Arizona State Pro Day Recap

Arizona State held its annual Pro Day on Friday at Sun Devil Stadium as 19 graduating seniors and a handful of former players worked out in front of scouts from 25 NFL teams. For some players, it was a follow-up to last month's NFL Combine workout in Indianapolis, while for others it was their first opportunity to showcase their skills to the scouts.

Players began the day inside the Barbara and Nap Lawrence Strength Center where they were put through a light workout before heading out to Frank Kush Field for a series of individual and group drills.

Defensive lineman Davon Coleman was one of the players who stood out the most in the weight room, putting up a team-high 35 reps on the bench press. Coleman, who finished his career at Arizona State with 166 tackles and 16 sacks, told the media afterwards that he's added some additional weight since the end of last season, tilting the scales today at 297 pounds, 14 more than he played at in 2013.

"I wanted to put on additional weight, good weight," said Coleman. "They said I had a good workout, even though my hip flexor wasn't where I wanted it to be. But I still gave it my all and I think I prepared myself well for this situation."

Coleman, who ran an unofficial 5.20 and 5.08 forty times later in the day, admitted it felt "surreal" to work out in front of NFL scouts but felt he performed well and was pleased with the feedback he received.

"I actually didn't want to block it out," he commented. "I actually wanted it in my face. I think I (perform) a little bit better under pressure. I just use it as motivation to push myself."

Coleman is still waiting to hear back from other teams but indicated that he has an interview set up with the Dallas Cowboys on April 16th.

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Another weight room standout on Friday was safety Alden Darby. While he was unable to bench press due to a minor shoulder injury he recently suffered, Darby posted a 33.5 inch vertical jump, second only to Marlon Pollard at 36.5.

"They all love me and love my character and my work ethic," said Darby. "They know I can play so it's a matter of who wants me."

Unlike some of his teammates, Darby was not invited to last month's combine workout, but he didn't let that keep him down. Darby registered a 4.46 forty time and impressed in group workouts, earning high praise from some of the scouts in attendance.

"My path is different and everything happens for a reason," he remarked. "I can't sit and be mad. A lot of people were like, 'You should be there,' but it is what it is in my eyes and I'm not going to sit there and stress about it. I wish I could have been there, but hey, it is what it is.

"I just wanted to go out there and show them in my position work that I was fluid in my hips, I have great ball skills, and that I'm a good DB that's athletic. It's pretty exciting and it's all a blessing from God."

Darby, who has been working out in California and plans to return there after the weekend, has a visit set up with the New England Patriots next month and is talking to both the Arizona Cardinals and Chicago Bears about visits as well.

"The Chargers coach asked if I could play all three and I said I can play corner, nickel, and safety," he added. "It's really wherever they need me and I'll play. Whichever one they want me at, I'll fine-tune my techniques and I'll make it happen."

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Darby was joined by a pair of his fellow Bird Gang teammates in Osahon Irabor and Robert Nelson as well.

Irabor, a four year starter and member of the All-Pac-12 Second Team in 2013, reported at 190 pounds today, nearly 10 pounds more than last season.

"I lost some body fat and gained some muscle," he said. "I'm trying to be in the 190's and just stay around there."

After declining to lift weights in the first half of the session, Irabor posted a 4.48 forty time and excelled during group workouts, drawing rave reviews.

"Some of the scouts were just walking up to me, telling me they liked my film," Irabor added. "I had really good film. And then a couple of them were saying, 'I can't believe you weren't at the combine.' It's just funny to hear all that.

"My position is all about technique; being able to move your feet, footwork, jumping in and out of your breaks, having loose hips. Showing them that is the most important part. So for DB's, the drills at the end were kind of the icing on the cake. You've got to show them you can get in and out of your breaks, have loose hips, and can change directions. So overall it was a good day."

Nelson, who posted a team-high six interceptions and was named to the All-Pac-12 First Team in 2013, also did not lift in front of the scouts but posted a 4.45 forty time, the best of all 19 participating seniors (LeQuan Lewis unofficially had the best time of the day with a 4.34).

"I was aiming for 4.2," said Nelson. "I always aim faster. I expected to get a 4.3 but it didn't happen. I feel like I did great in my position drills. I dropped three balls and I don't usually do that but for the most part I did great."

Nelson said he doesn't have any visits planned with any of the teams who were on hand Friday but felt he received positive feedback from the scouts, both on his workout and breakthrough senior season.

"They told me I was a great player," he added. "They enjoyed watching my film and how I was a ball hawk; going into the air and getting the ball and doing what I do afterwards, and playing special teams."

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Another Sun Devil standout on Friday was Devil backer Carl Bradford, who after a less than stellar combine showing, wowed nearly everyone on at Sun Devil Stadium.

After registering a 122 inch broad jump and a 37.5 inch vertical at the combine, Bradford opted not to participate in the weight room but ran an unofficial 4.64 forty which was significantly faster than his 4.75 time at the combine.

"I was satisfied with it," said Bradford of his workout. "My forty, I think, improved from the combine. That was something that I wanted to come out here and prove, that I'm faster than a 4.75 or whatever I had there."

Bradford worked out with the linebackers and even jumped in during a few drills with the defensive linemen as well, demonstrating his versatility.

"I had my hand in the dirt in more rush end playing here so I kind of wanted to show them that I could drop, swing my hips, and play linebacker," he remarked. "They loved the way I move. They loved the way I came out here and did the drills and synced my hips and was coachable, so they had all positive things to say.

"It's a blessing to be here and be in this predicament. It's amazing. A lot of guys don't get this opportunity so once I get it, I'm grabbing it and going with it. So, I'm very excited and humble about it."

Bradford, who had been working out in Irvine, CA since the end of the season, said he intends to stay in the Valley until the draft. The two-year star has been in talks with various teams, including an invitation from the Cardinals to visit their facility, but indicated that he has not yet arranged any meetings.

"I got positions from across the board - from rush end to SAM linebacker to WILL," he said. "I even got three-technique in passing downs and fullback. And that's another reason why I wanted to come here and show them that I can play everything. The more I can do, the better I can be."

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On the offensive side of the ball, tight end Chris Coyle struggled posting the numbers he sought but made up for them with a strong showing during group workouts.

Coyle, who ranks third on the school's all-time receptions list for tight ends, put up 16 reps on the bench press and an unofficial 4.90 forty time.

"Today went pretty well," he said. "There were some numbers that I know I could have done better at but I came out here and did my best and showed the type of player I was, especially the position drills. I knew that was definitely where I was going to do real well and that's what a lot of scouts told me they wanted to see.

"I definitely made sure I did really in that and I was impressed that I was able to break it down and caught everything that came my way. So I'm happy with how with I did."

Coyle said he's been in contact with 13-14 teams since the season ended and really just wants a chance to prove he belongs at the next level.

"From what I've talked to with teams, they really want to use me in the same way that we did here, as that H-back," he added. "Sort of that guy who does a little bit of slot receiver, a move tight end, shifting around a little bit. A guy who can get to the edge and get the advantage on those linebackers on those edge blocks and that's what I do best.

"They're definitely looking to utilize me for that and also special teams. I want to get on as many special teams as possible and just kind of get my foot in the door and work my way up from there."

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One player that did not participate much on Friday was running back Marion Grice, who scheduled his own Pro Day on April 8th to give him more time to train after suffering a broken tibia late in the season.

"I'm 100 percent," said Grice. "There's nothing bothering me right now. I just need more training. I just knew I was injured but I'm fine now. I can run, so that's what I'm pretty excited about. I can run routes and catch the ball, so now I just need to put in the work and train."

Grice declined to lift or run the forty in front of scouts but did join the other running backs and wide receivers in pass catching drills.

The Houston native was one of the few Sun Devils invited to last month's combine and even though he couldn't participate then either, Grice attended the event to gauge the interest of NFL teams and set the record straight about his injury.

"I just went to the combine to do a lot of interviews," he commented. "I wanted to get a feel for the teams that were interested in to me. I did a lot of interviews and showed them I knew all the plays and the protection and talked about background things and stuff.

"Some of the guys didn't know about the tibia fracture. Some of them thought it was an ankle injury so I told them about the tibia fracture. And then protection. The main thing they wanted to know if I can protect and that I know a lot about picking up the different reads and protection and I proved to them that I can do that.

"I just want to get picked. I just want a job offer."

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Pro Day Notes Player bench press results: Coleman (35), Gannon Conway (30), Evan Finkenberg (26), Jake Sheffield (25), Steffon Martin (24), Darwin Rogers (23), Chris Coyle (16), Anthony Jones (16), Granville Taylor (16), Chris Young (15), R.J. Robinson (14), and Kevin Ozier (10).

Player 40 times (unofficial): Alonzo Agwuenu (4.52), Carl Bradford (4.64), Coleman (5.20), Conway (4.80), Coyle (4.90), Darby (4.46), Finkenberg (5.20), Irabor (4.48), Jones (4.87), Martin (4.61), Nelson (4.45), Ozier (4.46), Pollard (4.63), Robinson (4.78), Rogers (4.79), Sheffield (5.30), Sutton (5.10), Taylor (4.76), Young (4.75), L. Lewis (4.34, Mike Willie 4.62, Justin Tryon (4.43), Derek Hagan (4.65), Ryan McFoy (4.72).


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