Pro Day Tour: Return Options

We continue our daily pursuit of the Packers' scouts with at least four pro days, including the big one at the two USCs — Southern Cal and South Carolina. Both schools have big-time kick returners.

With Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson in attendance, USC held its pro day on Wednesday. While not the star-studded affair of years past, there were some players of obvious interest for Green Bay with Day 3 selections.

Perhaps topping the list was receiver Ronald Johnson, who caught 64 passes for 692 yards and eight touchdowns this past season. Maybe more importantly for the Packers, who gambled with ace cornerback Tramon Williams returning punts and got next-to-nothing on kickoff returns, Johnson averaged 14.2 yards on punt returns with a touchdown as a senior. He also averaged 24.3 yards per kickoff return for his career, though he didn't handle that chore in 2010. The 5-foot-11 receiver ran 4.47 at the Combine and 4.49 on Wednesday.

An intriguing possibility would be tight end Jordan Cameron (6-5, 250). He started his college athletic career as a forward on the BYU basketball team before transferring to a junior college, where he played tight end. He went to USC, serving as a reserve receiver in 2008 and 2009, and he played in a few games for the Trojans' basketball team during the 2008-09 season. Finally, Cameron was moved to tight end for his senior season, finishing with merely 16 catches. But he's so athletic — finishing in the top five in all the tests at the Combine — that he potentially will go in the fourth round even with almost no college accomplishments.

Another midround possibility is center Kristofer O'Dowd, with Scott Wells entering the final year of his contract. He was the only true freshman to start at center in program history but he missed time in 2007 and 2009 with a dislocated kneecap and needed shoulder surgery following the 2008 season.

Washington

While Thompson and West Coast scout Sam Seale were in Los Angeles, Packers director of college scouting John Dorsey was at Washington.

The Huskies' potential first-round picks are quarterback Jake Locker and linebacker Mason Foster. They obviously have no interest in Locker, and Foster — who the Packers held a formal interview with at the Combine — projects to an inside guy in the 3-4.

Safety Nate Williams, however, could be of interest with a late-round pick. The three-year starter ran 40s of 4.70 and 4.73 seconds, according to NFL.com. Even with Foster leading the Pac 10 and finishing second nationally in tackles, Williams ranked third in the conference in tackles. He had one interception in four seasons.

South Carolina

Another safety to remember is Chris Culliver, whose stock is soaring. While Williams is a better football player than athlete, the opposite is true of Culliver at this point. Culliver ran a 4.40 at the Combine and stuck with that. Culliver was a two-year starter at safety before moving to cornerback as a senior, though his season was cut short by a torn pectoral. Moreover, his career average on kickoff returns was 23.3 yards

Cliff Matthews, a defensive end who would move to outside linebacker in a 3-4, also was worked out at tight end. He had 5.5 sacks as a senior. And tight end Weslye Saunders, who was kicked off the team and missed his senior season, showed soft hands while running on a broken left foot that will need surgery on Friday. Finally, 6-foot-4 receiver Tori Gurley caught 44 passes for 465 yards before turning pro following his redshirt sophomore season. All three players look like fifth- or sixth-round options.

South Carolina State

South Carolina State's players got to work out in Columbia with the South Carolina players. Offensive tackle Johnny Culbreath was the guy to watch, a two-time All-American at left tackle. The 6-foot-5 Culbreath played at 300 pounds last season but had worked his way up to 321, he said recently. He probably won't be drafted but he'll be in demand afterward.


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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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