Cougs look to impress pro scouts today

PULLMAN — Jerome Harrison is a sure thing and Troy Bienemann is probably close, but for the rest of the outgoing Cougar senior football players, today may represent their best shot at drawing a serious look from the NFL. It's Pro Day on the Palouse, as scouts from a number of teams put prospects through their paces.

Only three Cougars – tailback Harrison, linebacker Will Derting and tight end Bienemann – were invited to the NFL scouting combine, which was held last month. For those who didn't get to show their skills at that time, Pro Day is like a mini-combine, where scouts travel to numerous NCAA schools to conduct workouts and measure a prospect's 40-yard dash, vertical leap and bench press, among others.

Wide receiver Greg Prator is one such player who can benefit from Pro Day.

While he has the physical tools to play for pay, Prator didn't have much of an opportunity to show it on the field. With only two years to prove himself at the D-1 level after transferring from junior college, Prator's totals for the '05 season (seven receptions, 132 yards, two touchdowns) read like a typical autumn Saturday for Cougars star Jason Hill.

Despite the lack of playing time, however, Prator believes he has a chance at the pros, even if it's not right away.

He stands a solid 6-foot-1 and 214 pounds; about the same size as ex-Coug and current Baltimore Ravens receiver Devard Darling. In practices, Prator displayed strength and an ability to create space for himself against defensive backs.

"I plan to impress the scouts with my size, 40 time and shuttle (run) time, as well as my bench press," Prator told a few days ago. "I plan to keep getting better after this, just in case I get a shot."

Kyle Basler, meanwhile, had plenty of chances to show his talent on the field. The award-winning punter amassed almost 10,800 yards on boots over four seasons, but his chances of getting drafted are still slim. In the era of the seven-round pro draft, no more than four punters have ever been selected in one year.

"I'm not really expecting anything," Basler said about Pro Day. "I'm just going to go out and do my best and we'll see what happens."

Trandon Harvey, the Apple Cup hero, also has a tough road to riches, but could make advances at Pro Day. While he was more productive during his career than fellow receiver Prator, Harvey is smaller (5-foot-11, 195 pounds) and not as physically gifted as his teammate.

Harvey does, however, run precise routes and has improved his ability to catch the ball after a junior-year case of the drops. In preparation for Pro Day, Harvey has been working with a track coach in his native San Diego and running on the beach.

"I'm expecting to get noticed by these scouts and just get them interested so I can try out for a team," Harvey said.

Other seniors expected to participate are defensive end Adam Braidwood, cornerbacks Alex Teems and Omowale Dada, offensive guard Norvell Holmes and center Nick Mihlhauser. Braidwood, a British Columbia native, is expected to be a first round pick in the CFL draft.

Cougfan Top Stories