Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Pro Day Rewind: 'Canes, Owls & Cardinals


Welcome to week two of Pro Day Rewind where we’ll catch you up on the previous week of Pro Days.

The news from the NFL Scouting Combine wasn’t even cold yet and schools were getting their guys into the spotlight immediately. At this point, it’s largely smaller schools that kick off the post-Combine workout schedule, but from those humble beginnings some mighty stars emerge.

So while the week after the Combine was pretty slow, we’ll talk a little about those few who got us kicked off.

Five schools had their Pro Days last week: Bethune-Cookman, Florida-International, Ball State, Florida Atlantic and a big school as well – the University of Miami. At the end of the week, it was the Florida schools which had made the biggest noise, though Ball State had its say as well.

MIAMI: On the 27th of February, 11 players showed off their skills to the representatives of ten NFL teams including Miami, Philadelphia, Tennessee and Atlanta. CB Bruce Johnson improved upon his Combine performance in the 40 (4.42 and 4.45) and vertical (38.5 inches), and posted a 4.03 shuttle and a 6.92 three cone drill. Fellow CB Carlos Armour made up for not being in Indianapolis by running a 4.55 and 4.59 in the 40 and jumping a 37.5 vertical, but was only able to bench press 10 times. However, none of the players looked good enough to go in the first round, which would end a 14-year streak for the 'Canes. In fact, it’s likely nobody will go the first day with Johnson possibly the lone 'Cane drafted.

Florida-Atlantic: The Owls got an unusual level of interest this year as representatives from 16 teams traveled to the school’s Pro Day, for the most part to see senior linebacker Frantz Joseph. Joseph, one of the players highlighted in last week’s column, was not invited to the NFL Scouting Combine but his body of work certainly made him an attraction to scouts. He did not disappoint, running a 4.83 in the 40, benching 225 pounds 19 times, and measuring in at 6’1” and 242 pounds. Joseph also ran a 4.41 shuttle and a 7.34 three-cone drill. Overall, he continued to build heat and while Joseph is assuming he will need to fight for a spot on someone’s practice squad, he may hear his name called on the second day of the Draft. Of the other 17 players who put on a display for the visiting NFL dignitaries, the one who stood out the most was safety Carldayle Brantley. While he only started two games this past season, Brantley put on an eye-opening exhibition, running a 4.40 time in the 40 yard dash, jumping a 38 _ vertical and a 10’7” broad jump – all of which were tops on the day. Charles Pierre, the team’s 1,000 yard rusher, led the weight room, lifting the bar 26 times. Still, while the exposure may garner his fellow teammates a chance at a practice squad, if anyone is to be drafted it will most likely be Joseph and last week’s effort solidified that.

Ball State: Representatives from 14 teams came to Scheumann Stadium on a rainy day to see what Ball State’s players had to offer, but quarterback Nate Davis and offensive tackle Robert Brewster (both of whom participated in the Combine) sat out, although Davis threw for receivers working out. Both athletes will be working out for teams on March 20th instead and will be joined by punter Chris Williams, who could not work out because the event was held indoors due to the inclement weather. Of those who did participate, the most impressive was tight end Darius Hill. Hill ran a career-best 4.71 time in the 40 and did well in the pass-catching drill. The Cardinal tight end had been highly rated going into the 2008 season, but his stock dropped over its course. He is now hoping for at least a shot as a rookie free agent.

2.23.09 - Pro Day Rewind: Combine Edition

Photo Credit: University of Miami Sports Media Relations Office