With 28 evaluators from 23 NFL teams in attendance, quarterback Taylor Martinez, who wasn't invited to the NFL Combine, performed drills on Thursday at Nebraska's on-campus pro day. Considered a better athlete than polished passer, Martinez showed off his speed in drills and also some versatility by working out not only at quarterback, but also wide receiver and defensive back.
Recently recovered from a foot injury that ended his 2013 season, Martinez ran his 40-yard dash in the mid-4.4 range with some stopwatches as low as 4.41. He also recorded a 3.83 in the short shuttle, 39-inch vertical jump and 10-foot-9 broad jump, numbers that would have placed him tops among quarterbacks at the NFL Combine.
Martinez is currently ranked as NFLDraftScout.com's No. 33 quarterback in this draft class and is expected to be a priority free agent. His inconsistent mechanics, release point and overall feel as a passer leads most evaluators to believe if he is to have a NFL future, it will be at a different position.
“I felt pretty good doing receiver and safety,” Martinez told reporters after his workout. “Whoever wants me at whatever position, I'll go.”
But Martinez isn't giving up on his dream of playing quarterback in the NFL, working out with a passing coach in the months leading up to the 2014 NFL Draft. He hasn't played on the defensive side of the ball since high school and isn't training at other positions, but didn't shy from showing scouts in attendance that he can play wherever they see fit.
It wouldn't be the first time a Nebraska quarterback considered switching positions for the NFL. In the 2002 NFL Draft, Huskers Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Eric Crouch was drafted in the third round as a wide receiver and was even tried at safety before his NFL career ended.
Other results from Nebraska's pro day:
- After a 4.61 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste improved that number to 4.48 and 4.46 at Thursday's pro day, standing on his impressive Combine numbers in the vertical (41.5-inches) and broad jump (10-foot-7).
- Working back from a knee injury, OL Spencer Long did the bench press (28 reps) on Thursday, but is planning to hold his own pro day April 17 when fully healthy. Other bench press numbers from other Huskers offensive linemen: Cole Pensick (29), Andrew Rodriguez (24), Brent Qvale (24) and Jeremiah Sirles (21).