Three Buckeyes Work Out For Pros

Today is the day that Maurice Clarett finally worked out for pro scouts, but Chris Gamble and Drew Carter were showing their stuff as well. How did they do? Dave Biddle talked with some pro personnel after the event to find out.

Maurice Clarett, Drew Carter and Chris Gamble worked out for NFL coaches and scouts on Monday at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. Twenty-seven teams were represented, leaving just five that did not make the trip to Columbus.

Needless to say, Clarett was the talk of the day. He by no means "wowed" the scouts with his performance, but he didn't hurt himself either.

"There's not much I can say," Washington Redskins scout Shemy Schembechler (Bo's son) said. "Clarett worked out hard. He did pretty well. Showed good change of direction."

Clarett's weight was a big issue at the combine, even though it was 237, just seven pounds over his playing weight. Well, those extra pounds have apparently disappeared.

"Yeah, he lost some weight from the combine," Schembechler said. "He looked pretty good today."

Former Buckeye Paul Warfield, a consultant with the Dallas Cowboys, was also in attendance.

"I thought (Clarett) did fine," Warfield said. "I think he was in fairly good shape. His weight was down from the combine. He looked a little tired in some instances, but he was the only back working out."

Warfield was one of the few scouts that didn't mind going on the record with some comments. We asked him how Clarett did in his various drills.

"He did very well," Warfield said. "I believe he did 19 reps (of 225 pounds) on the bench and he did the drills well, I felt. His 40 time was right around 4.6."

Warfield does not think that 4.6 might be a little slow for NFL tailback standards.

"No, it doesn't give me any concern," he said. "At least for one year, he's a proven player, in terms of his running ability. He finds things and reads blocks exceptionally well and played in one of the best conferences in college football. You look at his production and it tells you a lot."

Clarett will probably be a second-round pick (if he's actually in the draft), but Warfield wasn't handing out predictions on Monday.

"I can't make that projection right now," he said. "We still have to look at a few things."

Detroit Lions scout Tom Rathman, the former All-Pro fullback of the San Francisco 49ers, also took some time to talk to reporters. Like Warfield, Rathman had no problem giving his true opinion on Clarett.

"I don't think he ran real well, but his tape shows he's faster than what he ran today," Rathman said. "His skill drills were fine. Didn't have any problem with that. He has the ability to run the football, obviously we all know that.

"The main concern was his ability to catch the football. But the old quarterback there couldn't quite get it to him, and that was me. But, he caught the ball good enough. Obviously, he needs to develop in that phase of the game, but he's good enough to play."

Rathman was asked if he learned anything new about Clarett today.

"Probably that he has better hands than what it shows on film," he said. "Like I said, he still needs to develop in that phase, but obviously he's going to be a bell cow for somebody. He's got that kind of ability. It's just a matter of him developing as a football player."

Rathman disregarded any concerns about Clarett's weight.

"Weight's not a concern," he said. "Shoot, I've been around backs that are 240 before. (49ers starter) Kevan Barlow is a 235, 240 back. Very similar. I don't think that's a concern. I think (Clarett) was at 230 today."

Rathman clocked Clarett at 4.63 in the 40. He was asked if that might be a concern.

"No, that's fast for this year's backs," he said.

He means fast for a big back, right?

"No, for any back," Rathman said. "There's not a lot of speed this year for running backs, so 4.6 was good. Like I said, you put the film on and he's not a 4.6 guy. He plays faster than 4.6.

"I went up and worked out (Virginia Tech's) Kevin Jones also and he ran a 4.6. He plays faster than 4.6 and same thing with (Michigan's) Chris Perry. He plays faster than what his times are. It's a lot easier to run fast when you've got someone chasing you, as opposed to running by yourself on a track. So, I don't think there's a concern with any of those guys with their speed. The bottom line is their abilities to create as runners and I think all those guys have that ability."

Rathman did list one aspect of Clarett's game that needs some work.

"You'd like to see a little more explosion," he said.

Clarett might have turned off some NFL scouts by not working out at the combine, but he did everything that was asked of him on Monday.

"He did all the workout today," Rathman said. "Obviously, you would have liked to have seen him workout at the combine, but he did what he needed to do today. He didn't hurt himself, but I don't want to necessarily say he helped himself either. I think you evaluate the film and that's what you're getting."

Rathman thinks that Clarett has a very high football IQ.

"We interviewed him at the combine," he said. "He's a very intelligent kid. When you talk about X's and O's, I don't know if I've ever seen a kid that bright, only playing one year of college football, having the mentality and knowing what he knows as far as the X's and O's. Very intelligent from that standpoint."

* As for Gamble, once again he did not run well for the scouts.

"He was in the 4.5's," Warfield said.

But that doesn't seem to be a big concern for Warfield, the last OSU player to start both ways before Gamble did it in 2002.

"I don't think his 40 time is a big issue," You try to measure how players play and he plays very well defensively."

Gamble told reporters during the 2003 season that he could consistently run the 40 in 4.3. That might have been wishful thinking on his part considering he hasn't been able to do any better than 4.5 for the scouts on two occasions (also ran at OSU's pro day last month).

* We couldn't get a specific 40 time on Carter, but all indications are that he did pretty well on Monday.

"I heard Drew ran good," OSU safety Tyler Everett said. "I was only in there when they were catching balls and he looked real good. Same old Drew."

Most NFL scouts were there to see Clarett (and maybe Gamble again), but Carter might be a late-round sleeper.

"He's someone you have to keep your eye on – he was a productive starter until that injury," Cincinnati Bengals running backs coach Jim Anderson said (Anderson did not want to divulge Carter's times, or talk about Clarett).

One scout gave Carter a so-so grade.

"Carter looks OK," Schembechler said.

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