The final week of March brought the league closer to the end of pro-day workouts, and there were several key performances from well-known prospects as well as late round players. Here are the highlights from Week 4 of pro day:
Maurice Hurst/DL/Michigan: Hurst was red flagged at the combine due to a potential heart, but as I previously reported, it's believed to be a genetic condition his father dealt with yet played nine years in the NFL with no issue. Hurst put up solid numbers during the Michigan pro day, including 29 reps on the bench press, 31 inches in the vertical jump and a forty which timed as fast as 4.97.
Frank Ragnow/C/Arkansas: Ragnow was prevented from participating at the Senior Bowl and combine due to injury, but looked good during pro day. He measured a hair under 6-feet-5-inches and tipped the scale at 308 pounds. Ragnow then touched 33.5 inches in the vertical jump and 9-feet-7-inches in the broad jump, and he timed as fast as 4.99 in the forty.
PJ Hall/DL/Sam Houston State: Hall had a dominant week of practice at the Shrine Game and many were surprised he did not receive an invitation to the combine. So, he was a man on a mission last week, and he turned in what some are calling the best pro-day workout ever by a small-school defensive lineman. He measured 6 foot, 1/2 inch and 308 pounds, touched an impressive 38 inches in the vertical jump, reached 9-foot-8 in the broad jump and completed 36 reps on the bench. His 40 timed as low as 4.68, and Hall looked tremendous in position drills. Hall has ensured himself a spot in the middle of the draft's final day.
Daurice Fountain/WR/Northern Iowa: Fountain was another who looked good during Shrine Game practices, only to be snubbed by the combine. As a result, 27 teams made their way out to Northern Iowa for his pro day. The receiver measured 6-foot-1.5 inches and 204 pounds. He touched 42.5 inches in the vertical jump and 11-foot-2 in the broad jump, then ran the 40 in times which ranged from a low of 4.46 to a high of 4.53. Fountain, who is drawing a lot of interest from the Philadelphia Eagles and Detroit Lions, looked good in pass catching drills.
Deatrick Nichols/CB/South Florida: And Nichols makes three. The USF corner was yet another star from Shrine Game practices not extended a combine invitation. Like Hall and Fountain, he gave teams a reason to pause with his performance. Nichols timed the 40 in the low 4.3s (4.33) then translated that speed into position drills and looked terrific. Slightly undersized (he measured 5-feet-8-inches and 186 pounds at the Shrine Game) and a prospect not even graded by scouts entering the season, Nichols now stands to be selected during the final day of the draft.
Jonah Trinnaman/WR/BYU: The athletic receiver stole the show at BYU pro day. Measuring a shade over 5-feet-10-inches and 192 pounds, Trinnaman timed 4.28 in the 40, touched 40.5 inches in the vertical jump and 12-feet even in the broad jump. Few receivers at the combine came close to those numbers. Trinnaman, who caught just 24 passes at BYU last season, is a great athlete who must now become a productive football player.
Chad Meredith/LB/SE Missouri State: One of the more underrated small-school linebackers in April's draft, Meredith measured 6-feet-4.5-inches and 251 pounds, posted a vertical jump of 35.5 inches, broad jump of 10-feet-1-inch and completed 18 reps on the bench press. He timed as fast as 4.69 in the 40 and 6.77 in the three cone. A prototypical strong side linebacker, Meredith is receiving interest from the New York Jets, New York Giants and Cleveland Browns.
As we move towards the home stretch of the pro-day calendar as the final full week of workouts begins, here are a few lesser-known players who impressed over the past seven days.
Nick Bawden/FB/San Diego State: Bawden, who performed well at the Senior Bowl but was prevented from working out at the combine after medical exams revealed a Jones fracture in his foot, turned in a sensational workout. After measuring 6-foot-1.5 and 245 pounds in Indianapolis, Bawden ran the 40 at pro day and posted a 4.72, almost two-tenths faster than scouts expected. His other marks included a 33-inch vertical jump, 7.2-second three-cone and 4.37 short shuttle. Bawden impressed the dozen running backs coaches who were primarily on hand to watch teammate Rashaad Penny and looked terrific in drills. He's a devastating lead blocker who can also handle the ball as a short-yardage ball carrier or pass catcher out of the backfield.
Mike Ford/CB/SE Missouri: Ford is one of the better-kept secrets at the cornerback position, and he showed tremendous athleticism during his pro day. Measuring 5-foot-11 and 195 pounds, he timed 4.48 in the 40, touched 40 inches in the vertical jump and reached 11 feet in the broad jump. I don't expect Ford to be selected in the draft, but he will challenge for a roster spot in camp this summer.
Cole Boozer/T/Temple: Boozer, a former blocking tight end who moved to offensive tackle as a senior, keeps sneaking up on scouts. He measured 6-foot-5 and 300 pounds at his pro day, completed 26 reps on the bench press with arms that measured a touch under 34 inches and reached 9-foot-4 in the broad jump. His 40 time came in at 5.07 with a 4.65 short shuttle and 7.56 three-cone. A developmental prospect destined for the practice squad in September, the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins are showing heavy interest in his services.
Saeed Blacknall/WR/Penn State: While DaeSean Hamilton is the better Nittany Lions receiver, Blacknall is the better athlete. He put on a show at Penn State's pro day, timing 4.39 in the 40 and 6.77 in the three-cone and measuring 6-foot-2 and 208 pounds. Blacknall combined for just 32 receptions the past two years but offers rare athleticism and is another player who could be destined for the practice squad this fall.
Vyncent Smith/WR/Limestone: The small-school receiver stepped up on the big stage when he took part in South Carolina's pro day. He measured just about 6-foot-2 and 197 pounds and touched 39.5 inches in the vertical jump and 10-foot-11 in the broad jump. Smith blistered in the 40, timing as fast as 4.35. Scouts know Smith can catch the ball but questioned his speed, and he gave a resounding answer.
Teo Redding/WR/Bowling Green: Redding, a consistent threat at BGSU the past two years, timed 4.46 in the 40 and 6.85 in the three-cone and touched 38.5 inches in the vertical jump. He measures over six feet tall and will compete to make a depth chart as the fifth receiver this summer.
Jawill Davis/WR-RS/Bethune Cookman: Talk about a �wow� workout. Davis, who measures 5-foot-10 and 175 pounds, timed as fast as 4.37 in the 40, touched 39 inches in the vertical jump and reached 10-foot-4 in the broad jump. The smallish receiver also completed an admirable 14 reps on the bench press. The senior, who caught 36 passes for 475 yards and three touchdowns last season, is drawing interest from the Chicago Bears, Oakland Raiders, Tampa Bay Bucs and Jacksonville Jaguars.
It was a big second week of pro-day workouts, as two of the top-rated quarterbacks in this year's draft worked out for NFL teams. There were also a number of under-the-radar performances from players who are not household names. Here's a look at those prospects.
Entering the year, Oregon cornerback Arrion Springs was not graded by scouts despite a solid junior season. He played well in 2017 then performed brilliantly at the Ducks' pro day. Springs, who measures 5-foot-10 and 200 pounds, timed 4.38 in the 40 and 4.05 in the short shuttle, and completed 19 reps on the bench press. This developing defensive back met with nine teams at his pro day, including the Houston Texas, Los Angeles Rams and Cleveland Browns.
While much of the football media focused on quarterback Mason Rudolph and receiver James Washington during the Oklahoma State pro day, it was little-used wideout Chris Lacy who stole the show. Lacy, who measures 6-foot-3 and 204 pounds, timed 4.37 in the 40, touched 35.5 inches in the vertical jump and reached 10-foot-6 in the broad jump. Lacy then looked terrific in positon drills, catching everything thrown in his direction. He's a terrific athlete with legitimate downfield speed but is a prospect who must improve his pass-catching skills. Even still, his size and speed numbers will give him late-round consideration.
Like Lacy, Oklahoma linebacker Emmanuel Beal was overshadowed by his quarterback teammate - Baker Mayfield - and a receiver - Jeff Badet - but turned a lot of heads with his performance. The smallish linebacker, who comes in at 215 pounds, timed 4.45 in the 40 and 7.10 in the three-cone, and posted a vertical jump of 35 inches. Watch the Oklahoma film and you'll see Beal constantly around the ball, making plays. He's similar in size and style to Arizona Cardinals linebacker Deone Bucannon - undersized but incredibly athletic and active.
Wisconsin-Oshkosh receiver Sam Mentkowski took part in the Wisconsin pro day and made the most of his opportunity. The senior, who measures just about 6-foot and 190 pounds, timed 4.41 in the 40, faster than anyone on the field that day. His short shuttle time of 4.00 was bettered only by cornerback Nick Nelson, a potential third-round pick. Mentkowski, who caught 67 passes for 1477 yards with 13 touchdowns last year, also timed 6.76 in the three-cone. He is drawing comparisons to Minnesota Vikings receiver Adam Thielen.
Pass-rusher Joe Ostman had a standout performance during Central Michigan's pro day. He measured 6-foot-2.5 and 253 pounds, timed as fast as 4.75 in the 40, had an impressive three-cone time of 7.06 and completed 31 reps on the bench press. Ostman rounded out his fine workout with a vertical jump of 36.5 inches and reached 10-foot-2 in the broad jump. He later looked terrific in defensive line and linebacker drills. Ostman, who looked sharp during practices for the East-West Shrine Game, has likely secured a spot for himself in the seventh round and should be a solid situational pass-rusher and special teamer at the next level.
Arizona State's pro day featured Kalen Ballage and what some are calling the best pro-day workout they've ever witnessed from a running back. Ballage timed as fast as 4.35 in the 40, while a few watches had him in the low 4.4s. He hit 37 inches in the vertical jump, a vast improvement from his mark of 32.5 inches at the combine. This comes as no surprise to scouts, as Ballage is known to have a world of physical ability. He now needs to consistently translate that ability into production on the field.
Jacksonville State pass-rusher Darius Jackson timed 4.72 in the 40, much better than the 4.87 time he turned in at the combine. He was put through a battery of linebacker and pass-rushing drills afterward, and looked good. Jackson is getting a lot of interest from 3-4 teams at the next level.
There was no rest for the weary, as pro-day workouts began in earnest the day after the defensive backs completed their workouts at the combine. Some combine invitees were still nursing injuries suffered during their workouts in Indianapolis and have scheduled individual pro days in the future. Here's a look at the highlights from the first week.
Purdue kicked off the pro-day workouts Tuesday, and linebacker Ja'Whaun Bentley -- a Senior Bowl participant who many felt deserved an invitation to the combine -- showed next-level talent. Tipping the scales at 246 pounds, Bentley completed 31 reps on the bench press and timed under 4.7 seconds in the 40 on a number of watches. He looked fluid and athletic during drills and likely secured a spot for himself in the last round.
Alabama and Colorado were the big-name workouts Wednesday.
In Tuscaloosa, little-mentioned Joshua Frazier had a strong outing. The nose tackle stood on most of his combine numbers but did participate in the broad jump and reached 8-foot-3, a solid mark for a 321-pound nose tackle. Frazier met with a handful of teams afterward, including the Philadelphia Eagles, who lost nose tackle Beau Allen in free agency. The Tampa Bay Bucs will also bring Frazier in for one of their 30 official visits.
Shrine Game star Phillip Lindsay stole the show during the Colorado pro day. He scorched the turf in the 40-yard dash and timed as fast as 4.38 on a number of watches, and he also posted a vertical jump of 35.5 inches. A smallish ball carrier who measures 5-foot-7.5 and 185 pounds, Lindsay proved he has the speed to line up as a third-down back at the next level.
On Thursday, little-known cornerback Cameron Roane of Columbia tested well before straining a hamstring.
Roane timed in the mid-4.3s in the 40 after touching 39 inches in the vertical jump and 10-foot-10 in the broad jump before he was sidelined. His talent is well-known to scouts, as Roane entered the 2017 season stamped as a potential priority free agent. He measured just under six feet tall and a little over 200 pounds. Keep an eye on Roane in camp this summer.
A couple Auburn defenders who were not invited to the combine despite terrific showings at the Senior Bowl got their revenge.
Safety Tray Matthews measured just over six feet and weighed 213 pounds, completed 22 reps on the bench and timed in the low-to-mid 4.5s. Linebacker Tre' Williams timed in the high-4.6s after measuring 6-foot-2 and 236 pounds. Williams also touched a solid 34.5 inches in the vertical jump.
Both solidified themselves as last-day selections.
The University of Washington had an unusual Saturday workout, but the big names were sidelined. Defensive tackle Vita Vea is still nursing the hamstring injury he suffered during the combine, when he timed 5.10 in the 40 after weighing in at 347 pounds. Receiver Dante Pettis was also sidelined with a sprained ankle, an injury which kept him on the sidelines during the combine.