April 03, 2008

The pro-day schedule for 2008 is now in the books, but it finished with a bang. Last weeks final slate of workouts saw something seldom witnessed in the past month at pro-day workouts -- a lot of speed from skill position players.

Chauncey Washington, RB, USCWashington, for the most part considered a second-tier running back, was the star of USC's pro-day. He weighed 218 pounds, then averaged 4.35 seconds in the 40. His second attempt timed at 4.32 which brought a large cheer from scouts and fans in attendance. Washington's performance solidified him as a top-75 pick and there's a good chance he could break into the second round.

Keith Rivers, OLB, USCRivers was overshadowed by his teammate yet make no mistake about it: the linebacker looked every bit the part of being a top 10 choice. His vertical jump of 42 inches was outstanding as were his 40 times, which clocked below 4.6 seconds. Rivers later looked terrific in position drills.

Donnie Avery, WR, HoustonAvery, who struggled with a hamstring injury at the combine, wowed scouts earlier this week with his speed and quickness. His 40 times were fast, clocking between 4.32-4.35, and his three-cone time of 6.29 was amazing. His performance in the three cone was almost .3 faster than the next best turned in by any receiver at the combine.

Ryan Grice-Mullin, WR, HawaiiThe Rainbow receiver sizzled in the 40, running in the mid 4.3s, almost .2 better than his combine times. His 32.5-inch vertical jump and 10'2" broad jump were also significantly better than his marks from Indianapolis. Grice-Mullin also caught the ball well in position drills before tweaking a hamstring.

Marcellous Johnson, S, Arkansas St.Johnson stood on his fast 40 times from the combine, yet posted a 37-inch vertical jump and 10'8" broad, both improvements over his performance in the RCA Dome. His position workout was outstanding as Johnson displayed top ball skills. Scouts feel there's a good chance he will be the second safety selected in the draft.

Devone Bess, WR, HawaiiBess, who ran disappointingly slow at the combine, improved his 40 time by almost .3. His official pro-day time was 4.49 seconds, yet Bess hurt his hamstring 35 yards into the run. Scouts suggested had Bess been able to finish the 40 at full speed, his time would've timed in the low 4.4 area.

Shawn McMackin, OL, HofstraMcMackin, one of the biggest sleepers in April's draft, is building buzz in scouting circles. He completed 40 reps on the bench during his first pro-day then ran the 40 in 4.81 seconds and added some very swift shuttle times at a second workout this week. McMackin, who weighs 295 pounds, has played every position on the offensive line in college and is now getting consideration in the late rounds.

Kentwan Balmer, DT, North CarolinaBalmer, an enormously talented prospect who was an underachiever in college, continues to annoy scouts with his apathetic attitude. His 40 time last week on a fast track was an improvement over his combine mark. Yet Balmer refused to run a second 40, claiming he hurt his hamstring, an ailment many questioned. He later proceeded to take part in position drills which left scouts scratching their heads.

Sam Baker, OL, USCBaker significantly damaged his draft stock this week as he looked slow and sluggish during pro-day. His 40 times were as slow at 5.50. He barely got under the eight-second mark in the three cone and looked unimpressive in position drills. Scouts came away thinking he has little opportunity to play tackle in the NFL. Baker was considered a late first round prospect at one time but could now slip into the third frame.

Jason Rivers, WR, HawaiiRivers ran a disappointing 40 of 4.57 seconds, just fractionally faster than his combine mark of 4.59 seconds. His vertical jump was uninspired at 32 inches, as was his pass-catching workout, which saw him drop a number of catchable throws.

Chilo Rachal, G, USCThe Trojans junior guard looked stiff, unathletic and out of shape. He chose to rest on his 40 times from the combine even though they averaged a pedestrian 5.3 seconds.

The pro-days may be finished, but there are still a pair of important workout dates league scouts have circled. Two injured Oklahoma Sooners, wide receiver Malcolm Kelly and defensive back Reggie Smith, will draw a large crowd in Norman for their April 9 workout. Kelly is trying to solidify himself as a mid first-round selection, while Smith could be chosen soon after with a good outing. Tennessee Volunteer offensive lineman Eric Young is fully healed from the torn quadriceps tendon which has sidelined him since mid-October and has a workout scheduled in Knoxville on April 15.

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