NFL Teams look to Austin Pro Day for defensive help


Texas’ pro day is under way and it didn’t take me long to figure out the Pittsburgh Steelers’ top draft needs.

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The Super Bowl team sent its head coach, GM, and entire defensive staff to take a look at defensive backs Aaron Williams, Curtis Brown and Chykie Brown, as well as pass-rusher Sam Acho. They aren’t alone.

Among the 53 coaches, scouts and personnel men here, all 32 teams are represented. The contingent includes two head coaches, Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin and Detroit’s Jim Schwartz, and about 30 assistant coaches, which tells me their team’s scouts gave the Texas players high grades and they are here to verify the reports and poke around some more.

Others here include Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, Cowboys director of scouting Tom Ciskowski, Jets defensive backs coach Dennis Thurman, and Broncos scout Cornell Green (a basketball player from Utah State I signed as an undrafted free agent in 1962).

Also on hand to help out with drills are six former Longhorns from the NFL  — Chiefs LB Derrick Johnson, Falcons OT Justin Blalock, Redskins DE Brian Orakpo, Titans DB Michael Griffin and Raiders defenders Lamarr Houston and Michael Huff.

Here are the early results from the drills and measurement portion of the workout:

Acho (6-1 ¾, 259 pounds) stood on everything at the combine.

Chykie Brown (5-11 5/8, 191) ran 4.40 and 4.37 seconds in the 40, had a 39-inch vertical, and stood on everything else from the combine.

Curtis Brown (5-11 5/8, 183) ran 4.40 in the 40.

G Mike Huey (6-4, 304) ran 5.16 and 5.18 40s, to go with a 33 ½-inch vertical and 9-5 broad.

Williams (6-0 1/8, 201) ran 4.44 in the 40.

TE Greg Smith (6-4 1/8, 245) ran 4.78 and 4.83 40s and had a 39-inch vertical.