Posted on: March 9, 2012 7:34 pm
STILLWATER, Okla. -- When Justin Blackmon didn't run the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, questions about his speed persisted.
With 62 representatives from all 32 NFL teams watching him at his pro day, Blackmon erased any lingering doubt about his timed speed in roughly 4.45 seconds.
Oklahoma State listed Blackmon's 40 time as a 4.46 Friday. Scouts attending also had him running in 4.44 seconds.
"I was trying to shoot for a 4.45," Blackmon said. "That was kind of in my head, anywhere between there and 4.5.
"I felt pretty good when I ran it. My time was there. It says everything it needs to say."
In other drills, Blackmon touched 35 inches in his vertical jump, ran 4.36 in the shuttle and jumped 10-feet-3 inches in the broad jump. Satisfied with his 14 reps in the bench press from the NFL combine, he decided to skip that drill.
Blackmon caught 14 of 16 passes from quarterback Brandon Weeden during pass-catching drills. He did have two drops, both on out routes, but made two 50-yard catches on which he made adjustments to the ball in midair.
"Brandon put the ball on the spot," Blackmon said. "I had a couple of drops, but overall it went well."
Most of Blackmon's catches occurred either within 10 yards on the left sideline or past 20 yards on the right sidelines. He did not run any routes to the right side within 20 yards of the line of scrimmage.
Some of the teams drafting early in the first round sent top coaches to Oklahoma State's pro day.
For the Cleveland Browns, head coach Pat Shurmur and offensive coordinator Brad Childress were on hand. Shurmur and Childress stood to the left of Weeden as they watched Blackmon in the receiving drills.
The Minnesota Vikings, with the third overall pick in the draft, had four members of their staff in attendance, including coach Leslie Frazier. The Vikings staff had a meeting scheduled with Blackmon immediately after his workout.
Frazier said he thinks there is a good chance Blackmon will be available for the Vikings at the third pick if his team decides it wants to select him. Andrew Luck of Stanford and Baylor's Robert Griffin III are widely expected to be the first two picks in the draft, but the Vikings drafted quarterback Christian Ponder in the first round of the 2011 draft.
"He's a terrific young player," Frazier said. "He didn't do anything to make you wonder if he was a different person on tape. He really solidified some of the things you saw on tape."
Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith and Denver Broncos coach John Fox were the other coaches in attendance. Fox was flanked by vice president John Elway and general manager Brian Xanders before hurriedly hitting the airport, where they boarded a jet bound for Denver with Peyton Manning as a passenger.
The Broncos, though, were likely scouting Weeden and other participants more than Blackmon.
After declaring for the draft, Blackmon's initial goal was to participate in as few drills as possible at the pro day. A minor hamstring injury during the week of the combine forced him to skip the 40-yard dash in Indianapolis, raising doubts about how fast he was projected to run.
For Blackmon, he felt relieved to post a convincing time of 4.46, which should stand up to any bristle about a "fast track" in Stillwater.
"It was a process to try to knock it all out at the combine, and things popped up and I couldn't," Blackmon said. "I'm glad I got to come out and perform today and glad I got to knock it out."
In the weeks leading up to the pro day, Blackmon had to adjust his training to allow his hamstring to rest.
"I didn't do everything running wise I could (have) to better myself," Blackmon said. "I had to cut down on the runs and coming in and out of breaks. I did a lot more upper body things."
Blackmon's focus turns to private workouts with teams. Todd France, Blackmon's agent, said his client had workouts scheduled with multiple teams, but France would not disclose which teams will be hosting Blackmon.
Contributed by James Poling
Posted on: March 9, 2012 1:32 pm
Edited on: March 9, 2012 6:37 pm
After measuring in shorter and lighter than expected and showing a lack of explosion during receiving drills at the 2012 Scouting Combine, the pressure was on Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon to perform well at his Pro Day.
It appears that he did precisely that. Former St. Louis Rams' Vice President of Player Personnel Tony Softli reported on Twitter that three separate scouts had clocked Blackmon in the low 4.4s (4.43, 4.44, 4.45) in the 40-yard dash Friday.
NFLDraftScout.com confirmed the time with one of our own sources on hand, who had Blackmon at 4.45 seconds. Our source also reports that Blackmon registered a 35.5" vertical jump.
While Blackmon, the reigning back to back Biletnikof winner as the nation's top wide receiver, had enjoyed a stellar career with the Cowboys there had been plenty of concern about his straight-line speed. Multiple scouts had estimated Blackmon in the mid 4.5s throughout this season and earlier in his career.
The faster than expected times, by themselves, won't dramatically increase Blackmon's stock. They do, however, help assure scouts that Blackmon has the speed to continue his big playmaking ways against NFL competition and likely solidify his stock as a top 10 -- or perhaps even top five -- prospect.
Blackmon had been rated as NFLDraftScout.com's No. 1 receiver and is our No. 5 rated prospect, overall.
At this point Blackmon and the rest of the Cowboys are still working out. NFLDraftScout.com will have a full report from the Oklahoma State Pro Day after it ends.
Posted on: March 8, 2012 8:51 pm
Edited on: March 8, 2012 9:13 pm
The Miami Hurricanes might not have any first-round prospects, but they have a solid group of draftable players, including three Top 100 prospects according to NFLDraftScout.com, who drew 66 scouts from the NFL and CFL to Thursday's Pro Day.
The Hurricanes have been known for their strong support from alumni as well, and NFL players Jimmy Graham, Reggie Wayne, Santana Moss, Antrel Rolle, Matt Bosher, Orlando Franklin, Richard Gordon and DeMarcus Van Dyke took in the workout as well, according to the school's website.
The main draw is running back Lamar Miller, who is battling with former ACC foe David Wilson to be the second back off the board behind Alabama's Trent Richardson. Miller skipped the 40-yard dash after running a blistering 4.4 at the Scouting Combine, but he did post a 35.5-inch vertical jump and a 6.94-second L Drill. He's currently the No. 40 overall prospect according to NFLDraftScout.com ratings.
Quarterback Jacory Harris, defensive lineman Marcus Forston, linebacker Sean Spence and wide receivers Travis Benjamin and Tommy Streeter decided to stand on all their agility test numbers from Indianapolis.
Cornerback Lee Chambers, a converted running back trying to catch the attention of scout, grabbed the spotlight with a 4.41 40 and a 40.5-inch vertical jump. Defensive end Adewale Ojomo also posted an impressive 31.5-inch vertical.
Wide receiver LaRon Byrd ran a 4.46 40, third amongst athletes tested at UM's workout. He also posted a 35-inch vertical and bench pressed 225 pounds 15 times.
Tight end Chase Ford, a fringe prospect in need of a strong workout, failed to stand out with a 4.76 40, 33-inch vertical and benching 225 pounds 20 times. Offensive lineman Joel Figueroa managed a workout-best 32 reps.
Wide receiver Aldarius Johnson, a high school teammate of Harris' who stood out at the NFLPA all-star event, was allowed to work out at Thursday on campus and was clocked in the low 4.4s at nearly 6-2, 208 pounds. Johnson was suspended for the 2011 season by new head coach Al Golden and though allowed to participate, his numbers from the workout were not among those listed by Miami's official athletic website.
Posted on: March 8, 2012 7:57 pm
Top-ranked tight end Dwayne Allen didn't attract attention for what he did at Clemson's Pro Day on Thursday, but rather for what he didn't do.
--DE Andre Branch (6-4, 259) is another potential first-round pick, currently ranked as the No. 4 defensive end by NFLDraftScout.com.
--DT Brandon Thompson (6-2, 316) may have done more than anyone else to impress scouts at Clemson's Pro Day, including clocking a 4.9 time in the 40 that prompted cheers from many on hand.
--FB Chad Diehl (6-2, 260) took a hard blow to the head during Senior Bowl practice and missed that all-star game, then got a double dose of disappointment when he didn't receive an invitation to the NFL Combine.
Posted on: March 8, 2012 7:35 pm
Seattle -- A year ago it was quarterback Jake Locker whose impressive Pro Day workout at the University of Washington served as a springboard from which he boosted his mercurial stock all the way to the No. 8 pick in the 2011 NFL draft.
Posted on: March 8, 2012 10:26 am
Senior wide receiver Nick Toon shaved more than a tenth of a second off of the 4.54 second time he had posted at the Scouting Combine, ran crisp routes and plucked the ball out of the air easily, highlighting what one veteran NFL scout called an "impressive group overall" at the Wisconsin Pro Day.
Posted on: March 7, 2012 7:04 pm
LOS ANGELES -- USC's biggest stars did not do a lot of work at Pro Day on Wednesday but there was no lack of drama.
Offensive tackle Matt Kalil and defensive end Nick Perry, ranked in NFLDraftScout.com's top 32 with Kalil in the top five of Rob Rang's Big Board, did some position drills but did not replicate any of their NFL combine work because they were pleased with their initial results.
"These drills come easy to me," said Kalil, who is projected to be the third pick in the NFL draft. "It's cool to look at (mock drafts). But anything can happen on draft day."
Kalil (6-foot-6 5/8, 308 pounds) said he would take USC coach Lane Kiffin to New York as a guest for the NFL draft in April, when he'll be one of the dozen or so prospects in attendance at the Thursday primetime event.
"Coach Kiffin did a lot for me," he said. "He will be in the green room with me."
Perry, who weighed 270 pounds, said he "could have done better" on some of his position drills but was pleased overall, especially combined with his combine results. He is projected to be a first-round pick.
"I get asked a lot by NFL teams about certain schemes because everyone wants to know if I can also play in a 3-4 (defense)," Perry said. "It's good to be in the conversation (for the first round)."
USC defensive tackle Armond Armstead was not as fortunate.
He was informed by the school Tuesday night that university attorneys would not allow him to participate in Pro Day because of liability issues.
USC would not clear Armstead to play last season because of an unspecified medical condition that was discovered last spring. Armstead experienced chest pains last year but neither he nor school officials ever disclosed any medical problems.
He was expected to transfer to another school for his senior year but recently decided instead to turn pro.
"One of my main reasons to transfer was to play with brother (Oregon defensive lineman Arik Armstead)," Armond said. "But I wasn't allowed (by USC) to transfer to another Pac-12 school."
Armond Armstead said he was "perfectly healthy" and would have his own Pro Day on April 9. He underwent an NFL evaluation following the 2010 season and said was projected as a second-round pick. He looked noticeably slimmer and weighed 285 pounds at USC on Wednesday.
"I'm in good shape," Armstead said. "I'm not combine ready. I'm just looking for an opportunity to play football. "
Defensive tackle DaJohn Harris, who mysteriously did not work out at the NFL combine after arriving in Indianapolis, said he was medically excluded because a Cleveland Browns doctor discovered he had a natural heart defect known as patent foramen ovale.
A "PFO" is a flap or valve-like opening present in everyone before birth but seals shut for 80 percent of the population. It does have symptoms. Harris said his personal cardiologist emailed all NFL teams to assure them he was OK.
"I hope teams realize I was fine," Harris said. "I feel I did pretty good."Harris (6-3, 304) ran the 40-yard dash in 5.07 seconds.
Tailback Marc Tyler, who experienced a disappointing combine, redeemed himself with a time of 4.64 in the 40. He said he pulled a hamstring in Indianapolis and was nervous throughout his workouts.
"It was way better (Wednesday)," Tyler said.
Tyler said NFL teams asked him about a possible drinking problem after his famous video on TMZ.com last summer that resulted in a one-game suspension.
"I've gotten a lot of questions," he said. "I just told the truth. I made mistakes and drank too much."
Posted on: March 7, 2012 6:55 pm
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Something was missing. Or was it someone?
Somehow, there wasn't much of a buzz Wednesday at Alabama's Pro Day.
Running back Trent Richardson wasn't there. Neither were two former Alabama teammates: safety Mark Barron and outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw.
All but two of the 32 teams were represented at an event at which 14 members of the Crimson Tide's 2011 national championship team performed, but head coaches and all but three general managers stayed away. The Chicago Bears and St. Louis Rams were the teams not represented.
The Buffalo Bills, Tennessee Titans and Pittsburgh Steelers sent their general managers. One of the few recognizable faces was former Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio, now the Denver Broncos' defensive coordinator.
A bigger and better crowd is expected on March 29, when Richardson, Barron and Upshaw are scheduled to perform along with some of the players who participated Wednesday.
Richardson, NFLDraftScout.com's top-ranked running back and a projected first-round pick, still is recovering from minor postseason knee surgery.
Barron, the top-ranked safety by NFLDraftScout.com, is recovering from double-hernia surgery.
Upshaw, ranked second behind South Carolina's Melvin Ingram among outside linebackers, has been plagued by tendinitis in a knee, Alabama coach Nick Saban said Wednesday.
Alabama center William Vlachos, who wasn't among the nine former Alabama players invited to the recent NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, did his best to impress NFL scouts Wednesday, but he stopped short of performing in the event that is his strength: the bench press.
He will wait until March 29 to show how many times he can lift 225 pounds.
"The high-profile guys will be participating in the events then," Vlachos said.
One or two players projected as first-round draft choices were among the players who performed Wednesday. Cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, ranked 15th overall by NFLDraftScout.com, and inside linebacker Dont'a Hightower (28th) were among six Alabama players who had been to the combine but wanted to show off their skills again.
One player whose stock might have fallen at the combine might have improved his status slightly Wednesday.
Cornerback DeQuan Menzie ran the 40-yard dash in 4.74 seconds at Indianapolis. He improved that time to 4.66 seconds Wednesday.
"At the combine, I wasn't relaxed," Menzie said. "I was feeling so much pressure. Here, it was like I was at home, and I could release the pressure and run my best 40."
Menzie came out of the combine rated the 20th best cornerback available in the draft and was projected as a fourth- or fifth-round pick. Some teams might consider him as a free safety.
"I play it all," Menzie said. "I played safety in the Senior Bowl. I played safety in high school. I played corner here. I played in the nickel spot. There's really nothing that I can't handle. Saban put me through that."
Menzie has been training with Kirkpatrick and Hightower. What have they been telling Menzie?
"We've just got to get that money," Menzie said. "That's what Dont'a and Kirk say all the time. 'Go get that money. You've got to have the money on your mind.'"
Vlachos admitted he was disappointed.
"If you look at the top-five consensus defensive tackles in the draft, I blocked all of them and blocked them well," Vlachos said.
In particular, he was referring to Penn State's Devon Still, Michigan State's Jerel Worthy and Mississippi State's Fletcher Cox and Michael Brockers of LSU.
"I can play with all of those guys," Vlachos said. "I think I proved that on film for three years. If these guys are top 15 picks, yes, I think I should have been invited to the Combine."
As a three-year starter, Vlachos said he played most of his college career at 295 pounds. Sensitive to being called small, the 6-foot-1 lineman has worked at gaining weight. He weighed in Wednesday at 319 pounds.
"I put on some weight, and I was able to run very well carrying it," said Vlachos, who ran the 40 in 5.27 seconds. "My arm length and height are not ideal. I also don't want to be light. Being able to run at that weight has got to be a positive for me."
Hightower has been listed at 6-4 throughout his college career. He has been listed as 6-2 by the NFL, but he was measured at 6-0 on Wednesday. Who measured him?"I don't know," Hightower said. "I know I'm 6-3. I'm telling all of y'all: I'm 6-3. I don't know what they're talking about."
He noted that former Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain was measured at 6-2 two years ago.
"They're going to measure me at 6-foot?" Hightower said. "I'm not even taking that. I'm 6-3. For everybody, I'm 6-3."
Neither Hightower, Kirkpatrick nor wide receiver Marquis Maze ran the 40-yard dash Wednesday. Maze and wide receiver Darius Hanks were among the Alabama players who went to Indianapolis. Hanks ran the 40-yard dash in 4.66 seconds then and in 4.69 seconds Wednesday.
Other participants Wednesday and their 40-yard dash times: cornerback Phelon Jones (4.65), tight end Brad Smelley (4.78), outside linebacker Alex Watkins (4.78), outside linebacker Jerrell Harris (4.81), offensive lineman Alfred McCullough (4.82), offensive lineman John Michael Boswell (5.35) and nose guard Nick Gentry (5.66).
Nose guard Josh Chapman, who came to Indianapolis but did not participate in any drills because he is recovering from mid-January knee surgery, participated in the bench press on Wednesday. Lifting for the first time since before the Jan. 9 BCS Championship game, Chapman lifted 225 pounds 29 times.