Ex-Sun Devils Improve Stock on Pro Day

Under the watchful eyes of more than a dozen NFL scouts, outgoing senior ASU players were trying to state their case of being selected in the NFL draft next month. For some of them, a solid showing in the league's combine last month led to a limited participation today on the Sun Devil campus. Others had a strong showing that could improve their chances of playing on Sundays.

Running back Ryan Torain was one player that was probably the most eager for today's event. A Liz Franc foot injury not only cut his sensational senior campaign short, but also put his availability for the NFL combine in doubt. Ultimately he did participate in that important event and although he didn't partake in all the drills, Torain said that he was pleased with his performance.

"Overall I thought I did great. The interviews, the testing, the interviews showing my personality…I felt good about everything," he said. "I had to be careful about what I'm gonna do there and deciding to run there was a big, big decision on my part."

After running 4.64 seconds in 40-yard dash in the Indianapolis event, a healthier Torain improved considerably clocking at 4.49 today in Tempe. "I'm gonna keep training hard and the sky in the limit," he stated about improving his speed before the NFL draft. "I'm still not 100% on my agility yet but if I'm invited I'll be ready to participate in an NFL mini-camp after the draft."

In the NFL combine the 6-1 222 running back also had a 34-inch vertical leap.

Safety Josh Barrett showcased his blazing speed in the combine coming in at a 4.33 which was best among all safeties in that event. Thus, for obvious reasons he didn't run again at Pro Day and just got measured (6-2 225) and participated in position drills where he excelled.

Barrett smiled when asked if his reward for the combine performance was sitting out portions of Pro Day. He added that even though his speed at ASU was well documented that he still managed to surprise some pundits with his performance in Indianapolis.

"I prepared hard for the combine and I did what I wanted to do," he commented. "I expected to run that fast, but a lot of people thought I was gonna run a 4.5. But it's just a number. You don't play the game in shorts and it's not like I had more teams talk to me after I ran the 40 than before I ran. I was excited to run that time, and I hope that because of that teams will pay more attention to my game film."

Another former ASU player that shined in the combine, and was a consensus top three performer in his position was center Mike Pollak. The writing was perhaps on the wall, when the Tempe Corona del Sol standout was praised for his Senior Bowl performance.

"I feel that I preformed very well at the combine and I was happy with what I did there,' said Pollak. "I put up good numbers my entire career; I worked out very hard after the season, so I can't say I was surprised with how I performed."

Pollak described the combine as an event where down time is non-existent. "You're always doing something," he remarked. "You're up early in the day and you still got stuff going on late at night." During Pro Day it wasn't uncommon for scouts to approach players unannounced asking them to diagram plays and coverages and/or answer questions about schemes. "Teams were asking me to draw up a running or passing play and I had to go through the entire thing with them," he recalled. "Being a center it was easy for me to do that."

Just like ASU fans were wondering during the 2007 season why the Sun Devil offense gave up so much sacks, so did NFL scouts. "That was probably the number one question I was asked in the combine," Pollak admitted. "They were ware of it and just wanted to get my opinion of it and some of the reasons behind that."

The center said that he wasn't happy with what he did in the combine in terms of the vertical jump, and this was happy that he was able to better that mark today which now stands at 28. On the other hand, he came in at 29 bench reps at the combine and since he was happy with that number he didn't lift during Pro Day.

Experts have stated that the draft isn't deep at center, and that Pollak should one of the first players to be selected at his position. "I know my capabilities and I think my performance at the combine did show I was the top guy (at center) over there," said Pollak. "Everyone had their opinion so we'll see what happens."

In other notes from Pro Day Justin Tryon shaved some of his 40 time and after running a 4.5 at the combine, was clocked at 4.42 today. He looked exceptionally well in position drill displaying good footwork and consistently catching the ball in interception-like drills. After completing 21 bench press repetitions, the second-most among cornerbacks in the combine, Tryon also didn't lift today.

Bad luck continued to plague Robert James. The linebacker, who pulled up lame during his 40-yard dash in Indianapolis, pulled a hamstring after his first 40-yard dash in Tempe. He was clocked at 4.67. Offensive lineman Rodd had the same injury as James after coming in at 5.14, but did however record 28 bench reps.

Tyrice Thompson and Rudy Burgess exhibited their athleticism as the both registered a 38-inch vertical. In the 40 both ran in the in the high 4.6's.

Former Sun Devils Levi Jones, Delvon Flowers, Riccardo Stewart and Mike Pinkard were in attendance, as well as the ASU coaching staff.

The seven-round NFL Draft will be held April 26-27 inside New York City's Radio City Music Hall.

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