On a day full of interesting results from Pro Days scattered across the country (from UCLA to Illinois to Georgia Tech), it was the workout in Fayetteville, Arkansas that had scouts buzzing Tuesday night.
That's because Arkansas wideout Greg Childs stole the spotlight demonstrating much greater explosiveness in measureable and positional drills from what he showed les than two weeks ago at the Scouting Combine. In doing so Childs helped to prove that perhaps he's regained the explosiveness that made him a star in the SEC before partially injuring the patella tendon in his right knee in 2010 and reinjuring the knee last year.
The 6-3, 212 pound Childs had enjoyed a quietly solid workout at the Combine (where he weighed in seven pounds heavier), including running the 40-yard at 4.55 seconds and posting a 36.5" vertical jump. On Tuesday, Childs was clocked at 4.41 seconds in the 40-yard dash and also improved his vertical jump significantly, posting a 41.5" vertical that would have tied Stanford's Chris Owusu for third among all receivers tested in Indianapolis this year.
"It was just mainly showing everybody that I was healthy again; showing everybody I was 100 percent," Childs told reporters following the workout. "I came out here and I had some scouts tell me, 'You look 100 percent. You look as explosive as ever.'"
The league source I spoke to Tuesday night couldn't have agreed more.
"He looked like he was back," a high-ranking official from an NFC team told me. "Honestly, he looked better than he did before. I wouldn't have estimated him as a 4.40 guy based off of tape so this was great workout for him. There was a bit of a buzz about [Childs' workout] as we left."
Childs had looked like a future high round pick early in his career at Arkansas. He led the Razorbacks in catches, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns as a sophomore and junior and appeared destined for All-SEC honors in 2010 before suffering the injury. Though he reportedly didn't actually tear the patella, Childs did undergo surgery. Many expected that he'd miss the 2011 season but Childs returned in the spring and surprised the Arkansas staff and media when he elected to practice without so much as a knee brace. Unfortunately, while his heart was willing, Childs looked like a shadow of himself as a senior. He caught just 21 passes for 240 yards in 2011 and did not score a touchdown.
Childs also helped himself during positional drills. He caught passes cleanly from his former teammate (and current New England Patriot) Ryan Mallett, as did his receiver mates Joe Adams and Jarius Wright. After running well at the Combine (4.42), Wright elected not to run again Tuesday. Adams did run again, but was unable to improve upon the surprisingly disappointing 4.55 time he registered in Indianapolis, clocking in at exactly the same time Tuesday. The scout noted that Adams weighed in at 188 pounds Tuesday, which is nine pounds heavier than he weighed at the Combine.
All three Arkansas receivers are currently viewed as likely Day Three picks by NFLDraftScout.com.
While Arkansas' trio of receivers garnered most of the attention Tuesday, pass rusher Jake Bequette also made news. Bequette informed scouts that he'd injured his pectoral muscle at the Combine and elected not to participate in measureable drills Tuesday. The 6-5, 274 pound defensive end did participate in linebacker drills, however, at the request of scouts from 3-4 teams. Bequette posted solid numbers in drills at the Combine but wasn't able to perform in the bench press drill there, either. He told scouts that he'll be scheduling a workout in which he'll do the bench press prior to the draft.
Finally, two SEC standouts I was surprised wasn't invited to the Combine showed that perhaps they should have been with strong workouts, Tuesday. Safety Tramain Thomas measured in a shade under 6-0 (5-11 7/8) and 200 pounds. He was clocked at 4.51 seconds in the 40-yard dash and posted a 38.5" vertical jump. Inside linebacker Jerry Franklin (6-1, 242 pounds) Franklin was not invited to the Combine but was clocked at 4.60 seconds in the 40-yard dash, a 6.90 second time in the three-cone drill and a 37.5" vertical jump.