Pro Day Tour: Packers See Several Linebackers
The key stop on Friday's pro day circuit was Texas A&M, which has three linebackers worth consideration for the Green Bay Packers. At this point in the draft process, there might not be a more interesting case than Damontre Moore. Moore (6-4, 250) ended the season considered a possible top-five pick after registering 12.5 sacks, 21 tackles for losses and two blocked kicks. Then came a horrible Scouting Combine, in which he ran a plodding 4.95 in the 40 and put up just 12 reps on the 225-pound bench press. Friday's pro day wasn't a whole lot better. Limited by the hamstring injury that sabotaged his Combine, Moore skipped the 40 and aggravated the injury during his three-cone drill. Moore did improve to 19 reps on the bench. (Several agents — though not Joby Branion, who represents Moore, it must be pointed out — said the Cybex test, which measures a player's joint movement, left several players' hamstrings at less than 100 percent and led to numerous head-scratching 40-yard times.) Now, the question is, where does Moore fall to in the first round? And would he be in play for the Packers at No. 26, or are they content with last year's first-round pick, Nick Perry? Another linebacker, Sean Porter, would be an interesting addition in the third round. Porter (6-1, 229), a three-year starter, played inside in a 3-4 scheme when Mike Sherman was the Aggies' coach. He lopped more than one-tenth of a second off of his Combine time of 4.75. Porter, however, is suited to play on the weak side, which is where Desmond Bishop roams. Jonathan Stewart (6-4, 242) is flying under the radar, even with his 4.68 at the Combine and a 4.55 on Friday. He led the team with 98 tackles as a junior and was second with 81 as a senior. Running back Christine Michael (5-10, 220) is the type of big body, three-down back the Packers would love to have, but he got in the doghouse as a senior and then slept through two formal Combine interviews. Michael told reporters on Friday that he was sick and was taking nighttime cold medicine. There's no doubting his ability: He ran a 4.54 at the Combine with a whopping 43-inch vertical. At receiver, Ryan Swope (6-0) lit up the Combine with a 4.34 in the 40. On Friday, less-heralded Uzoma Nwachukwu (5-11) ran 4.42 with a 39.5-inch vertical. Here are the other schools where Packer Report was told the Packers sent their scouts on Friday: Southern Mississippi As Packers outside linebackers coach Kevin Greene likes to point out, playing his position requires a diverse skill-set because he might be rushing the passer against a 320-pound offensive tackle on one play and covering a wide receiver 30 yards downfield on the next. Therein likes the intrigue with Jamie Collins (6-4, 250), who had 10 sacks and 20 tackles for losses as a senior hybrid end/linebacker after starting his college career at safety. Collins stood on his Combine numbers — all impressive, with a 4.64 in the 40 and an explosive 41.5-inch vertical — and sailed through position drills as a 4-3 end and 3-4 linebacker. Playing for a dreadful team, Collins got lost in the shuffle. With his dominant offseason, he'd be a tempting selection for the Packers if he were available in Round 2. Ohio State Perhaps the biggest star of the day was late-round tight end Jake Stoneburner (6-3, 252), who said he heard he finished the 40-yard dash in anywhere between 4.52 and 4.55 seconds, depending on who was doing the timing. That shaved one-tenth off of his Scouting Combine time of 4.65, which still placed fourth among tight ends. "I feel like I did every single thing I could," he told BuckeyeSports.com. "I wanted to run a faster 40 and I wanted to catch every ball. They actually let me freelance a little bit on my routes. At the Combine, we did just a couple of curls and a corner route. I want to be able to show I can run and catch the ball." Among other players who had participated in the Combine, offensive tackle Reid Fragel had an impressive day to move into midround consideration. "He was the talk of the pro day," a source said. Having been working out with former OSU star LeCharles Bentley the past few weeks, the offensive tackle showed off his footwork, strength and fitness working out with former Glenville State offensive lineman Mark Jackson, a Columbus native who was the only non-Buckeye to take part. "I just wanted to come out here and show more consistent footwork in my pass protection," Fragel said. "I really feel more comfortable after working with LeCharles out in Arizona the last three months." Zach Boren, the fullback-turned-linebacker, worked out only on offense during the main part of the day while doing special teams work in later individual drills. Another possible outside linebacker is Nate Williams, who ran in the low 4.7s. Coach Urban Meyer called him the best player on his defense. The Buckeyes' top prospect, defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins (6-3, 320), took part only in position drills. Afterward, he said he hopes to continue to work his way back into the first round, where many had projected him to go before he chose to forgo his senior season at OSU. Arizona State The Sun Devils' best prospect, linebacker Brandon Magee (5-11, 223), is too small for the Packers' tastes at that position but did some work at safety and looked "fluid and smooth," according to a source. Their second-best prospect is safety Keelan Johnson (6-0, 209). Johnson, a first-year starter, finished among the national leaders with five interceptions. He ran a 4.54 at the Combine and improved that by a few-hundredths of a second. Florida Atlantic FAU has a couple of free agent prospects. Quarterback Graham Wilbert (6-5, 225) completed 64.4 percent for 2,819 yards, with 18 touchdowns and just six interceptions. Receiver Duron Carter, the son of Hall of Fame receiver Cris Carter, spent his freshman season at Ohio State, transferred to a junior college, then moved on to Alabama before the 2011 season but was not cleared to play. He then transferred to Florida Atlantic, but he wasn't granted eligibility by the NCAA so sat out 2012, as well. He left school a year early. At 6-foot-3, he offers great size. But his lone FBS-level college production was his 13 receptions at Ohio State in 2009. Carter reportedly worked out at Florida International's pro day on Thursday. The Packers were at that one, too. Carter ran about 4.50 and showed some of the ability that made him a former five-star recruit, according to a source. Northern Illinois The Huskies have three free-agent prospects. Defensive end Sean Progar was a mainstay on the Orange Bowl defense, as was linebacker Tyrone Clark. Progar, an outside linebacker candidate in a 3-4 scheme, tallied 8.5 sacks and 10.5 tackles for losses as a senior. Clark, an inside linebacker, had 86 tackles, including 10 for losses, and broke up seven passes. Clark (5-10, 224) was impressive with a 4.55, a 35.5-inch vertical and 17 reps on the bench. Receiver Martel Moore (6-0, 189) had a monster senior season with 75 catches, 1,083 yards and 13 touchdowns. Moore ran as fast as 4.48 with a 35-inch vertical. Missouri State Randy Richards (6-3, 312) was a FCS All-American right tackle. He's projected to play guard in the NFL. Tight end Matt Thayer (6-3, 240) caught 38 passes for 294 yards and a touchdown as a senior. No results were available. Thursday follow-up: Florida International The Packers enter this draft with a need for an impact safety, and one player who has to be high on their list is Jonathan Cyprien. Cyprien (6-0, 217) made a name for himself at the Senior Bowl as a safety willing to hit but with the speed to cover deep. After doing just the vertical jump at the Combine (38.5 inches), Cyprien ran "under 4.6" on Thursday, according to FOXSports.com's Alex Marvez. A second-round possibility, Cyprien tallied 93 tackles, four interceptions, 3.5 tackles for losses and one forced fumble as a senior. A late-round prospect who is generating plenty of buzz is Tourek Williams. Williams (6-3, 260) earned first-team all-conference honors as a senior defensive end with 6.5 sacks, 14.5 tackles for losses and two forced fumbles. A source said he ran a 4.6 and looked "great" in linebacker drills. Agree or disagree?: Discuss hot Packers topics in our, free forums. Leave Bill a question in the subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. 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