws removed from his foot on Monday (March 15) and will be asked to go back to Indianapolis April 9 for a Combine "re-check."
Scouts know Decker can play. They want to make sure he's healthy, after repeated surgeries on his legs.

He did, however, help his cause in the bench press (19 reps) and was, as always, articulate in team and media interviews. I've been told that he had the year's highest score on the Wonderlic of all players tested at the Combine and I'm not at all surprised by this.

While Decker is certainly a known commodity, his former teammate, outside linebacker Simoni Lawrence is proving he's one to watch. I listed Lawrence as a player I thought might surprise at the Combine and he certainly did so -- ranking among the elite linebackers in the 40-yard dash (4.68), vertical (40") and broad jump (10'3").

Lawrence was even better Wednesday, clocking in at 4.56 seconds -- which would have been tied Florida State's Dekoda Watson with second fastest time recorded by any linebacker at the Combine.  Mississippi State's Jamar Chaney, a 242 pound inside linebacker, was timed at a staggering 4.52 seconds in Indianapolis.

Posted on: March 10, 2010 1:18 pm

Watch Rutgers Pro Day LIVE at 1:50 EST

With Alabama, Maryland, California, Cincinnati, Oklahoma State, Wisconsin, Washington and Minnesota among the schools hosting Pro Days today, Rutgers University is taking advantage of technology as a way to ensure that their prospects get the attention they deserve -- they're airing the entire Pro Day live on the web.

The Scarlet Knights certainly have the prospects worthy of checking out, not the least of which is junior offensive tackle Anthony Davis , who needs a strong performance today to steady his stock after a surprisingly disappointing performance in interviews and drills at the Combine.

His teammate, cornerback Devin McCourty , on the other hand, was one of the more impressive defensive backs in Indianapolis, but could secure a top 50 grade with another strong performance. Some believe he'll slip into the late first round.

WNBC-4 sports anchor and reporter Bruce Beck will host the three-hour broadcast on ScarletKnights.com. He'll be joined by a panel of four ex-Rutgers, current NFL players, headlined by Baltimore star running back Ray Rice. Guest appearances by head coach Greg Schiano and potentially some NFL decision-makers are also expected.

Kudos to Rutgers for celebrating their athletes and the advances made in technology to allow video of their Pro Day. The secrecy in which some teams hold their Pro Day workouts does not help the athletes nor the university.

The broadcast, which is slated to run for three hours, begins at 1:50 pm Eastern.

For those with the time to watch today's Pro Day, click this link.
Posted on: March 9, 2010 5:44 pm

Top prospects do little at OU Pro Day

There was a lot of hype surrounding the Oklahoma Pro Day -- enough that representatives from nearly every team showed up (including a handful of head coaches and front office executives. In fact, 31 of the NFL's 32 teams were present. Only the Raiders weren't represented.

As it turned out, however, most of them could have stayed home as the top prospects didn't do much of anything to alter their grades.

According to scouts I spoke to who attended the workout:

Quarterback Sam Bradford , as I reported yesterday, did not attend the Pro Day.

Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (6-4, 298) and tight end Jermaine Gresham (6-5, 259) were measured, but did not participate in any drills. Both measured in a few pounds different today than they had at the Combine (McCoy was 295, Gresham was 261, respectively). Offensive tackle Trent Williams also elected to stand on most of his Combine results, but did participate in the short shuttle (4.4) and 3-cone drill (7.4).

Gresham may have helped his cause with a "solid showing" in receiving and blocking drills.

Another potential first round pick -- cornerback Dominique Franks , a 5-11, 191 pound junior -- bettered his Combine time in the 40-yard from 4.52 seconds to times varying from 4.44-4.50, according to scouts in attendance.

The two players who may have helped themselves the most were players not invited to the Combine and thereby forced to take advantage of the high number of scouts attending.

Offensive guard Brian Simmons was not invited to the Combine, but perhaps should have been -- especially considering the relatively weak crop of talent at the position this year. Simmons measured in at 6-4 1/4, 315 pounds and ran the 40-yard dash between 5.19-5.26. He was timed at 4.75 in the short shuttle, 7.61 in the 3-cone and posted a 28" vertical jump and a 8-10" broad jump.

Nose guard DeMarcus Granger (6-1, 320) may have helped his cause by showing off his strength. He posted a Pro Day-high 32 reps of 225 pounds. 

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