Texas Pro Day News and Notes

Breaking down the best and worst from Texas's Pro Day Tuesday.

Kenny Vaccaro

Vaccaro had a hip flexor and wasn't able to re-run his 40-yard dash, a bit of a disappointment after he clocked a 4.63 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine. Vaccaro said afterward he knew that he was capable of more, and that almost all of his attempts at the 40-yard dash in training were in the high 4.4s and low 4.5s. It's not unusual for a player to run significantly better at his Pro Day than at the Combine … Aaron Williams, for instance, ran a 4.56 40-yard dash at the 2011 Combine, then returned back to Austin and clocked in the low 4.4s for his Pro Day. Vaccaro even mentioned how the stress was different between the two events. At the Combine, there's a grueling set of medical exams and interviews behind the scenes before the players even step onto the field, whereas Vaccaro said on his Pro Day, he was able to sleep in his own bed, wake up well-rested and head over shortly before working out.

Vaccaro did earn extra points from the scouts in attendance by putting in a workout in the football-specific drills despite his injury, toughing it out and showing the requisite fight. In fact, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin told Vaccaro that he appreciated the safety working out despite not playing at 100 percent. And it's worth noting that even with his injury, Vaccaro still showed pretty well.


Alex Okafor

Every year, there are draft-eligible players who decry the non-football drills as unnecessary. They are football players, they insist, and no amount of sprinting in compression shorts, rather than pads, can measure their ability level. And while Okafor didn't do poorly in his testing, he was quick to point out that he mostly wanted to impress the scouts in attendance with the job he did in the football-centric drills. And Okafor, speaking after he finished said workouts, said he felt like he did just that.

Okafor measured right at where he was at the Combine, a bit under 6-5 and at 262 pounds, and he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.88 seconds. While that's not an elite time, Okafor's burst was better demonstrated by the fact that he ran a 4.40 short shuttle — the ancient rule of thumb is that if you're running about 0.5 seconds faster in the short shuttle than your 40 time, you have outstanding burst — and had an excellent 36-inch vertical leap.

But Okafor mostly impressed in the football drills, when he showed the change of direction and fluidity that the scouts wanted to see. There's such a blurring of the line between 4-3 defensive ends and 3-4 rush linebackers, and Okafor is being recruited at both roles. So it was important that he showed that he could stand up and play in space. Of course, as a member of Manny Diaz's fire-zone defense, Okafor spent time the last few seasons dropping back into coverage, so that's something not altogether foreign to him.

Many people still feel like Okafor's best fit is as a 4-3 defensive end, but at least he showed on Tuesday that he can fit either system. That can only help his draft grade, especially as teams get desperate for pass-rushers after the initial run on those players occurs in the top 20 picks.


Marquise Goodwin

Goodwin, of course, ran the fastest 40-yard dash time at this year's NFL Combine at 4.27 seconds, and he spent Tuesday upping his other numbers further into the "freak" range. Goodwin posted a fantastic 42-inch vertical leap, and actually hit 44 inches, but had that jump scratched because he shuffled his feet before jumping. Goodwin also had a broad jump of 11-foot-5, another outstanding mark and a jump up a full five inches from Goodwin's 11-0 leap at the Combine.

Had Goodwin jumped 42 inches and 11-5 at the combine, he would have been second in both of those events. The top broad jump was 11-7 by Jamie Collins of Southern Miss, and the No. 1 vertical leap was 43 inches by Texas A&M running back Christine Michael.

One NFL scout in attendance said that with Goodwin's athletic skills, he should find his way into the second day — Rounds Two and Three — of the draft.


Brandon Moore

Moore is one of the more intriguing players to me in this draft class, just because he has the physical talent, but jumped into the draft before anybody really had a chance to gauge that. Moore measured at 6-foot-5 and 317 pounds, and he has the frame and quickness either to play as a three-technique or as the even more valuable nose guard in a 3-4 defense. Moore was battling a hip flexor on Tuesday and still ran a respectable 5.1 seconds in the 40-yard dash, though he let the injury affect him mentally in the bench press, where he put up 24 reps.

Based on those close to Moore's training, he would normally bench 225 pounds over 30 times, and he regularly clocks in the high 4.8s and 4.9s in the 40-yard dash. Sound crazy? Scout.com actually had Moore at a combine when he was in high school, with the burly lineman running a 4.87 40 at 320 pounds, and he started his Alabama career at defensive end in the Crimson Tide's 3-4 scheme.


Other Notes

* Vince Young looked pretty good throwing the ball around, though it should be noted that Young's issues have never been of the physical variety. Texas coach Mack Brown pointed out Young's value in the current day NFL, especially with teams going to more spread-option looks. Brown mentioned that Young was somewhat ahead of his time in terms of when he entered the league versus the proliferation of the offenses that fit his skill set, and added that he hoped Young would get the opportunity to run an NFL team again.

Young's financial issues have been well-covered, and Brown added that he thought Young's case could serve as a cautionary tale for young athletes making big money.


* Texas has had a lot of talk about being more physical in recent years. But it was worth noting that at three of the places where you seal the edge, the Longhorns were undersized. Luke Poehlmann stood taller than 6-6, but weighed in at exactly 290 pounds. And tight ends D.J. Grant and Barrett Matthews each measured under 6-2. That makes it tough for a tight end to hold the kind of weight needed to wall off defensive ends.


* D.J. Monroe is fast. We knew that, of course. But Monroe — who was 5-7 3/4 and 175 pounds — clocked 40-yard dashes of 4.38 and 4.40 seconds. Some NFL team might look at him as a return specialist, and he certainly has showed flashes of his potential there with three kickoff returns for touchdowns in his Texas career. Look for him to make an NFL camp somewhere.


* Some scouts had Texas running back Jeremy Hills as fast as 4.41 seconds in the 40-yard dash. He certainly looked quick running it, and the Texas players in attendance oohed and ahhed when he sprinted past. He wasn't big, weighing in at a scatback-like 203 pounds, but Hills showed the kind of speed you look for.


* It's always interesting to see who comes and works out at those events, as you have the occasional guy who comes back and the occasional surprise. This year, there were both. John Chiles came back and worked out for NFL scouts, the third consecutive year that he's done so. And fellow receiver DeSean Hales also worked out despite not playing his senior year for the Longhorns.


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