Pro Days Wrapup-Who helped their stock, hurt it, still has questions?

Published on April 4, 2009 by     

nic-harrisSouthern Cal’s Pro Day on Wednesday essentially signaled the end to a whirlwind of nearly 200 workouts across the country since the NFL Scouting Combine in February. For some, pro days are a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to impress NFL scouts, for others it is a chance to answer questions that were raised in Indianapolis. Below is a list of players who have helped and hurt themselves the most since the combine — and players who still have some work to do before the draft April 25-26.
Who helped their stock

• Robert Ayers, DE/OLB, Tennessee: Ayers continued his ascension up draft boards with an impressive performance at the Tennessee Pro Day, working out as a defensive end and linebacker. His 7.07 time in the 3-cone drill — designed to show agility and quickness — was a huge improvement over the 7.56 time he ran in the same drill at the combine.

• Shonn Greene, RB, Iowa: The 5-feet-10, 227-pound Green will never be confused with a speed back, but he improved upon his combine times in the 40-yard dash (4.65) at his pro day, running in the mid 4.5s and showed his explosiveness with a 39-inch vertical and 10 feet, 6 inches broad jump. Some teams view Green as a solid second-round prospect.

• Michael Johnson, DE/OLB, Georgia Tech: Johnson was expected to work out well at the combine and did so, but was even better at his Pro Day. Measuring in at 6-7, 266 pounds, he was clocked in the low 4.6s, did 23 repetitions of 225 pounds on the bench press and looked very good in defensive line and linebacker drills, prompting talk that he could sneak into the first round.

• Aaron Maybin, DE/OLB, Penn State: Maybin raised some eyebrows in gaining 25 pounds between the end of the season and the combine and was particularly impressive in many of the drills there. At the same weight at his pro day, however, Maybin’s explosiveness was back. He was timed as fast as 4.64 seconds in the 40-yard dash and showed off his rare explosiveness with a 40-inch vertical and 10-10 broad jump.

• Brice McCain, CB, Utah: Despite earning all-conference honors the past three seasons, McCain was not invited to the combine. He was the talk of the Utah Pro Day, however, clocking in at 4.34 seconds in the 40-yard dash, more than a tenth of a second faster than any cornerback at the combine.

• Javon Ringer, RB, Michigan State: If Ringer’s All-American senior campaign didn’t garner him enough attention from scouts, his eye-popping times in the short-shuttle drill, which measures quickness and agility, certainly did. Ringer ran the short shuttle in 3.89 seconds, among the fastest times ever recorded and nearly a tenth of a second faster than any short-shuttle recorded at the combine.

• Mark Sanchez, QB, USC: Sanchez vastly improved upon his ho-hum combine performance at the USC Pro Day by throwing with improved velocity and accuracy to all levels of the field. A prominent member of the Detroit Lions staff characterized the workout as “outstanding,” and the consensus among scouts at the event was that Sanchez moved into the top 10 with the showing.

• Chris “Beanie” Wells, RB, Ohio State: The 6-1, 235-pound Wells answered any questions that were raised at the combine (4.59) about his straight-line speed in exactly 4.38 seconds. Though scouts still question his toughness and consistency, his blend of size and speed could lead to a selection in the top 10.

• Derrick Williams, WR, Penn State: Williams was one of the biggest disappointments of the combine, clocking in at 4.68 seconds in the 40-yard dash. At his Pro Day, however, Williams explained that all he needed was a little of mom’s chicken noodle soup in re-emerging as one of the more dynamic all-around weapons in the draft, timing in the mid 4.4s at 6-0, 198 pounds.

• Jason Williams, OLB, Western Illinois: Not invited to the combine, Williams impressed first at his own Pro Day, running in the low 4.5s and then was even faster when invited to the Northwestern Pro Day, clocking in at 4.44 and 4.49 seconds in the 40-yard dash at 238 pounds. Williams could be the first non-combine-invite drafted.

Who hurt their stock

• Coye Francies, CB, San Jose State: Francies was unable to take advantage of the positive exposure that resulted from his strong performance at the Senior Bowl in workouts, testing considerably slower than expected. Despite weighing in at only 181 pounds, the 6-foot Francies was timed between 4.59 and 4.62 seconds at his Pro Day.

• Jairus Byrd, CB, Oregon: Unable to work out at the combine due to a groin pull, the junior had only one opportunity to prove his speed to scouts, and disappointed with 4.68 and 4.69 times in the 40-yard dash at a workout April 2. The slow times could push Byrd into the middle rounds.

• Nic Harris, SS/OLB, Oklahoma: A safety while at Oklahoma, Harris was so slow at the combine that many teams began rating him as a potential linebacker. His times weren’t any better at his Pro Day.

• Tyson Jackson, DE, LSU: For a player considered to be the elite 3-4 defensive end prospect of the 2009 draft, Jackson was alarmingly weak in the bench press at the LSU Pro Day, only pushing the bar up 20 times at 225 pounds.

• LeSean McCoy, RB, Pittsburgh: Unable to work out at the combine due to a bout with the flu, McCoy was stunningly unimpressive at his Pro Day, registering a 29-inch vertical jump that was matched or exceeded by every running back tested in Indianapolis and nearly half of the offensive linemen.

• D.J. Moore, CB, Vanderbilt: After running a disappointing 4.56 at the combine, scouts expected Moore to significantly improve his time at his Pro Day. Unfortunately, the opposite occurred, with Moore clocking in at 4.57 and 4.59 seconds in the event, despite a 5-10 mph breeze behind him. Moore had been viewed as a potential first-round pick, but now is no guarantee to make the second round.

• Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia: Moreno might play like a top 10 pick, but poor showings at the combine and at his Pro Day could keep him out of the top 20. He was stunningly disappointing at the combine, running in the 4.6s and posting the lowest vertical jump of any running back tested (25 inches), according to NFL.com. Moreno elected not to jump at his Pro Day and again was clocked in the 4.6s, despite weighing in seven pounds lighter.

• Hakeem Nicks, WR, North Carolina: A hamstring injury suffered at the combine kept Nicks from working out for much of the time between his time in Indianapolis and his Pro Day, but scouts were nonetheless surprised by how out of shape he appeared at the North Carolina workout. Nicks had gained 14 pounds in less than a month, raising questions about his commitment.

• Rylan Reed, OT, Texas Tech: Reed, a standout tackle at Tech, might have suffered a catastrophic blow to his chances at the NFL by rupturing his patellar tendon while running the 40-yard dash during the Red Raiders’ Pro Day. The injury is expected to keep him out at least nine months and is especially harmful to Reed’s pro chances due to the fact that he is attempting to enter the league at 27 years old, after having spent time in the minor leagues as a pitcher.

• Alphonso Smith, CB, Wake Forest: Though he leaves Wake Forest as the ACC’s career leader in interceptions, the 5-9, 193-pound Smith did little in workouts to prove NFL quarterbacks shouldn’t challenge him, choosing to stick with his marginal 4.51 second 40-yard dash at the combine and only posting a 32-inch vertical jump at his Pro Day.

Who still has questions?

• Chase Coffman, TE, Missouri: Unable to work out at the combine or either of Missouri’s Pro Days due to a broken foot, scouts are beginning to have reservations about Coffman’s ability to heal quickly. A CAT scan taken at Missouri’s March 19 Pro Day graded his broken foot at about 80 percent healed, which means he might be unable to work out before the draft.

• Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech: The stress fracture in the fifth metatarsal of his left foot kept Crabtree from answering the biggest question scouts have about him: his speed. However, concerns about his speed should not keep him from sliding out of the top 10.

• Nate Davis, QB, Ball State: According to those in attendance at his Pro Day, Davis threw the ball quite well. Considering that only the Colts — the team with the shortest distance to travel — bothered to show up, however, do scouts really know how he performed?

• Cary Harris, CB, USC: Hamstring injuries suffered at both the combine and at the USC Pro Day robbed Harris of the opportunity to prove his speed to scouts. He tried valiantly at USC, attempting the 40-yard dash three times and hobbling through his final run essentially on one leg in 4.89 seconds.

• Malcolm Jenkins, CB, Ohio State: After posting only marginal times in the 40-yard dash at the combine (4.54), Jenkins was unable to solve the dilemma as to what pro position he fits best at with more marginal times in Columbus, registering 4.58 and 4.54 second times.

• James Laurinaitis, ILB, Ohio State: Like his former teammate Jenkins, Laurinaitis was unable to shed the questions scouts have about his overall athleticism with his Pro Day performance. Attempting to shed the comparisons to former Big Ten standouts Paul Posluszny, Dan Connor and A.J. Hawk, Laurinaitis’ 4.75 second 40-yard dash only reinforced them.

• Brian Orakpo, DE/OLB, Texas: Reviews were mixed of Orakpo’s pro day performance. Teams love his late burst and physicality, but some question if the bulked up Longhorn isn’t too stiff after watching him drop back during linebacker positional drills.

• Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Oklahoma State: A hamstring pull kept Pettigrew from the opportunity to improve upon his disappointing 4.83-second showing in the 40-yard dash at the combine. Pettigrew’s secure hands and rare blocking ability could keep him in the first round, but questions about his speed make it a possibility, not a lock.

• Andre Smith, OT, Alabama: Smith followed up his disappearing act at the combine by making the questionable decision to perform some of his drills at Alabama Pro Day shirtless. The odd behavior raised more questions in scouts’ minds after Smith left the combine early. He’s otherwise a top 10 caliber prospect.

• Pat White, QB/WR, West Virginia: Despite telling scouts previous to his workout that he would participate in wide receiver drills in addition to quarterback at his Pro Day, West Virginia coach Bill Stewart informed scouts in attendance that White would not be working out as a receiver. Teams considering him in this role will apparently have to work him out privately.

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