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Joe Flacco's pro day.

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KMarch (3/7/2008)
No guy named Flacco is ever going to make it big in the NFL. Goodell will see to that.

...Unless he becomes a Falcon that is.

i disagree, now i do feel that he needs to be on a good team and sit for a couple years. But this kid has a Huge upside...like 6'6 and a rocket for an arm upside

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Flacco impresses scouts during pro day

By KEVIN TRESOLINI, The News Journal

Posted Friday, March 7, 2008

Joe Flacco was among 15 area college players at UD's pro day.

NFL personnel take a look at their stopwatches as Delaware running back Omar Cuff finishes his 40-yard dash inside the Delaware Field House.(Buy photo) The News Journal/ROBERT CRAIG

NEWARK -- Nearly two dozen important pairs of eyes were focused on Joe Flacco late Thursday morning.

They belonged to men wearing the unmistakable logos and colors of National Football League franchises -- the navy blue trimmed in red of the New England Patriots, the Baltimore Ravens' purple, the New Orleans Saints' black and old gold.

As Flacco's spirals zipped through the clear, crisp air at Rullo Stadium, eyebrows were raised, whispers were made, notes were scribbled, thoughts were stored.

Flacco, his University of Delaware days recently complete and his pro career about to commence, went about the business of showing why he belonged in someone's NFL colors as the football flew from his right arm into the stinging hands of several receivers.

Even Delaware coach K.C. Keeler, who'd seen such displays many times, couldn't help but be impressed as he also watched Flacco, who was the center of attention on UD's annual pro day.

"His workouts will be as impressive as anybody's in the country," Keeler said.

Seeing the consistency of Flacco's accuracy, it was difficult to disagree.

"He'll put it in the right window," Keeler added, knowing those windows are small and shut quickly in NFL games.

Among those giving close scrutiny was Mike Shula, quarterbacks coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Shula directed Thursday's Rullo Stadium audition, in which Flacco threw passes for more than 30 minutes. Five receivers, including UD teammate Omar Cuff, took turns running patterns.

Shula had seen Flacco in the Senior Bowl at Mobile, Ala., in January and in the NFL combine last month at Indianapolis. His mission this time wasn't just to analyze aim and arm, footwork and fitness.

He came to Newark on Wednesday and spent some personal time with Flacco, all in an effort to get a better read on his NFL potential.

"Just gathering information, as much as you can, about his demeanor, about his background," said Shula, a former Alabama quarterback who coached the Crimson Tide from 2003 to '06. "This, to me, is not as much about [football skills] as it is just continuing our conversation that we had at the combine, and talk more football.

"The guys who coached the Senior Bowl had a great advantage because they had, basically, a week's tryout with the guy, because they got to know how he thinks in the meeting, how he reacts, how quickly he picks things up. So, you just try to keep spending as much time with him as you can."

Shula's impressions?

"They're real good," he said. "Everyone's talked about his stock rising, and I would agree with that."

Some analysts have Flacco rated as high as the second-best quarterback in the NFL draft April 26-27, and he's certain to become the highest University of Delaware pick in history.

Numerous mock drafts have Flacco going to the Chicago Bears in the second round, others to the Minnesota Vikings. The New York Jets and Miami Dolphins also have reportedly shown interest. Shula's presence demonstrates the Jaguars' curiosity. But all it takes is one team with an interest in a promising quarterback when its turn comes to pick.

"I have no idea where I'm going to be," said Flacco, adding that he hears the same speculation as everyone else.

Individual workouts with NFL teams in the next month may give the 6-foot-6, 235-pound Flacco a better idea. For now, he's just intent on getting better.

"Once you get to a team, they're going to tell you what kind of footwork you need," Flacco said.

Having participated in the combine, Flacco didn't perform the running, jumping, agility and strength testing that comprised the first two hours of pro day inside the Delaware Field House and outside at Rullo.

But the other 14 players representing Delaware, Delaware State, Towson, West Chester and Bloomsburg who attended benefited from the largest turnout of pro personnel at UD.

Cuff, in particular, "had a good day," said Jason Beaulieu, UD strength and conditioning coach.

His 40-yard dash time, 4.51 seconds, was a tad shy of the 4.47 he's run before, but Cuff was in the right neighborhood. The Eagles are among several teams showing interest in the 5-10, 200-pound running back, who may have an outside shot at becoming a late-round draft pick.

"I'm getting a lot of positive feedback," Cuff said. "They like my work ethic, they like my technique."

Cuff's 4,364 career rushing yards are No. 2 all-time at UD. In assessing his pro potential, he pinpoints the success of another NCAA Division I-AA product, Eagles All-Pro back Brian Westbrook from Villanova.

"If he's in there," Cuff said, "I can be in there."

Delaware Online

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