March 28, 2008

The final full week of pro-days offered a number of surprises from unheralded prospects who stole the show from well-known teammates. It also saw the rise of one Big Ten cornerback that is moving up draft boards into the first round.

Justin King, CB, Penn StateKing has been building a buzz since the combine and continued the momentum through his pro-day more than a week ago. He ran in the low 4.3s at the combine then looked outstanding in position drills during his individual workout. King comes off a disappointing junior season and was graded as a third rounder after he declared for the draft. Scouts are rethinking that opinion as King's combination of athleticism, intelligence (he graduated from PSU early) as well as his high character now has him on the verge of breaking into in the first round.

Charles Godfrey, DB, IowaGodfrey is another Big Ten defensive back making waves. He significantly improved his marks from the combine, running 40 times as fast as 4.33 seconds while also turning in a vertical jump of 37.5 inches. Godfrey will visit with almost a dozen teams before the draft.

Marcus Monk, WR, ArkansasMonk, labeled as a possession wide out, has teams reconsidering that assessment since his pro-day. He blistered in the 40, clocking in the low 4.4-second range, then looked exceptional catching the ball during the practice session. Scouts feel Monk, who was hampered with a knee injury throughout the '07 season, may finally be healthy.

Marcus Buggs, OLB, VanderbiltBuggs, one of the few Vanderbilt prospects not invited to the combine, put on a show for scouts at his workout. The weak side prospect measured 5-foot-11 and 228 pounds, completed 24 reps on the bench, posted a vertical jump of 34-inches, then ran his 40s in the 4.6-second area.

Alvin Bowen, OLB, Iowa StateBowen improved on his disappointing 40 times from the combine by running almost two-tenths faster, clocking 4.65 seconds. His short shuttle time of 4.30 seconds and three-cone time of 7.18 seconds were also solid. Bowen looked outstanding in position drills and was congratulated by a number of scouts for his fine performance.

John Booker, OL, San Jose StateBooker, a college tackle who projects to guard in the NFL, turned a number of heads with his athleticism. He measured 6-foot-4½ and 313 pounds, lighter than expected. He later completed 27 reps on the bench and ran his 40 in a time of 5.10 seconds. Booker's short shuttle time of 4.58 seconds was also impressive.

Brandon Keith, OL, Northern IowaKeith has been rising up draft boards since September and continued the upward movement on Thursday. He measured 6-foot-5, 345 pounds and posted outstanding 40 times which were as fast 4.96 seconds. His size and athleticism has scouts thinking he can start at a number of offensive line positions.

Matt Hewitt, S, ArkansasThe Razorbacks leading tackler put on a show for NFL decision makers, most who came to Fayetteville to watch the Arkansas skill players. He measured 6-foot-2 and 219 pounds then ran his 40 in just under 4.5 seconds. Hewitt was a first-year starter at safety last season and is one of the more underrated defensive backs in the draft.

Steve Korte, RB-FB, x-LSUThe former Tiger, who sat on the sidelines due to academic suspension last season, was the star of LSU's pro-day. He measured 6-foot-1½ and 233 pounds then ran his 40 in as fast as 4.32 seconds. Korte later completed 22 reps on the bench, posted a 34.5 inch vertical jump and 10-2 broad jump. He was a little used special teams player early in his college career but his athleticism is likely to get Korte drafted in the late rounds.

Early Doucet, WR, LSUDoucet, who did not run at the combine because of a hamstring injury, was disappointing in his pre-draft workout. He clocked a pair of 40s in the mid 4.5-second range and was so upset with his times he decided to run a third, only to turn in a 4.64.

Harry Douglas, WR, LouisvilleThe Cardinals slight receiver weighed in at just 177 pounds and could not run below 4.50 seconds in the 40.

Titus Brown, DL-OLB, Mississippi StateBrown, and undersized college defensive end, could not run faster than 4.8 last week. Scouts have concerns whether the 247-pound defender has the speed necessary to play linebacker.

Dwight Lowery, CB, San Jose StateLowery's speed was a major question mark and the opportunistic cornerback has done nothing to quiet the criticism. His times, which ranged in the mid-to-low 4.6-second area on pro-day, were just slightly better than his marks from the combine.

The scouting community is still in shock over the untimely passing of Newberry offensive lineman Heath Benedict. One of the more athletic blockers entering April's draft, Newberry capped off a solid showing at the Senior Bowl with a fine combine performance. By most estimations he was expected to land in the fourth round.

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