Buckeyesports.com publisher Marcus Hartman was at the OSU pro day and had this report—
Malcolm Jenkins, who first won a starting cornerback spot at Ohio State as a freshman, ran a disappointing 40-yard dash time at the NFL Scouting Combine last month in Indianapolis but looked good in other drills. In Columbus today, he felt his drill performances remained stellar and he felt good with improved 40 times in the range of 4.46-4.53.
He felt he solidified himself as a high first-round pick, even feeling comfortable enough about it to crack jokes.
"Some coaches told me they were hoping I ran slow so they could get me," he said with a smile.
He continues to hear the talk that he might project better as a safety rather than a cornerback in the NFL. That seemed to bother him but only slightly.
"To be honest I just want to play cornerback because they get paid more," he said.
He acknowledged that the safety talk is not so much a knock on his overall ability as it is an indication that some teams feel he could be a star as a different kind of smaller, more cover-oriented safety as opposed to some of the bigger, run-stopping safeties that many teams employ.
"Safety's not a bad position," he said.
He just wants to be put in a position to make plays.
His goal is to be the first defensive back taken, and at this point he believes he has set himself up to be.
With the Jaguars having a certain need in the secondary, Jenkins has an outside shot at being the team's first-round pick.
Among other seniors, wide receiver Brian Robiskie said he went into the day looking to improve on all his performances in Indianapolis and did so in the 40 with times of 4.46 and 4.48.
"This is the culmination of everything we've done here," he said.
He will workout for several teams but did not want to disclose them.
He knew teams would question his speed because he is a big receiver, and he hopes he did enough to answer questions about whether or not he is fast enough.
Robiskie has been a player of interest for the Jaguars, but it's not certain that he will fit in where they are picking in round two.
Linebacker Marcus Freeman said a strong performance at OSU's pro day gave him a sense of "mission accomplished" after months of being on a strict training regimen and diet. He is going to relax a little bit now but stay in shape for the teams he will no doubt work out for in the future.
The 239-pound Freeman said his best 40 was a 4.48.
Freeman was also one of a few Buckeyes to say he thought the somewhat underwhelming performances turned in at the NFL Scouting Combine were a result of several days in a row of intense workouts, meetings and medical examinations that take players out of their routines.
"At home we feel more comfortable, and a lot of people performed better," Freeman said.
Teammate and fellow linebacker James Laurinaitis also expressed satisfaction with his performance, crediting a harder running surface at the WHAC for helping him turn in 40 times of 4.67 and 4.74.
Running back Chris "Beanie" Wells was another Ohio State prospect who hoped to improve on his 40 time, which fell in the 4.5 range in Indianapolis.
"I definitely was a little surprised," he said of his time at the combine. "I thought it was going to be better. I wasn't relaxed at all. I fought it the whole way. Today I was relaxed, woke up, slept in my own bed, ran in my own backyard, so you can't ask for anything more."
He said after working out in Columbus he was not sure if he had helped himself or not.
"I actually don't know," he said. "I hope it was a big deal."
He credited strength and conditioning coach Eric Lichter for helping him work to improve his 40 time.
"Coach ‘E' put our ranges on us," Wells said. "My range personally was between a 4.38-4.42. I did just that."
Improvement was also the theme of the day for Donald Washington, a cornerback who gave up his last year of eligibility to enter the draft. In Indianapolis, he impressed scouts in many drills but left something wanting in the 40.
"My big thing (today) was to improve on everything from the combine," he said. "I threw numbers out there at the combine. Some of them were great, some of them were not so good. My 40, I wanted to come back and improve on that, and I think I did. The drill work, I feel like there were some things I wanted to clean up, and I feel like I did. There are still things I need to clean up. I'm not satisfied at all, but I'm happy with my performance. I feel like I improved from the combine and that's what I wanted to do."
Washington said he ran between 4.45 and 4.5 in the 40.
Several Buckeyes who were not invited to the combine in Indianapolis also got a chance to shine in Columbus on Friday.
Defensive lineman Nader Abdallah believes he has made quite a bit of progress since even the middle of the season. Today he ran a 5.09 in the 40-yard dash and benched 225 pounds 24 times. He measured in at 6-4 and weighed 290 pounds.
He thinks as of midseason he was probably not going to be drafted. By the end of the season, he thought he projected as a sixth- or seventh-round pick, and now he believes he might go somewhere in the middle of the draft.
He has heard good things from lots of teams, although he did not name any, and he expects to work out for teams in the near future. Jamario O'Neal, a senior safety who came to Ohio State as a five-star prospect but played only special teams his last two seasons in scarlet and gray, showed scouts he can pick them up and lay them down by clocking in at 4.38 in the 40.
"I was fairly happy with what happened," he said.
Finally, there was quarterback Todd Boeckman.
The senior, who started under center for the Buckeyes in 2007 when they won the Big Ten outright and made the BCS National Championship Game, needed a big pro day performance to make his case for being drafted after losing his starting job to freshman Terrelle Pryor in week four of last season.
"I thought it went pretty well overall," he said.
"I was real comfortable out there today. Having some older guys around there and some coaches and some people you know made it a little more relaxing."
Boeckman is an interesting prospect as he could be a solid late-round developmental quarterback. Chris "Beanie" Wells likely won't fit in to the Jaguars plans as they select eighth overall (which is a little early for Wells), and not again until pick #39.
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