The four Illinois prospects expected to be drafted in April -- defensive tackle Akeem Spence, defensive end Michael Buchanan, cornerback Terry Hawthorne and offensive guard Hugh Thornton -- elected not to participate in most of the measured drills during Thursday's Pro Day, leaving scouts grumbling.
Fortunately, another former Fighting Illini prospect stepped up to make the trip worthwhile for talent evaluators.
The big winner on the day was versatile defensive lineman Glenn Foster, who showed surprising explosiveness with a 39-5 vertical jump, 10-foot-9-inch broad jump and 29 repetitions of 225 pounds. The 6-3 (5/8), 286-pound defender also was twice clocked at 4.80 seconds in the 40-yard dash, according to a league source on the scene.
Foster was also impressive during the positional workout, prompting the source to question if his burst wouldn't have been better displayed at defensive end rather than the defensive tackle position he manned throughout much of his career in Champaign. Foster posted 31 tackles in 2012, including 5.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. He'd started 11 of 13 games a year earlier, recording 32 tackles, four of which were behind the line of scrimmage. Foster, who entered the workout barely a blip on the radar, might have earned himself a late round selection with his performance.
Spence, the top-rated prospect on NFLDraftScout.com's board from Illinois, fared well in his positional workout, as well, the source said. Spence also shaved more than one-tenth of a second off of his 4.72-second short-shuttle he'd been credited with at the combine, coming in at 4.60 seconds.
Hawthorne competed in the short shuttle (4.20) and three-cone drill (4.83) after not participating in these events at the combine.
The source estimated that there were 40 scouts and coaches at the workout with 20-25 clubs represented.
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