Penn State defensive end Aaron Maybin is a quick-off-the-snap pass rusher who also has experience dropping back into zone coverage. Currently projected as a top-15 talent in Scout.com Draft Analyst Chris Steuber's final mock draft, Maybin has drawn plenty of interest from the team that Steuber believes will select him with the No. 13 pick overall, the Washington Redskins. A source told Scout.com that Maybin has met with the team at least twice during the pre-draft period, and that he also had workouts, visits or meetings with the Cincinnati Bengals, San Francisco 49ers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Seattle Seahawks and the Cleveland Browns.
If Liberty running back Rashad Jennings is still available when the Philadelphia Eagles make their second-round pick, don't be surprised to see them snatch the 6-foot-1, 231-pound versatile back off the board. A source has told Scout.com that the team has been very active in their discussions about Jennings, who rushed for 1,500 yards and scored 19 times his senior year. The hard-charging runner worked out for the Eagles back in March, and he's also worked out for the Denver Broncos, the New England Patriots, and the New York Jets. He's also had an official visit with the New Orleans Saints and drew interest at his Pro Day from the Carolina Panthers, Indianapolis Colts and the Washington Redskins.
Nate Swift finished his career at Nebraska as the school's all-time leader in career receptions with 166 catches. During his senior year, he pulled-in 63 balls for 941 yards and ten touchdowns. "I worked hard during my career to be consistent and to be the best that I can," he said during a phone interview. The 6-foot-2, 203-pound receiver has demonstrated a real knack for figuring out the weak spots in his opponent's coverage scheme. "That was one of the biggest things Coach Callahan taught me was reading the defense and finding a way to get open so that the quarterback can get the ball in your hands." Swift, who had a private workout with the Denver Broncos, has experience as a punt returner and as both a slot receiver and wide receiver.
LSU fullback Quinn Johnson
AP Photo/Bill Haber
LSU fullback Quinn Johnson didn't get many opportunities to run the ball or catch passes for the Tigers, but he was a key player in their success because he's such an effective blocker. At the NFL Combine, Johnson had formal interviews with eight teams, including the Oakland Raiders and the New Orleans Saints. And at his school's Pro Day, he spent time talking with the running backs coach from Green Bay and a few members of the Saints' staff. "Pretty much all of the teams talk about my blocking skills," he said during a phone interview. "I enjoyed every minute of the interviews, trying to show them as much as I could about who I am." The youngest of four children, Johnson knows that people who only see him on the field perceive his as a hard-nosed, tough guy because of the way he takes on defensive linemen and linebackers with an aggressive streak. "I think most people are surprised to learn that I'm not that way off the field and that I have a girlfriend that I've been with for eight and half years," he said with a laugh. The Miami Dolphins, who asked Johnson to make an official visit, are among the teams that have shown strong interest in him.
Defensive end Ryan Kees is hopeful that he'll get a chance to show an NFL club what he can bring to the table. A three-year starter at St. Cloud State, Kees started his collegiate career off with a bang. "My very first play from scrimmage was a sack, so that was really cool," he told Scout.com. Elected team captain twice, the defensive end plays with good technique and brings a lot of intelligence to the football field. The mechanical engineering major, who also minored in biology, was one of 15 finalists in the nation for the Draddy Award, commonly referred to as the "Academic Heisman". The 6-foot-5, 276-pound lineman likes his chances of making an NFL roster. "I have a really good body size. I can put on a lot of weight and still maintain my athleticism," he said. "I work my hands well and I've got good pass-rush technique. I'm also able to stop the run and have good breakout speed and acceleration, especially for my size. At the Cactus Bowl, Kees drew interest from a number of teams that included the Carolina Panthers, Pittsburgh Steelers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings and the Atlanta Falcons.
At the NFL Scouting Combine, Virginia tight end John Phillips showed his athleticism by finishing first in the three-cone drill, fourth in the vertical jump, and third in the 20-yard shuttle. And with the Cavaliers being coached by former Jets head coach, Al Groh, Phillips has benefited from a pro-style offense that prepares tight ends well for the multitude of roles they may be asked to play in the NFL. "The tight ends are a featured component of the offense," the 6-foot-6, 251-pound receiver said. "The way that Coach Groh uses tight ends, such as playing fullback and going in motion, you have a lot of different jobs and different assignments on a week-to-week basis." One of the teams that took a close-up look at Phillips at a private workout during the pre-draft season was the Denver Broncos.
Oklahoma center Jon Cooper
Photo: Oklahoma Athletics
Oklahoma center Jon Cooper had workouts with the Atlanta Falcons, Cleveland Browns, New York Jets and St. Louis Rams along with teammates Phil Loadholt and Brandon Walker. The 6-foot-291-pound offensive lineman, who can also play guard, believes he's had the opportunity to develop a balanced skill set in run-blocking and pass-blocking that will help him be successful at the next level. "It's been nice because in Oklahoma we had Adrian Peterson and we were a power-running team for while. This past year we went to a spread, no-huddle offense where we probably threw the ball more than 50 percent of the time, so I feel I can do either one really well," he said during a phone interview. Out of all of his workouts, Cooper said the one with the Browns was the one that stood out as different from the others. "The offensive line coach was a really intense guy, he's a no-nonsense, old-school kind of coach—which I really like," he said. "Some of our coaches here in Oklahoma were like that. They didn't put up with a lot and you could tell he didn't either. He put us through drills and told us exactly what he wanted and you could tell he didn't want it any other way. I think it's good when they tell you exactly what they want you to do. It makes it easier because you don't have to read his mind."
UCF cornerback Joe Burnett worked out for the Cleveland Browns back in March, and the team was obviously impressed by what they saw. According to a source, the team has followed-up on Burnett as recently as this week. The multi-talented athlete, who also handles kickoff returns, intercepted 16 passes during his college career and defended 35 more. A reliable tackler, Burnett logged 221 stops in 50 game appearances for UCF. The Patriots also put him through a private workout, and he had an official visit with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
USC linebacker Clay Matthews isn't the only draft prospect with NFL bloodlines out of this year's draft class. One of the other athletes whose father played in the NFL is Londen Fryar, son of former Patriots and Eagles wide receiver Irving Fryar. Although Londen started out at Western Michigan as a wide receiver, he transitioned to the other side of the ball and became a first-team All-MAC performer twice during his three years as a cornerback. Even though his father played wide receiver, Londen had no regrets about switching to defense. "I just like playing football, so if it's cornerback or playing wide receiver wherever they put me, I was going to have fun on the field. I just like going out there and competing," he told Scout.com. Fryar had the opportunity to work with former Cowboys safety Bill Bates, who was his position coach in the Texas Versus The Nation Game. "He taught me a lot of good things pertaining to football and a lot of good things pertaining to life. He's a very good guy. As a matter a fact, I still keep in contact with him," Fryar said. During his 42-game career at Western Michigan, Fryar made 160 tackles, defended 27 passes, intercepted seven passes, forced a fumble and blocked a kick.
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A member of the Pro Football Writers of America, Ed Thompson's player interviews and NFL features are published across the Scout.com network and at FOXSports.com. You can follow him on Twitter or Facebook. Or contact him by email through this link.