Texas Pro Day Preview

With Texas's Pro Day Tuesday, here are three players with their NFL stock on the line.

1) Alex Okafor

Okafor wasn't able to run at the NFL Combine, a shame because many NFL teams see him as a "wide nine", a defensive end basically aligned in an extra-wide nine technique, the defensive line equivalent of playing in space. But the best wide nines in the league are guys with excellent athleticism who can isolate offensive tackles one-on-one, then use their speed and quickness to get to the passer. That's why Tuesday will be important for Okafor. If he puts up an average, or pedestrian, 40-yard dash time (not to mention his short shuttle time), he could slide back into the second round. But if he runs something fast, say, 4.75 seconds or faster with a nice shuttle time, then he could push into the bottom third of the first round.


2) Brandon Moore

Moore received a pretty crushing blow in that he wasn't invited to the NFL Scouting Combine. While it wasn't necessarily a given that he would be — Moore wasn't even a full-time starter at Texas, and his early entry surprised his defensive tackle mates — missing out on that opportunity to go against the best defensive tackles in the draft on one field took away his chance to show up impressively. Moore had moments of dominance when he was locked in at Texas, and he could still develop into a good professional player. Coming out of high school, he was a guy that always tested extremely well, and if he comes out and looks good while running a sub-5.0 40-yard dash or so, then his stock could jump up. There's a smaller ceiling now for that jump because of the combine pseudo-snub, but big guys who move well — especially somebody with the body to fill in as a 3-4 nose tackle — are always at a premium. Conditioning was an issue at Texas, so just showing up in great shape would be a fantastic start.


3) Vince Young

Talent is the great equalizer, and in his legs, Young has a talent that is coveted by the NFL right now in its spread option craze. That's not to say that with a great performance, Young would be scooped up by a team to be its starting quarterback for 2013. But his skill set is intriguing enough to earn some interest as a developmental backup if he can prove that his head is screwed on tightly. I had one NFL personnel type tell me that Young had too much baggage. But if guys like Pac Man Jones are any indication, the league in general is willing to overlook character flaws if the talent is malleable (and Young's transgressions are exceedingly minor compared to Jones's). Young is expected to work out, but the bigger part will be his interactions with NFL staffers. Will he be able to convince them that he's worth another chance? Stay tuned.


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