LSU's Claiborne, Brockers, Randle improve on 40 times
Cornerback Morris Claiborne and defensive lineman Michael Brockers improved on their 40-yard dash times at LSU's pro day Thursday, and wide receiver Rueben Randle hopes to join them in the first round of next month's NFL Draft following a strong pro day workout.
By Shea Dixon
NFLDraftScout.com/The Sports Xchange
BATON ROUGE, La. -- Cornerback Morris Claiborne is following a similar path as Arizona Cardinal cornerback Patrick Peterson, who left LSU after his junior season and became the No. 5 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.
Claiborne (5-11, 190 pounds), the No. 4-rated overall prospect by NFLDraftScout.com, said he has heard whispers of being taken with one of the first five picks, but his only focus until Thursday's pro day was on building up the perfect resume.
"I figure that I put the work in on the field, I had a good season, I did good in Indy (at the Scouting Combine) and here at the pro day, so it's not in my hands anymore," Claiborne said. "I have to just go by with what they need."
After a 4.5-second 40-yard dash in Indianapolis, Claiborne turned in a 4.39 and 4.44 on Thursday, which helps silence any questions about his straight-line speed. He also recorded a 9-foot, 9-inch broad and 35-inch vertical, but he did not participate in the bench press, shuttle or 3-cone drill.
"I ran a pretty good time in Indy, but it wasn't what I wanted to run," Claiborne said. "I came out here and proved to everybody that I could still run that 4.3."
With the No. 3 pick in the draft, Minnesota Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier was in Baton Rouge to visit with Claiborne, who could also potentially fly to Minnesota to meet with Frazier and Vikings personnel next month.
"We spoke, just saying hello after the workout was over with," Claiborne said. "I have quite a few (visits). I can't even remember them all. I know I start with the Bills on the 29th."
Claiborne also announced he will have wrist surgery Friday.
LSU redshirt sophomore Michael Brockers (6-5, 316) elected to come out of college after only two years on an SEC field, a decision that appears to have been the right one even after a lackluster showing at the Combine.
"(My stock) was rising a little bit before the Combine, then it was at a standstill because I didn't do too well at the combine, then coaches got to see me hands on and what I can do with my ability. I can only get better from now on."
He clocked a 5.36 40-yard dash in Indianapolis, but at six pounds lighter on Thursday Brockers turned in times of 5.15 and 5.19. He also recorded a 4.80 shuttle and 7.41 3-cone drill.
"I improved pretty much on everything from the Combine," Brockers said. "(Thursday) was a good day for me."
With the New York Jets holding the No. 16 pick in the first round, head coach Rex Ryan flew to Baton Rouge too see Brockers in person, adding more interest to a process that is beginning to become complicated.
"Hopefully I opened his eyes and showed him what I had," Brockers said. "Hopefully I can be a New York Jet a month from now.
"I just have a lot of visits coming up. There are so many teams. St. Louis, Cincinnati, New England, Tennessee, I'll be all over the place."
Hoping to shed more weight and reach 310 pounds by the draft, Brockers feels his versatility will continue to help push him up the board on day one.
"Whatever a team needs, I will play it," he said. "If it's a 3-technique or a 5-technique or a nose, I just want to contribute.
"I am hoping my ability to play the 3-4 and the 4-3 has me as a great value."
If LSU junior wide receiver Rueben Randle (6-3, 212) goes in the first round, consider LSU;s pro day the tipping point.
After he clocked a 4.55 40-yard dash in Indianapolis, Randle silenced critics with a 4.43 and 4.42 on Thursday. He also matched his broad (10'1") and vertical (31") jumps from the Combine.
"My focus was the 40 and running routes," Randle said. "The coaches gave me good feedback on what I did today, so I am pretty excited."
Randle said he has heard his stock puts him in the first or second round, meaning Thursday's effort in front of multiple NFL head coaches, including all the teams Randle has spoken with in recent weeks, could be enough to hear his name called on April 26, the opening night of the draft.
"I have talked to any team that needs a receiver," Randle said. "Hopefully I will land in a good team's hands.
"Guys continued to watch film on me, and (Thursday) I came out and did well. I think I solidified myself as a great receiver."
For a 6-3, 212-pound possession receiver who can stretch the field, shaving seconds off his 40-yard dash and keeping pace everywhere else is the best result Randle could ask for.
"I was just hoping to run fast, which I am hearing I did," Randle said. "I am pretty excited about that."
Brandon Taylor (5-11, 207) is quietly becoming one of the top defensive back options still anticipated to be available in the middle rounds of the draft.
A converted cornerback, Taylor finished his LSU career as a three-year starter at strong safety with 160 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, 15 pass breakups and four interceptions.
One month away from the draft, Taylor is listening to coaches and scouts closer than ever.
"They say sometimes I take bad angles, and that leads to missed tackles, but when I do take a great angle, I am always on point with the tackle," Taylor said. "They love the speed I play at, and I have great cover skills, and I am a great tackler, so I just have to keep coming out every day and working hard."
Taylor was considered a mid-round selection through much of the offseason, but his stock began to rise on Thursday after 16 reps at 225 pounds on the bench and improvements from the Combine on his shuttle (4.33) and 3-cone drill (7.05).
With three visits in a row already scheduled, it's fair to say coaches and scouts are also now listening to Taylor more than ever.
"I have four or five visits that I have to take," Taylor said. "Kansas City, Miami and New York Jets are in the next two weeks. It's looking really good."
Late breaking news has caused several players to slide down the Top 100 just before the 2017...
Drama is always a certainty when it comes to the unpredictability of the draft
The projected top-20 pick could fall out of the draft with teams having little time to gather...
Ross looks like the perfect replacement for Brandin Cooks in the Big Easy
The top three-technique prospect in the draft could see his name not called at all
A diluted drug test continues recent alarming off-field concerns for talented Alabama pros...