Archive for category NFL Scouts

Hawaii Pro Day Wrap Up

I end my Pro Day trips with a school’s Pro Day that, while not the size of USC’s (scouts and team personnel and as many fans and media) was still a well attended, well run day with several players whom scouts were keenly interested in.

The day, held at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California, was attended by about 30 scouts from teams such as Carolina, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Minnesota, Seattle and both New York teams. It was a well attended and well orchestrated day, held in two places, one area for the workout drills and one grass field for positional drills.

We started out in a small meeting room where UH head coach Greg McMackin and Associate head coach Rich Miano showed the scouts some highlight videos featuring the various players who would soon be working out.

This just in – all defensive lineman David Veikune does is make plays.

Veikune was certainly one of the main attractions for scouts on Thursday. While he stood on most of the results of his Scouting Combine performance, he did do the 40 yard dash. He ran a 4.80/4.81 in the 40, with 10 yard and 20 yard splits of 1.64/1.71 and 2.82/2.78 respectively.

Veikune also did position drills of course, and as there is some question just where he will fit in at the Pro level, he drilled as an outside linebacker and worked some coverage as well.

Having played as a defensive end in college, Veikune may have to make the switch to a linebacker, specifically if he ends up in a 3-4 scheme. But honestly, scouts and teams are just going to try to find a way to get this playmaker on the field. He won’t go early, but he will go and already has interest from several teams including the Eagles, Cowboys, Dolphins and Titans.

Another player scouts were itching to see was cornerback Ryan Mouton. Mouton had pulled a hamstring at the Combine and was hoping to make an impression this time out for scouts.

He began his day on a very high note with an outstanding 11 foot broad jump. He chose to stand on his bench and vert from the Combine and got set to run the 40.

I mentioned this in the USC piece I did, but it seems to me I have written about multiple injuries during 40s this year. Maybe they are just leaping out at me this year, but it feels like I am seeing many more.

Why do I bring this up? You guessed it – he pulled up lame in the 40. Mouton said later he felt it at about the 20 yard mark and he was in clear pain when he crossed the finish line. Still, he ran an impressive 40 time (especially considering). Various scouts had him at anywhere from 4.42 to 4.48. I had him timed at 4.46.

And he did that while clearly pulling up in the last leg. I boggle at how he might have timed had it not happened.

The injury looked worse than what it turned out to be, as he sat in the corner of the practice area for some time. Still, he was out for the day. There were more than a few disappointed noises from the scouts and that tells me he was – and likely still is – very much on the radars of several teams. In fact, he already has a meeting with Jacksonville according to the Honolulu Advertiser.

Several other players are worth talking about as well. Defensive lineman Josh Leonard benched a fantastic 41 times, ran a 4.97 in the 40, had a 31 1/2 vertical and looked solid in drills. Another Leonard linebacker Adam Leonard, had a so-so 40 (7.41/7.52) but in part that was due to some bad starts.

As I saw in San Jose State with corner Coye Francies, once to stumble a few times, it can get in your head. Heck, it was such a worry for USC’s Rey Maualuga (who missed drills at the Combine because he pulled a muscle in the 40) that he did the 40 after his position drills.

It certainly affected Adam Leonard and probably contributed to a slower than expected 40 time. But his film and other drills will keep him hopping and he will have the chance to show his stuff at team visits and private workouts I’m sure.

Finally, is it possible to be wowed by a long snapper? Is it right?

Well, it must be because I love what I saw of Jake Ingram.

Ingram was a guy the staff talked about during the film session as a perfectionist and a hard worker. The first guy at practice, the last one to leave.

And you could tell he was a hard worker. Ingram did every drill he could, ran a 4.90/4.86 in the 40, showed a 30 1/2 vert, a 9′9″ broad jump, benched 18 times and ran a 4.59 short shuttle.

And that was before he snapped in positional drills.

I wasn’t the only one impressed as I saw Bengals special teams coach Darrin Simmons talking to Ingram a ton and a lot of it shop talk. Of course, a snapper has to do more than snap the ball – and certainly teams will take a long look at a guy like Ingram to make sure he can cover and block. Ingram looked good whenever he was asked to do something and he came off as personable and a nose-to-the-grindstone type of guy.

It’s not often I spend much time talking about long snappers, but Ingram had a very solid day.

So ends another Pro Day season and another road trip. It’s been a long few months of travel, but is always worth it. Getting to know the scouts a little, chatting with the players and meeting other press like Stephen Tsai and Leila Wai from the Honolulu Advertiser, Sam Farmer from the LA Times at USC’s Pro Day and the whole Path to the Draft crew as well – all of it always makes even the longest trips a real joy.

Now comes the hard part for me and the scouts – figuring out where everyone goes.

Cal Pro Day Wrap Up

Today I had the pleasure to be a media rep covering the NFL Pro Day at the University of California – Berkley. It was a beautiful day at California Memorial Stadium. Great weather, sunny, not windy and cool.

I arrived as the athletes were working in the weight room, and happened to be there when top Center Alex Mack was getting ready to lift. For what it’s worth, he did not lift the 225 bar 40 times. It was 20. That was already corrected in the article that quoted, as well as on Rotoworld. But as good a day as Mack had – and it was very good – he didn’t become Superman.

Back to the broad picture though. All 32 teams were represented by 50 scouts, coaches and various personnel. Largely, they were there to see Mack and Zach Follett. Follett was nursing a bad hamstring though and only lifted, pulling a 21 rep bench press.

Follett told me he was disappointed, as he wanted to take another shot at his Combine numbers. However, he already has talked to some teams and will be scheduling some workouts. While I was there, I saw him chatting with representatives from several teams, among them the Colts, Chiefs and Browns.

How interested those teams are is anyone’s guess – they could have just been chatting. Or they could be hoping he’ll tumble enough to be there when thy come back around. He also mentioned the Raiders were sniffing around as well. Any of those teams could use him and I’m sure there are more who will take a look at him prior to late April.

Back to Mack. He ran a nice 5.17 40, looked good in his other workout drills and great in his positional drills. He held the rapt attention of nearly everyone who was there and when he was done, I’d say 75% of the people there took off.

That’s not to say there was no interest in anyone else. But Mack was the biggest target for attention there and clearly someone who won’t drop too far in April’s draft. I get the sense that he could go anywhere from the middle of the first to the end, but I don’t think he gets out of it unclaimed.

Mack ended his day in a film room working some chalk and going over tape with representatives from three teams. He was easily in there for two hours, maybe more. It was great to talk to him afterwards and he was definitely pleased with his day and ready to stop training for Pro Days and Combines and start training for actual football again.

After Mack was finished, the remaining scouts were treated to a pretty sharp workout by quarterback Nate Longshore. Longshore ran around a 4.7/5.1 40 yard dash (I timed it by hand, but was unable to verify afterwards) earlier in the day.

Warming up he seemed a bit off but once the drills started, Longshore was sharp throwing the ball with good arm strength, accuracy and touch. I was impressed the way he worked and not only made himself look good, but his receivers as well.

This draft is filled with project quarterbacks and in my opinion once you get past Stafford and Sanchez, there are a ton of question marks. As Sigmund Bloom, one half of the pair from who were on my show Wednesday night said, guys like Pat White and Josh Freeman are riding a bit of a wave from the fact that this class is weak.

So when you get past the first few solid quarterbacks, and you’re looking for a project it’s really just about whom you fall for. Longshore is far from a sure thing. But as a project?

Why not?

A few other notes from the day.

Linebacker Anthony Felder pulled a hamstring during his first 40 yard dash. It was a shame, he definitely had high hopes for the day. Before the end of the day, he had already set up a session with one team and was looking forward to getting back on track prior to the Draft.

I liked what I saw from tight end Cameron Morrah, who ran a 4.5/4.6 in the 40 and looked solid in receiving drills. He too has some interest already from teams and has scheduled multiple workouts.

Finally, Burl Toler stopped by for a workout and looked good in receiving drills. Toler is a free agent journeyman who has bumped around various NFL and AFL teams since he was signed as a street free agent with the Oakland Raiders back in 2006. He most recently played on the practice squad for the Washington Redskins in 2007-2008 and the San Jose SabreCats from 2008 until the AFL dissolved.

It’s always interesting to me to see a guy like this work out. He’s clearly willing and definitely looked good and while teams tend to try and think about getting the freshest talent in the Draft, there’s always guys like Toler who are still young and able, but carry experiance that most rookies take a long time to gather and some never get.

Could Toler find a home again within the NFL? It will be interesting to see.

Overall, it was a great day for most of the athletes present and with the extra attention guys like Mack and Follett brought to the day, some of the more fringe projects might have gotten a tad more exposure than they might have otherwise.