Pro Day Tour: Plenty of Talent in Tallahassee

The Packers had their eyes on Menelik Watson, a potential first-round pick at offensive tackle, and Brandon Jenkins, a quality prospect at outside linebacker, among many others. Plus, the Packers had scouts at San Diego State, Virginia and three other schools.

Florida State is back, as evidenced by its Orange Bowl victory and Tuesday's pro day.

The Seminoles fielded merely 13 draft-worthy players, including several with obvious appeal for the Green Bay Packers.

Menelik Watson (6-5, 310), who was born in Manchester, England, came to the United States to play basketball at Marist and briefly dabbled in boxing before giving football a shot. He played one year at Florida State, starting 11 games at right tackle, and could land in the bottom of Round 1 as a potential left tackle.

Injured defensive ends Tank Carradine and Brandon Jenkins would transition to outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. Scouts think that's Jenkins' best spot; Carradine is viewed more as a 4-3 end.

Jenkins (6-2, 251) had 13.5 sacks as a sophomore and eight as a junior and decided to come back for his senior season. He wound up playing in one game before sustaining a Lisfranc foot injury. He tested and went through position drills just six months after surgery. It's a bit of an apples-to-oranges comparison, but receiver Santonio Holmes suffered the same injury a few weeks after Jenkins' injury; he hopes to be ready for training camp. Jenkins reportedly ran his 40-yard dash in 5.00 seconds but, given the injury and that he's not 100 percent recovered, some perspective is needed on that number. He's a possibility in the third round.

If not for Jenkins' injury, Carradine (6-4, 276) might never have seen the field and contributed 11 sacks as a senior. He tore the ACL in his right knee in November. He's been working with Adrian Peterson's trainer and hopes to test for scouts next month, though he did put up 32 reps on the bench. He potentially could find his way into Round 1 but probably lasts until the second round.

There are three noteworthy late-round prospects. Lonnie Pryor (6-0, 227) is an underpowered fullback but a versatile performer who was named Orange Bowl MVP after touchdown runs of 60 and 37 yards. He's our second-ranked fullback after a 4.70 at the Combine. Underrated middle linebacker Vince Williams (6-1, 247) had an excellent week at the Senior Bowl and was strong in drills with a 4.75 on Tuesday. Kicker Dustin Hopkins made 25-of-30 attempts as a senior with a long of 56. He hit from 58 on Tuesday.

San Diego State

The Aztecs' prime prospect is tight end Gavin Escobar (6-6, 254), an early entrant after catching 51 passes for 780 yards and seven touchdowns in 2011 and 42 catches for 543 yards and six touchdowns in 2012. He cut his 40 time to the 4.7s and caught the ball "extremely well," according to a source. He's a Day 2 prospect.

Virginia

The Packers like drafting left tackles and finding a home for them at a later date. Virginia's Oday Aboushi was a three-year starter who earned first-team all-ACC accolades at left tackle as a senior. He's got the skill-set and temperament of a right tackle. After running in 5.45 with 17 reps at the Combine, he ran about 5.30 with 21 reps, according to The Daily Progress.

Linebacker Laroy Reynolds (6-2, 243) had a monster day with 28 reps on the bench, 37-inch vertical and a 40 time faster than 4.60 seconds. Scouts worked him out at fullback and linebacker.

Richmond

Big safety Cooper Taylor (6-4, 229) had a good week at the East-West Shrine Game and ran as fast as 4.47, according to a source. An intriguing prospect for the Packers, as Taylor was named the Colonial Athletic Association's scholar-athlete of the year with a 3.58 GPA and degree in business management. He was first-team Academic All-American and first-team All-American with 78 tackles, five tackles for losses, 1.5 sacks, four interceptions and three forced fumbles.

Florida A&M

Underrated inside linebacker prospect Brandon Hepburn (6-2, 240) had a strong Scouting Combine and was even better on Tuesday, with a 4.56 40 and 36-inch vertical. He led the Rattlers with 86 tackles and 5.5 sacks, was second with seven pass breakups and 4.5 sacks, and was named to the Allstate/AFCA Good Works Team.

Louisville

The Cardinals' top prospect is cornerback Adrian Bushell, but at 5-foot-9 3/8, he probably is not on the Packers' board. Center Mario Benavides (6-3, 279) was first-team all-Big East. He started 47 games during his career. He's strong and athletic and a good fit for a zone scheme.


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.


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