NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock was at University of Connecticut’s pro day on Wednesday, where the Associated Press reports representatives from 21 teams, including Patriots coach Bill Belichick and Chargers GM A.J. Smith, were present for what was the team’s biggest pro day in school history.
Connecticut has never had a player taken in the first round of the draft. The highest UConn player drafted was three years ago when LB Albert Fincher went to New Orleans in the third round.
That looks to change this year’s draft, where as many as four Huskies could go in the first two rounds.
One of Connecticut’s most intriguing prospects is RB Donald Brown. The early-entry candidate, who led the nation with 2,086 rushing yards as a junior last season while averaging 5.7 yards per carry. Brown chose to rely on most of his numbers from the NFL Scouting Combine, but excelled in position drills at Wednesday’s workout, especially catching the ball.
“I just wanted to go out there and just be able show that I can do other things than run the football,” Brown said. “I ran a lot of different routes, and I caught the ball well.”
Brown did not run a 40-yard dash Wednesday, but was clocked at 4.51 seconds at the combine, the fifth-fastest 40 time at the event. He finished first in vertical jump (41.5 inches) and the 60-yard shuttle (11.30), third in broad jump (10-foot, 5-inches), fourth in the 20-yard shuttle (4.10) and ninth in the three-cone drill (6.93).
Brown said as many as 12 teams have shown interest in him, and he has visits set up with the Chargers, Bengals, Eagles and Jets.
Mayock has Brown rated as the second overall running back available in the draft, behind Georgia’s Knowshon Moreno. Fellow NFL Network analyst Charles Davis has him listed as the top overall running back at No. 10 in his top 20 prospects, and projects him as the No. 21 overall pick to the Eagles in his latest mock draft.
“I love this guy,” Davis said. “I love his production. I think he’s gotten better and better during his time at UConn.”
According to Mayock, CB Darius Butler ran a 4.38 in the 40-yard dash and looked fluid and quick in change of direction drills.
Davis said Butler’s performance Wednesday makes him a late first-round candidate.
“As we saw at the senior Bowl, (Butler’s) feet were magnificent and he had a terrific week,” Davis said. “Now what was going to be the follow-up? Well he ran even better today. Now he’s in the conversation with Malcolm Jenkins, he’s in the conversation with Vontae Davis, amongst the top corners and has really put himself in the conversation for the first round.”
Mayock said OT William Beatty appeared quick and fluid, noting, “He’s a good looking athlete for 6-foot-6, 307 pounds.”
Said Davis of Beatty: “I think he’s a guy who needs a little bit more time in the weight room…But I think with his feet and his athleticism, eventually we’re going to look at William Beatty as possibly a steal late in the first round.”
Other performances of note included:
DE/LB Cody Brown, who improved his 40 time from 4.8 to 4.6 indoors on Wednesday.
QB Tyler Lorenzen (6-5, 227 pounds) is not expected to be an NFL quarterback, but Mayock noted he ran well. Lorenzen worked out at wide receiver and defensive back.