Updated on Mar. 19, 2007
Scouts would rather players work out at the Combine for many reasons, not the least of which is the hassle of crisscrossing the country to watch individual workouts. And in Indianapolis, everyone is on an even playing field, unlike the various track qualities and conditions scouts have to contend with at Pro Days.
Elite prospects at some of the more highly regarded positions worked out in front of scouts during various Pro Days last week. There were numerous workouts that deserve mentioning. Scouts flocked to Georgia Tech to see wide receiver Calvin Johnson, and while his workout was staggering, some of his former teammates didn't fare as well.
The stars are well represented in this week's Risers & Fallers, although not all of them are listed favorably.
|Risers & Fallers|
|1. JaMarcus Russell, QB, LSU: The pressure was on Russell to perform well at his March 14 Pro Day after electing not to workout at the Combine and Notre Dame's Brady Quinn shooting back up the board. In weighing in at 258 pounds -- seven pounds lighter than he did at the Combine -- Russell answered questions about his taking the process seriously and certainly put to bed any doubts about his throwing ability. Those in attendance gushed about Russell's physical tools and his composure in producing such a spectacular performance in front of more than 100 NFL personnel, including Oakland head coach Lane Kiffin. Whether Oakland retains the first overall pick and uses it on Russell remains a legitimate question, but clearly Russell cemented his status as one of the few true elite talents in this draft.|
|2. Darrelle Revis, CB, Pittsburgh: The one question scouts had about Revis was answered March 17 in precisely 4.38 seconds. Considered by many to be the closest thing to a true shutdown corner in the 2007 draft, scouts were concerned Revis may not have the deep speed to play in every NFL scheme. After a spectacular workout in front of dozens of scouts, however, Revis not only answered the speed question, he may have leapfrogged senior Leon Hall as this year's top cornerback prospect.|
|3. Joe Staley, OT, Central Michigan: Rarely are NFL scouts excited about the individual workouts put forth by offensive linemen, but in the case of Staley, the attention is well deserved. After weighing in at 304 pounds, Staley was clocked anywhere from a 4.79 to 4.82 in the 40-yard dash and was equally impressive in the shuttle (4.30) and three-cone drills (7.17). Each was the best time by any offensive lineman in the 2007 draft. Some are characterizing Staley's performance as the most impressive one ever done by an offensive lineman.|
|4. Dwayne Bowe, WR, LSU: Anyone who has seen Bowe play knows he's a talented receiver. He helped himself further with a strong performance at the Senior Bowl. In fact, he is almost universally viewed as the top senior receiver in the draft. After timing between 4.51-4.61 in the 40-yard dash at the Combine, however, scouts were concerned about the 6-2, 221-pounder's speed. Bowe emphatically silenced these concerns at his March 14 Pro Day by running a 4.49 and 4.40 at 218 pounds.|
|5. Kevin Boss, TE, Western Oregon: With only Miami, Florida's Greg Olsen and Arizona State's Zach Miller considered surefire first-day picks at tight end, the battle to be the third drafted from the position is a fierce one. One small school player to keep in mind is Boss. Whitworth's Michael Allan became somewhat of a media darling after posting eye-popping numbers as the only Division III player invited to the Combine. Scouts will tell you that Boss is a similar athlete and might be an even better football player, but a shoulder injury that limited his senior season to only six games has led to minimal exposure. Running in the low 4.7s and posting a 35.5-inch vertical jump after measuring in at nearly 6-7 and 258 pounds, however, has NFL teams certainly taking notice.|
|1. Jamaal Anderson, DE, Arkansas: Characterized by most as likely top 10 pick, Anderson's stock is slipping after a pedestrian Pro Day performance March 13. The 6-5, 284-pound Anderson, who signed with Arkansas as a wide receiver and led the SEC with 13.5 sacks in 2006, simply lacked the eye-popping numbers expected of such a highly regarded athlete. His 40-yard dashes were timed between 4.75 and 4.81 seconds, and questions about his upper body strength were not put to rest after only lifting the 225-pound bar 22 times. Scouts recognize Anderson's upside and are quick to point out that his workout wasn't a poor one, but there were hopes that he'd wow observers, and that simply did not happen.|
|2. Rufus Alexander, OLB, Oklahoma: At one point Alexander was considered among the elite linebackers in the draft -- and with good reason. The Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year was viewed as instinctive, productive and athletic. Slower than expected times at the Combine (4.79-4.84), however, were not improved upon much (4.69-4.73) at his March 13 Pro Day, leading some to speculate that Alexander is more likely to be drafted in the third round than the first.|
|3. KaMichael Hall, OLB, Georgia Tech: In a weak class at outside linebacker, Hall stands out on film due to his athleticism. However, after being timed at 4.77 in the 40-yard dash at the Combine, questions began to surface as to just how athletic the linebacker really is. Hall worked feverishly to improve his 40 time for his March 15 Pro Day. The hard worked paid off in terms of lowering Hall's 40 time (4.66, 4.68), but after weighing in at 228 pounds in Indianapolis, Hall came in at only 219 pounds on the 15th. Scouts questioned how Hall, considered undersized already at 6-0, 228, would fit in a pro defense at only 219 pounds and certainly not fast enough to be moved to safety.|
|4. Anthony Pudewell, TE, Nevada: One of the few tight ends considered a solid mid- to late-round prospect may have significantly lowered his chances of getting drafted at all with a disappointing workout at Nevada's March 14 Pro Day. Pudewell, 6-4, 252 pounds, was considered more of a blocking specialist due to his tenacity and aggression, but surprised scouts by only lifting 225 pounds 15 times at the Combine. His stock further slipped by failing to improve his Combine 40 time (5.07-5.14) much at his Pro Day (5.00-5.06).|
|5. Reggie Ball, WR/QB, Georgia Tech: A four-year starter at quarterback for Georgia Tech, Ball lacks the accuracy and size to remain at the position in the NFL, but was viewed as potentially athletic enough to switch to receiver. After looking less than comfortable catching passes at the Combine, Ball was timed in the mid-4.7s to mid-4.8s. Given nearly a month more to prepare for his Pro Day, the hope was that he might be able to improve considerably in these areas. While Ball's times (4.69, 4.67) were better, he is now viewed by most as a likely free agent.|
Rob Rang is a Senior Analyst for NFLDraftScout.com, distributed by The Sports Xchange.