Halliday, Mayle make their case to NFL scouts

PULLMAN — Part two of WSU’s pro day took place on Wednesday. This time, it was just quarterback Connor Halliday and wide receiver Vince Mayle working out in front of NFL scouts on Rogers Practice Field. It was the first time Halliday threw in the public eye since last October, and Halliday compared it to reuniting with a best friend after a lengthy absence.

Both Halliday and Mayle made their case on Wednesday - Halliday was accurate in tough conditions and Mayle put up a much better 40 time than he did at the combine.

NFL Scouts from Carolina, Miami, Atlanta, Tennessee, Kansas City, Seattle, New England, Pittsburgh, and San Francisco were all in attendance to watch Halliday and Mayle work out. Washington’s general manager, Scot McCloughan was present.

“I threw it all right,” Halliday said after his workout. “I missed a few, it wasn’t as good as some of our warmups and sessions we’ve gone through, but every throw I took I threw in the wind… I think the scouts will appreciate that and you know, I’m happy with it.”

Indeed, it was a cold, windy morning out on the Palouse for Halliday and Mayle’s audition -- even a a few intermittent snowflakes were blowing around. But Halliday said the weather conditions are part of the game.

“I’ve been doing this ever since I was a little kid, you know I’m from Spokane, played football here (in Pullman) so it doesn’t affect me,” Halliday said. “It does affect the ball a little bit so that is what it is and every ball I threw, I threw into the wind.”

Halliday said he was afforded the opportunity to throw in the indoor practice facility, but chose to throw outside, completing 64 of 70 passes. The six incompletions were mostly drops from where I stood.

Halliday began the day by throwing short screen passes to former teammates Theron West and Marcus Mason.

He followed that up by throwing more deeper passes to Mayle, former Cougar wide receiver and current Portland Thunder (AFL) wide receiver Jeffrey Solomon, and former Eastern Washington WR Cory Mitchell. Halliday hit the majority of his receivers on point, but under threw a couple deep balls. He also took a few snaps from under center and threw out of the pocket and on the run to show his mobility.

Former Seattle Seahawks quarterback and Washington Redskins head coach Jim Zorn was in attendance at the pro day and helped lead the passing drill. Halliday said Zorn’s been helping him prepare for the NFL.

“Coach Zorn has been huge for me footwork wise, film wise, on the board wise, so I owe a lot of (thanks) to him and I think I showed that I’ll make the transition,” said Halliday.

Halliday and Zorn have known each other for a while, with Halliday saying Zorn officially reached out to him during a spring practice last year at WSU, offering to help him (Halliday) prepare for the NFL once his career at Washington State was over.

When asked about the status of his leg (Halliday broke the tibula and fibia) Halliday said he’s close to being back to 100 percent.

“I’m right around there -- I don’t know if I’m quite 100 percent yet, but damn near,” said Halliday.

MEANWHILE, Mayle’s day began with him running the 40 yard dash. His first time was a 4.7 but his third attempt was a keeper -- a 4.5.

“I feel I did better (in the 40 yard dash here) than the combine,” Mayle said. “First one, I wasn’t warm and I had to fix that.”

Mayle lined up mostly on the left side of the ball and caught 15 of the 17 Halliday threw his way and looked solid.

One of Mayle’s drops came when he ran a curl route, the other drop was on a deep ball from Halliday.

Asked about his thumb injury, Mayle said there’s still pain but he just has to fight through it. There is no set timetable for when he can get back to lifting and doing other football drills that require high thumb usage, but said he will visit the doctor soon to get everything checked out again.

In preparation for this pro day, and the draft, Mayle said he’s been working out with NFL wide receiver and former MVP of Super Bowl XLII Santonio Holmes in Orlando. He’s also been in contact every day with former WSU outside receivers coach Dennis Simmons.

Mayle said Holmes has helped him particularly in running routes and in how an NFL player should workout year-round.

  • Cougar players in attendance included Charleston White, Jamal Morrow, Kache Palacio, Jeremiah Allison, Dom Williams, Gabe Marks, Destiny Vaeao and Ivan McLennan. Xavier Cooper, who could be the first Cougar selected in the NFL draft, was also on hand.

  • Mayle said he’ll be in Hawaii for draft day and will not watch the draft unfold.

  • Halliday said NFL representatives have told him he could be taken anywhere between the high fourth round to undrafted. Mayle said he’s chosen to not listen to the projections of where he’ll be taken in the draft.

  • Washington State SID announced today SAM linebacker Parker Henry has been placed on scholarship.

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