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Recap of Pro days- Scouts Inc.

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March, 10, 2010Mar 103:32PM By Kevin Weidl, Scouts Inc.

Here is a breakdown of what stood out at Cincinatti's and Auburn's pro days.

Cincinnati Bearcats

WR Mardy Gilyard

It's not often that a player improves his 40 time at his pro day and could still see his draft stock fall, but that is the case with Gilyard. The 5-foot-11⅝, 184-pounder ran the 40 in 4.53 and 4.56 seconds, which improved his combine times (4.56 and 4.62) but he struggled in the position drills. Gilyard had three-to-four dropped passes that were just outside his frame, which has been a knock on him all season. It is important to remember, though, that he doesn't always practice as well as he plays in the game.

The No. 8 ranked receiver is still a savvy route-runner that knows how to set up defenders and has great body control. Plus, Gilyard never slows down when he makes a cut, which is why he is so dangerous as a receiver and a return man. However, he doesn't have great top-end speed and multiple receivers are climbing up the draft boards like Ohio's Taylor Price, Citadel's Andre Roberts and Utah's David Reed, so Gilyard could slip into the early third-round range.

QB Tony Pike

Like Gilyard, Cincy's signal caller failed to take advantage of his pro day. He didn't run the 40 or attempt the bench press, but the most concerning thing was that he was a bit high on his throws once again. The ball came out of his hand a bit quicker, but he had accuracy issues.

Regardless, he is still considered a mid-to-late third-round pick.

Auburn Tigers

RB Ben Tate

He has shot up draft boards throughout the postseason and it wasn't surprising that he elected to keep his strong combine numbers (4.43 40, 4.12 short shuttle, 40½-inch vertical, 10-4 broad jump and 26 reps of 225 pounds). However, he looked good once again in position drills. Tate showed quick feet, the ability to change directions, a nice burst out of his cuts and solid receiving skills.

Prior to the Senior Bowl, Tate was thought of as a late-round pick, but now it wouldn't surprise us if he was taken in the third round.

CB Walter McFadden

The top-20 corner definitely helped himself with his pro day performance. McFadden showed good quickness by running the 40 in 4.42 and 4.44 seconds, as well as maneuvering the short shuttle in 4.29 seconds. The 5-11, 181-pounder also had a 35½-inch vertical, 10-3 broad and even five reps on the bench.

Heading into his pro day, McFadden was considered a fifth-rounder, but by showing he has the top-end speed and anticipation skills to compete in the NFL, he could sneak into the bottom of the fourth round.

OLB Antonio Coleman He performed at the Tigers' pro day and put up some decent 40 times (4.80 and 4.78), which should help solidify him as a late-round pick. Coleman also had a 33½-inch vertical, 9-8 broad jump, 4.47 short shuttle and 7.06 three-cone drill.

The No. 21 ranked OLB in the country shows flashes as a pass-rusher, but is still a little undersized and needs to be stronger versus the run.

Tags:Insider, NFL, NCF

Misi, Beadles improve at Utah's pro day

March, 9, 2010Mar 912:35PM ETPrint Email Share By Steve Muench, Scouts Inc.Sixteen NFL teams sent representatives to Utah's pro day Monday to test and time 20 players. Here's a look at three of those players that could come off the board in the first three rounds of the draft.

Koa Misi, DE/OLB

Of the three prospects on this list, Misi's stock is the hottest right now. He played defensive end in college, but we believe he fits best at outside linebacker, and he eased a lot of concerns about the switch at the Senior Bowl. The 6-foot-2¾, 244-pounder looked comfortable playing off the line and dropping into coverage.

His strong 20-yard shuttle time (4.27 seconds) at the combine reinforced what scouts saw in terms of his burst and the ability to change directions quickly. At his pro day, he showed that time wasn't a fluke by running the 20-yard shuttle in the low 4.2s, which would have been a top-seven time for a linebacker at the combine.

In addition, he reportedly continued to impress during individual drills. He's a savvy pass-rusher that shows above-average closing speed on film, but this year's crop of outside linebackers is stacked, which will make it harder for Misi to climb draft boards. Nonetheless, he could creep into the second round, and it would surprise us if he made it past the third round.

Zane Beadles, OG/OT

After putting up 225 pounds 20 times at the combine in late February, Beadles put up 225 pounds 30 times at his pro day. That's a big jump, considering the short span of time, so NFL teams will have to refer back to the film and make a determination concerning his upper-body strength.

He showed a powerful punch all season and at the Senior Bowl, but has yet to run the 40-yard dash for teams because of a hamstring injury he sustained leading up the combine. Even though the 40-yard dash doesn't carry too much weight when it comes to evaluating offensive linemen, Beadles is expected to run for scouts March 29, and several teams have also set up individual workouts. This is good news because it doesn't appear that his hamstring injury is serious. In fact, he felt comfortable enough to participate in individual drills.

While we still feel he's a better fit at guard than at tackle, where he played in college, he reportedly performed well. Look for Beadles to come off the board late in the second or early in the third round.

David Reed, WR

Running the 40-yard dash in the low 4.4s at his pro day would have shown NFL scouts that he could stretch the field on a consistent basis, but Reed ran in the low 4.5s. Regardless, he is still expected to be drafted in the third round due to his film and performance at the East-West Shrine Game. Reed runs polished routes, shows no fear working over the middle, catches everything thrown in his area and proved he can be effective at the NFL level.

Tags:Insider, NFL, NCF

Blocking TEs offer late-round value

March, 8, 2010Mar 812:43PM ETPrint Email Share By Kevin Weidl, Scouts Inc.Plenty of unheralded players come off the board late in the NFL draft and enter the league looking simply looking for a way to contribute.

These players usually end up keeping an even lower profile once they get into the league, but that doesn't mean their contributions are insignificant. For instance, this year's class features three blocking tight ends who could become vital cogs in a team's running game early on.

Here's a look at those three players and where we expect them to come off the board.

Colin Peek, Alabama (6-foot-5½, 255 pounds) -- Peek gives impressive effort on film, getting out of his stance well and getting into solid initial position. He is strong at the point of attack and rolls his hips well, and he is effective whether hooking the end or down blocking. He can also get to the second level and finishes every play.

Peek is limited as an athlete but he is savvy in his routes and knows how to find soft spots in zone coverage, and he has the size, body control and soft hands to be an effective red zone threat; he can also get down the seam on occasion.

Finally, Peek often stayed in pass protection for the Crimson Tide, moving his feet and getting good hand placement. He gave it to Virginia Tech DE/OLB Jason Worilds -- a third-round prospect -- on film and Peek would offer great value in the fifth or sixth round as reserve tight end who can play an important role.

Mike Hoomanawanui, Illinois (6-3¾, 267) -- A relentless blocker who is strong at the point, moves his feet well and sustains blocks until the play is over, Hoomanawanui is also the most versatile of the players on this list. He showed at the Senior Bowl an ability to line up in the backfield as a fullback, and his hands are good enough for him to be a solid receiver in the underneath areas. He would be another good fifth- or sixth-round value.

Nate Byham, Pittsburgh (6-3¾, 268) -- A tough guy with a strong anchor as an inline blocker, Byham gets good movement off the ball. We were on hand when South Florida came to Pittsburgh and Byham planted first-round Bulls DE Jason Pierre-Paul with a down block.

Byham works to the whistle and can get to the second level to cover up linebackers, and while he is not the best receiver, he shows good body control and has the size to absorb hits while bringing balls in. He's yet another guy who could bring something to the back end of a roster in the fifth or sixth round.

Tags:Insider, NFL, NCF

Weatherspoon solidifies first-round status

March, 5, 2010Mar 511:54AM ETComment Print Email Share By Kevin Weidl, Scouts Inc.The NFL combine ended Tuesday, but not every player could just sit back, relax and reflect on his performance. Prospects from Missouri, Syracuse and Buffalo had to work out for their pro days later in the week. Pro days give NFL scouts another chance to evaluate prospects, and players usually put up better numbers at their pro days because they are performing in a comfortable setting where they have practiced all offseason. Here is a look at the latest news to come out of the Tigers', Orange's and Bulls' pro days.

Missouri Tigers

OLB Sean Weatherspoon

The third-ranked outside linebacker parlayed his strong combine showing into a very good pro day on Thursday, including an improved 40-yard dash time. At the combine, Weatherspoon ran the 40 in 4.68 seconds and did 34 bench-press reps. At his pro day, he ran the 40 in 4.54 and 4.52 seconds and added another rep to his bench press.

Overall, Weatherspoon has looked good throughout every postseason showing. The 6-foot-1¼, 239-pounder has very quick feet, changes directions well, is fluid and has improved his ball skills. As a result, Weatherspoon likely will come off the board late in the first round.

WR Danario Alexander

Alexander was unable to work out at the Tigers' pro day thanks to a knee injury he suffered during Senior Bowl practices. Currently, he looks like a fifth-rounder, but he will hold a private workout in the near future to improve his stock.

Syracuse Orange

WR Mike Williams

Williams was not allowed to work out at Syracuse's pro day because he left the team in midseason but will hold his own pro day April 4 near Buffalo, N.Y.

DT Arthur Jones

Jones did not work out at the Orange's pro day or at the combine because of the knee surgery he had during the season to repair a torn MCL, but he also will hold his own pro day on April 5.

The 6-3, 302-pounder received rave reviews from NFL scouts about his performance versus Notre Dame, but his inconsistencies and injury have dropped his stock. It also doesn't help that this year's defensive tackle group is very deep and talented. If Jones performs well at his pro day, he could solidify himself as a second-rounder; otherwise, he could slip to the third round.

QB Greg Paulus Paulus has played only one season of college football, and he didn't put up impressive numbers at his pro day (4.92-second 40, 28.5-inch vertical, 8-7 broad, 4.26-second short shuttle). After watching his film, he is good moving around in the pocket, but there are concerns about his low release and arm strength. As a result, he's unlikely to be drafted but could be signed as a free agent.

Buffalo Bulls

RB James Starks

Starks elected to keep his combine numbers (4.50-second 40, 36-inch vertical and 9-7 broad jump), which were good, rather than perform again at his pro day. There was a lot of buzz about him coming into the season, but he has missed time with a shoulder injury. Right now, he is probably a late-rounder thanks to his good burst.

WR Naaman Roosevelt

Roosevelt needed to perform well at his pro day to solidify himself as a draft pick, but that did not happen. His 40 time (4.61) was not great, and he struggled to get in and out of his breaks. He also is rather inconsistent. As a result, Roosevelt is a fringe late-rounder or free-agent signing.

Tags:Insider, NFL, NCF, Syracuse Orangemen, Missouri Tigers, Buffalo Bulls

Veldheer can hang with the big boys

March, 4, 2010Mar 412:54PM ETComment Print Email Share By Steve Muench, Scouts Inc.The NFL combine isn't about just the big-name prospects. Here are three small-school players who turned some heads in Indianapolis and where their stock is headed:

Hillsdale (Mich.) OT Jared Veldheer (6-foot-8⅛, 312 pounds) -- On film, Veldheer looks fluid and explosive for his size, gets into position quickly when driving defenders off the ball, redirects effortlessly in pass protection and appears comfortable climbing up to the second level. But how big a role did the Division II competition he faced play in his success at the collegiate level? Well, Veldheer eased those concerns with his performance at the Texas vs. the Nation All-Star Game and continued to do so in Indianapolis.

He finished with the fourth-best 40-yard dash time (5.09 seconds), the third-best vertical jump (33½ inches), the fifth-best broad jump (9 feet, 1 inch) and the ninth-best bench press (32 repetitions at 225 pounds) among the offensive linemen at the combine. Veldheer also tied for the best three-cone drill (7.4 seconds) and 20-yard shuttle (4.51 seconds) times, showing off his quick feet and balance. The one concern is that his arms are shorter than expected for his height, but they still are 33 inches long. Veldheer is unlikely to move up our draft board too far because the tackles ahead of him also performed well for the most part, but he's made the most of his postseason opportunities and shown that he is a good value in the third round.

James Madison DE Arthur Moats (6-0¼, 246) -- Moats worked out with the defensive ends and finished with the third-fastest 40 time at 4.66 seconds. His size will necessitate a move to outside linebacker in the NFL, but his 40 time would have been among the top 10 at that position, too. Moats is an explosive pass-rusher with above-average closing speed on film, and he delivers big hits when he gets to the quarterback.

There's also a lot to like about his 33¾-inch arms. Moats can get his hands up in passing windows and keep blockers off his frame. And while he lacks ideal hip fluidity, Moats is capable of rerouting tight ends at the line of scrimmage and he looked agile enough at the combine to hold his own in underneath coverage. At this point, he projects as a late-fourth or early-fifth round pick.

Missouri State TE Clay Harbor (6-02¾, 252) -- Harbor clearly has the natural ability to play in the NFL. His 30 reps on the bench press were tops among TEs, and he finished second in the vertical (40) and broad (10-0) jumps. He also clocked a 4.69 in the 40. Harbor showed he can compete with the big boys by playing well in Missouri State's season opener against Arkansas last year and in this year's East-West Shrine Game. A late addition to the Shrine Game, Harbor caught three passes for 22 yards and did a nice job of working the middle of the field. The tight end class is deep and versatile, but Harbor should move up into the sixth round following his showing in Indianapolis.

Tags:Insider, NFL, NCF

Safeties impress; mixed bag for corners

March, 2, 2010Mar 23:19PM ETComment Print Email Share By Steve Muench, Scouts Inc.Editor's note: All 40-yard dash times listed below are unofficial unless otherwise noted. Scouts Inc.'s daily combine buzz will include as many official numbers as possible and expanded takes on players mentioned in the blog.

• Everyone expected USC S Taylor Mays to shine in this setting and Mays did not disappoint. At 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds, Mays posted an official time of 4.43 seconds in the 40-yard dash. While we are still concerned about his inconsistencies on film, Mays clearly has early-first-round natural ability, and teams are sure to fall in love with his upside if they haven't already.

• Our top-ranked safety, Tennessee's Eric Berry, is showing the same explosiveness here that he shows on film. Berry posted an unofficial 4.40 in the 40 and recorded a 10-foot-6 broad jump. He also eased some concerns about his size when he weighed in at 211 pounds and measured 5-11.

• Alabama's Kareem Jackson posted an unofficial 4.41. We didn't get a good look at Jackson's top-end speed on film because Alabama's scheme didn't give him many chances to run downfield with receivers, but we now know he has good speed to go with impressive burst, instincts and fluidity.

• Virginia CB Chris Cook turned some heads at the Senior Bowl, and he's doing the same in Indianapolis. At 6-2 and 212 pounds Cook posted an unofficial 4.43 seconds. That's an excellent size-speed combination for a safety and rare to see in a corner. Cook also recorded a jaw-dropping 11-0 broad jump.

• We learned that Rutgers CB Devin McCourty is a quiet kid who doesn't draw much attention to himself when we got a chance to sit down with him at the Senior Bowl. McCourty may not be flashy, but he handles his business and is showing he is worth considering late in the first round. McCourty officially ran the 40-yard dash in 4.48 seconds, and he looked fluid changing directions during drills, just like he did in Mobile.

• Florida S Major Wright posted an official 40-yard dash time of 4.48 seconds after checking in at 5-115, 206. Wright didn't garner much national attention playing on a star-studded Florida defense, but a closer look at the film reveals a player capable of developing into a starting safety in the NFL. He doesn't have elite man-to-man cover skills, but he shows good range in zone coverage and plays the ball well.

• At 6-0 and 180 pounds, Purdue's David Pender is lean but has room on his frame to bulk up without losing too much speed. Pender officially ran the 40-yard dash in 4.47 seconds, posted a 39-inch vertical and has 32-inch arms. Don't be surprised to see him move up some draft boards based on his potential.

Tags:Insider, NFL, NCF

Haden's hips look a bit tight

March, 2, 2010Mar 212:57PM ETComment Print Email Share By Steve Muench, Scouts Inc.Editor's note: All 40-yard dash times listed below are unofficial unless otherwise noted. Scouts Inc.'s daily combine buzz will include as many official numbers as possible and expanded takes on players mentioned in the blog.

• Florida cornerback Joe Haden did a nice job of sinking his hips, exploding out of his backpedal and catching the ball during cone work. However, he didn't look as fluid or smooth as anticipated when asked to open up his hips and turn and run earlier in the workout.

After what teams have seen, including a disappointing 40-yard dash time, they must go back to the film to see whether Haden is more vulnerable to getting beat over the top than originally thought.

• Boise State CB Kyle Wilson will not run the 40 or participate in any of the drills because of a strained hamstring. It's another disappointing injury for a top defensive back, but Wilson has some momentum built up after a great Senior Bowl week and is expected to run at Boise State's pro day on March 26.

• The safeties clearly had a difficult time catching the ball when asked to open their hips and track it downfield. Tennessee's Eric Berry uncharacteristically double-caught one ball, but at least he hauled it in. Virginia Tech's Kam Chancellor, Toledo's Barry Church, Ohio State's Kurt Coleman and LSU's Chad Jones each had a ball bounce off their hands.

• Clemson's Crezdon Butler and Vanderbilt's Myron Lewis both appeared stiff in space and struggled to flip their hips when asked to change directions while backpedaling. At 6-foot-1¾ and 203 pounds, Lewis might be a better fit at safety but could play corner for a base Cover 2 team. Butler, however, weighed in at 191 pounds and measured 5-11⅛, so he doesn't have great size for a safety or a Cover 2 corner.

Tags:Insider, NFL, NCF

Tebow still a project at quarterback

March, 2, 2010Mar 212:22PM ETComment Print Email Share By Todd McShay, Scouts Inc.Tim Tebow's performance at the NFL combine could not have gone any better considering how much he struggled at the Senior Bowl and that he opted not to throw at this venue. Tebow's intangibles and leadership skills stood out, and multiple NFL scouts raved about his interviews. He was clearly the leader of his group and had a presence about him a lot like Mark Sanchez showed a year ago.

On the field, his 40-yard dash time of 4.72 seconds was slightly better than we expected, and he showed more explosiveness than most NFL scouts anticipated, especially his jumping ability. The former Heisman Trophy winner tied the record for a vertical jump by quarterback at 38½ inches, and also had a 9-foot-7 broad jump.

While this impressive showing doesn't improve his third-round grade as a quarterback it does gives NFL teams another reason to want to draft him. It shows Tebow is doing everything he can to be desirable to NFL scouts and, as a result, teams could be more inclined to believe in him as he changes his throwing mechanics.

His tremendous performance also eases some of the concerns some scouts had about using him as a Wildcat quarterback as a rookie. It would not be a big package, but Tebow could certainly give a team three or four short-yardage plays per game as he continues to develop as a passer.

Tebow's pro day will not impact his draft stock, either, even if he can show improved balance in his drops from under center and shorten his elongated deliver. That would not guarantee he won't revert back to old habits because, after all, he is trying to undo 15-plus years of bad mechanics in less than a month.

Also take into account the fact that he will not face pass-rushers at his pro day, and it's a good thing, because he was an utter disaster in the face of pressure at the Senior Bowl.

Tebow's combine performance also proved he has all the measurables to become an H-back in the future if he doesn't pan out as a quarterback. His 40 time was more than respectable, his vertical exceeded the average by five inches and his hands (10⅛ inches) were bigger than average. He is a little shorter than the average H-back but that won't matter much as long as he can continue to bulk up.

However, H-back is a long-term backup plan. Make no mistake about it, the team that drafts Tebow will do so looking at him as a developmental project. However, we do not see him even competing for a starting job until the 2013 season, and because of that he remains a late-third-round prospect in our opinion.

Tags:Insider, NFL, NCF, Florida Gators

Could Haden's stock be slipping?

March, 2, 2010Mar 210:41AM ETComment Print Email Share By Steve Muench, Scouts Inc.Editor's note: All 40-yard dash times listed below are unofficial unless otherwise noted. Scouts Inc.'s daily combine buzz will include as many official numbers as possible and expanded takes on players mentioned in the blog.

Florida cornerback Joe Haden ran a pair of disappointing 40-yard dash times Tuesday morning, clocking 4.57 and 4.58 seconds. Haden is an underclassman, so we had no official time for him coming into the season, but based on his game film, we had felt confident he would come in somewhere in the low-4.4 range.

Although 40 times don't necessarily make the player, there is more emphasis on top-end speed at cornerback than any other position, and this time will affect Haden's draft stock.

• Alabama CB Javier Arenas injured his right hamstring during the 40 and is done for the day. He still turned in a 4.52, though, which is a good time for him given the concerns about his overall speed coming out of the Senior Bowl. It is still important for Arenas to get healthy and have a good workout and post another good time at Alabama's pro day March 10.

• The top two safeties on our board eased some concerns with their measurements Tuesday. Tennessee's Eric Berry checked in at 5-11½ and 211 pounds, while Earl Thomas of Texas measures 5-10 and 208 pounds. The worry was that a lack of size might lead one or both to move to cornerback, but that is no longer an issue.

• South Florida S Nate Allen and Georgia Tech S Morgan Burnett both sat out the 40 because of injury. Allen has a quadriceps injury, and it will be interesting to see whether he is healthy enough to run at South Florida's pro day on Friday. If not, he will drop in on another school's pro day or schedule his own private workout. Regardless of the circumstances we expect him to time well because of his range that we see on film.

Burnett is dealing with a hamstring injury and has until March 15 to get ready for Tech's pro day. He also runs well on film but isn't nearly as complete as Allen in terms of overall skills. Burnett must impress teams with his speed to prove he has the upside to warrant a late-round pick.

• Four defensive backs posted solid unofficial 40 times Tuesday morning: Wake Forest CB Brandon Ghee (4.39), Berry (4.44), Virginia CB Chris Cook (4.45) and Alabama CB Kareem Jackson (4.45).

Tags:Insider, NFL, NCF, Alabama Crimson Tide, Florida Gators, Texas Longhorns, Tennessee Volunteers, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, South Florida Bulls

Pierre-Paul, Morgan fit best in 4-3 schemes

March, 1, 2010Mar 13:19PM ETComment Print Email Share By Steve Muench, Scouts Inc.Editor's note: All 40-yard dash times listed below are unofficial unless otherwise noted. Scouts Inc.'s daily combine buzz will include as many official numbers as possible and expanded takes on players mentioned in the blog.

• South Florida's Jason Pierre-Paul and Georgia Tech's Derrick Morgan both project as 4-3 defensive ends, and nothing we saw Monday changed our minds about their high-first-round grades. Both did a good job of opening their hips, and they occasionally can drop into underneath coverage on zone blitzes. However, they had difficult times bending their knees while backpedaling and didn't appear as comfortable in space, so their contributions in that area could be limited.

• Missouri OLB Sean Weatherspoon has been impressive thus far. After weighing in at 239 pounds and measuring 6-1⅜, he put up 34 reps on the 225-pound bench press, then posted an unofficial 40-yard dash time of 4.57 seconds. That comes as little surprise, though, given the above-average range we saw from him both on film and at the Senior Bowl.

• Virginia Tech's Cody Grimm is an interesting prospect. Grimm appears instinctive and relentless on film, but he played outside linebacker in college and is just not big enough to line up there in the NFL. He measured just 5-10⅞ and 203 pounds and would be a better fit at safety, where he would have the potential to develop into an adequate reserve and special-teams contributor. Grimm's 4.54 time in the 40 is encouraging because the average time for safeties last year was 4.63 seconds and in 2008 was 4.55 seconds.

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