Penn State-FOS Staff
Pro Scouts were on the Penn State campus Thursday for -- you guessed it -- Pro Day. And while the featured attractions were the high-profile Nittany Lions who are slam dunks to be drafted, walk-on receiver Ethan Kilmer wound up stealing the show.
Kilmer and 17 of his 2005 senior teammates tested in the Lasch Building and at Holuba Hall. Also on hand was former Penn Stater Lavon Chisley, who was suspended from the team for his senior season in '05.
It seemed as if every NFL team was represented, as were scouts from the CFL and Arena League. Well-known faces in the crowd included Matt Millen, Herman Edwards, Carl Petersen, Jerry Angelo, Bill Cowher. The parking lot was packed with high-end vehicles of every shape and size.
What did everyone see?
Well, a source for Scout.com was on hand for the morning session, which included measurements and the bench press for 18 players (quarterback Michael Robinson delayed lifting until after throwing later in the day).
No big shockers on the measurements, other than defensive end Tamba Hali coming in 263 pounds, about 12 pounds lighter than he was at the NFL Combine. The longest arms belonged to another D-end, Chisley (35-3/8) and the biggest hands to Hali (10-7/8).
In the bench, Kilmer began to get noticed when he uncorked 19 reps of 225, a terrific number for a wideout. By comparison, defensive end Matthew Rice did 19 and Hali did 18. Offensive linemen Tyler Reed (29), Charles Rush (28) and Lance Antolick (27) did the most.
The afternoon session was closed to all media. But FOS has learned that Kilmer once again stole the show, uncorking a 4.38-second 40-yard dash, a 41-inch vertical leap and 10-foot, 10-inch broad jump. Once scout pulled Kilmer aside to talk after his performance in the bench press. By the time he was finished in the afternoon, Kilmer was the talk of the event.
Said a source close to the program: "Three scouts were huddled up comparing notes and one said, ‘Seriously, this guy was a walk-on?' -- he really impressed a lot of people."
Kilmer had a key touchdown catch in the Orange Bowl win over Florida State and finished the 2005 season with 15 grabs for 236 yards and three scores. He was also a special-teams cover ace, making 23 tackles.
Meanwhile, Robinson ran a 4.5 40-yard dash on what was considered a fast track. We are working on securing 40 times for the other Lions involved.
BENCH PRESS NUMBERS:
*Did this drill later in the day, after throwing for scouts. Scout.com was not on hand for his bench press or measurements.
Stanford - Mike Eubanks
On Wednesday, wet conditions touched the Cardinal in a tangible fashion. Stanford held its annual "Pro Day" Wednesday morning, with a gathering of NFL scouts from across the country on hand to measure, test, time and work out Cardinal seniors in the weight room and on the football field.
Some of the teams in attendance included the Kansas City Chiefs, San Diego Chargers, Denver Broncos, Baltimore Ravens and Chicago Bears. Nearly the entire League was represented, with approximately 24 teams on The Farm. They had a good number of prospects to evaluate on both sides of the ball.
Unfortunately, the grass at Stanford's practice field was wet with drizzling rain. The starts were difficult for all who ran the 40, leaving a lot of seniors shaking their heads in frustration. The good news, at least in part, is that some scouts will return on March 30 to give a second opportunity for Stanford seniors to run and record times. Wide receiver Justin McCullum will aim to run better than the high 4.5s, while outside linebacker Timi Wusu will seek to prove he is faster than a 4.6. Inside linebacker Kevin Schimmelmann had been running in the mid-4.5s but slipped his way to the high 4.6s on this wet day.
Two speedsters who managed to shine through the dark clouds and light rain were wide receiver Gerren Crochet and cornerback/kick returner T.J. Rushing. The former was timed between 4.37 and 4.41 in the 40 while also jumping 42 inches in the vertical. He also had a solid day catching the ball and running routes. Rushing had the fastest time on the field, with a 4.34. That number may blow you away by itself, but considering the wet conditions, it struck the scouts like a thunderbolt. The Bears scout was heard to say that he considered the time a 4.19 in dry conditions. Rushing also delivered an impressive 40-inch vertical while putting up 20 repetitions of 225 pounds on the bench press. An explosive athlete who is often discounted because of his size, Rushing put himself on the 2006 NFL Draft map with this day.
A couple of linebackers you would expect to put forth jaw-dropping times in a testing environment did not. Michael Craven, in a scene too reminiscent of his sad story at Stanford, pulled his hamstring while running his first 40 of the day. On the other end of the fortune spectrum, Jon Alston elected not to be tested after he already etched his reputation in stone at the NFL Combine three weeks ago in Indianapolis (Ind.). Alston there ran the fastest 40 among all linebackers with a 4.40, while also topping the broad jump at 11 feet.
The interesting note on Alston is that his speed has scouts so impressed that he is getting looks from half the League at safety, in addition to half who like him at linebacker. At yesterday's Pro Day, he ran safety drills for a number of teams, taking drops and catching the ball. He looked every bit the part of a safety in both his hands and how he moved. We note that the Chiefs worked out Alston a little extra at the end of the event. The red-hot linebacker/safety prospect has already had an individual workout with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and he has visits upcoming from the Dallas Cowboys and St. Louis Rams.
Defensive end Julian Jenkins continues to look like a first-day prospect, running a 4.85 in the 40 despite the wet grass. Defensive line mate and nose tackle prospect Babatunde Oshinowo did not run the 40 in these conditions, from what we saw and heard.
Florida State - Brandon Mellor
Over 25 Florida State players utilized the day's happenings to showcase their individual skills to a plethora of NFL personnel including New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton, Cleveland Browns coach Romeo Crennel and New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin, two standout defenders had the entire crowd buzzing.
Sims, who elected to forego his senior season and enter the NFL Draft, has had to deal with questions about his size and coverage skills. Wowing scouts with his 4.47 40-yard dash and stellar performance in the position drills, the Tallahassee native did his part in answering those inquiries.
"I think I did pretty well," said Sims, who currently weighs 234 pounds and is hoping to be 240 upon entering the league. "I showed (the scouts) that I can move pretty well in coverage and everything. I think I showed that I can catch the ball. I came here today telling myself that I wasn't going to drop any balls and I did that."
While Sims had a junior season to display the skills necessary to warrant what is expected to be a top-15 to possible top-10 pick in this April's draft, Cromartie didn't have that luxury missing the entire 2005 campaign while rehabbing a knee.
Despite over a year without any actual in-game experience, NFL scouts have been drooling over the 6-foot-2 speedster based on his tremendous upside and some mock drafts have him being selected in the late first round.
Thursday, Cromartie may have solidified that lofty projection with a time of roughly 4.4 seconds in the 40-yard dash, a 42-inch vertical jump, an excellent showing in punt return drills and an even better showing in defensive back drills.
"I think I did pretty good out there but obviously I want to always do better," Cromartie said. "We will just have to see what all this does for me on draft day. I am pretty confident though."
In addition to the two afore mentioned players, defensive linemen Brodrick Bunkley, who is expected to be one of, if not the first, defensive tackle taken in the draft, and Kamerion Wimbley impressed scouts.
Wimbley, a standout defensive end for the 'Noles for four years, pulled double-duty Thursday working out with the defensive linemen and the linebackers.
"I am hearing about half and half," Wimbley said about what position he is projected at in the NFL. "I am hearing d-line some and outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. I don't mind playing either one. I am fine at either one."
With as many as four former Seminoles staring down an actual opportunity to be selected in the first round of the draft, many others like Leon Washington and A.J. Nicholson spent the day trying to raise their stock in the draft's mid-rounds.
Others spent the day simply looking for a chance.
Former Seminole wide receiver Chauncey Stovall, who last played for the Tribe in 2004, used the event to display his desire for a free agent opportunity. Recent graduates like fullbacks James Coleman and B.J. Dean and tight ends Matt Henshaw and Donnie Carter also gave strong performances in their bid towards possible late selections.
"I understand that I am not going to be picked in the draft's top four rounds but I am still working my butt off," Coleman said. "All I need is a foot in the door and I will do whatever I have to do once I am there."
Now that Pro Day is complete, many NFL-hopeful former Seminoles will continue to work out in preparation for the pro-ranks. For some of the lucky ones, trips to meet with certain teams and tour the given facilities are on the horizon as well.
The NFL Draft is scheduled for April 29-30.
"I am real excited about this opportunity," Sims said. "It's a dream come true."