Henry Shines In Front of Thompson

The Packers need a safety and Aaron Henry — a Scouting Combine snub — turned heads at Wisconsin's pro day. Badger Nation publisher Benjamin Worgull has the scoop straight from Madison.

MADISON, Wis. — While all three offensive linemen, quarterback Russell Wilson and fullback Bradie Ewing only participated in individual drills, Wisconsin's pro day gave an opportunity to tight end Jake Byrne, safety Aaron Henry, wide receiver Nick Toon and other players to make a move forward.

That was especially true for Henry, who was curiously not invited to the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis and has been training for seven weeks for his opportunity at the McClain Center on Wednesday.

"I've been motivated from the time I started playing football to reach this level," said Henry. "Whether I was invited to the combine or not, if I was given an opportunity, I was going to showcase my talents."


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Henry certainly gave something to think about for the scouts and personnel directors in attendance. That group included Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson, who enters this draft needing help at safety. Henry hit a personal record in the 40-yard dash (4.53) and the vertical jump (39.5 inches). He also did 16 reps on the bench press at 225 pounds.

"I felt like I faired pretty well," said Henry. "I've been prepping for this kind of moment and I just came out here to do what I was trained to do."

Henry finished his senior season with 67 tackles (third-best on the team) and four interceptions, and is the poster child for conquering adversity. Overcoming an ACL injury at the end of his true freshman season, Henry had to redshirt, lost his position upon coming back, switched from cornerback to safety and put in the due diligence to be a first-team All-Big Ten selection by the coaches.

So being left off a combine roster was nothing in comparison to the amount of heart and determination he plays with.

"When a lot of these scouts come in here, they judge us off our tape, how high we can jump, how fast we are and how much you can bench press," said Henry. "That doesn't correlate directly to football because we've had guys throughout the University of Wisconsin that weren't run that fast, bench press that much or jump that night who have succeed in the NFL. It's all part of a process."

Henry wasn't the only player that felt comfortable working out in familiar territory. Ewing said the combine in Indianapolis involved "poking and prodding," which included lots of medical and drug tests and early wake-up calls. Nothing of the sort happened today.

"It's night and day," said Ewing. "This is definitely a more comfortable environment."

It could be seen by some of the performances turned in by former Badgers. After running a 4.54 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL combine, Toon was told he ran 40 times of 4.40 and 4.43, giving scouts something different to think about than his history of foot problems.

"I ran well today, and I think I dispelled any doubts about my speed today," said Toon, who also posted a 39-inch vertical jump and 10-10 on the broad jump. "I looked good. I felt good running routes and hopefully nobody has any more questions regarding my speed."

Toon looked good catching passes and running routes, another hometown advantage with Wilson throwing the passes.

"He's been throwing to me all year, so it's nice to have him out here for pro day," said Wilson of Toon. "He looked good and was throwing the ball great today."



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