Pro Day Tour: Scouts Leave Alabama Unhappy

It was a big day, with the Packers represented at Alabama, Wisconsin and USC, among other schools. What left the scouts shaking their heads at Alabama? What virtual unknown stole the show at Wisconsin? What about potential first-round pick Nick Perry? All of that and more from Wednesday.

On the star-studded Alabama roster, the one player the Green Bay Packers are taking a keen interest in is outside linebacker prospect Courtney Upshaw.

Upshaw, however, sat out Wednesday's pro day. A source, speaking about scouts in general and not the Packers in particular, weren't thrilled with Upshaw's decision. Upshaw, who said he is battling knee tendinitis, will work out with running back Trent Richardson (pre-Scouting Combine arthroscopic knee surgery) and safety Mark Barron (pre-Combine double hernia surgery) on March 29. All three are near-certain first-round picks, with Upshaw providing the bulldog sidekick the Packers covet opposite Clay Matthews.

"Well, I think he's going to be a combination of both, just like he was here," Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban told reporters when asked if Upshaw projects to a 3-4 outside linebacker or 4-3 defensive end. "I think he can play 3-4 outside backer, which he has done here, and he's also had his hand in the dirt and played defensive end a lot. I think he can do both things."

A fourth likely first-round pick, punishing inside linebacker Dont'a Hightower, did nothing to dispel scouts from thinking he might only be a two-down player in the NFL by looking stiff in position drills. Hightower has dropped 10 pounds since the end of the season by giving up juice and soda and eating better, saying he'd "swallow that for a little while and do what I've got to do."

Three under-the-radar prospects are cornerback DeQuan Menzie, outside linebacker Jerrell Harris and tight end Brad Smelley.

Menzie (5-11, 202) ran his 40 in 4.66 seconds, better than his Combine time of 4.74. He might be moved to safety, a position he played in high school and the Senior Bowl. Harris, according to Sports Illustrated's Tony Pauline, ran his 40 as fast as 4.6 seconds. Harris (6-2, 241) was a part-time starter who had 3.5 tackles for losses among his 29 stops. Smelley (6-2, 233) , a former high school quarterback who was recruited as a wide receiver, caught 34 passes for 356 yards and four touchdowns as a senior. He projects to a fullback or h-back in the NFL.


With Ted Thompson in attendance in Madison rather than taking his annual trip to USC, Badgers quarterback Russell Wilson completed 60-of-63 passes. Badger Nation has the scoop on Wilson and the other Badgers on display at Wisconsin's pro day.

After Wisconsin's workout, several Division III players were put through their paces. According to a source, Beloit receiver Derek Carrier put on a show that is sure to send scouts scurrying for film from the small college on the Wisconsin-Illinois border.

Carrier measured in at 6-foot-3 and 238 pounds, was clocked as fast as 4.47 seconds and had a vertical leap of 38 inches. His three-cone time of 6.69 seconds would have tied for second among receivers at the Scouting Combine behind Michigan's Junior Hemingway (6.59). Wisconsin's Private College Player of the Year caught 75 passes for 1,250 yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior. He finished his career with 189 catches, 3,111 yards and 29 touchdowns. He competed in track and field as a junior and was a starter in basketball as a freshman and sophomore.


Offensive tackle Matt Kalil, a potential top-three pick, and defensive end Nick Perry, a likely first-round selection, did some position drills but did not replicate any of their Scouting Combine work because they were pleased with their initial results.

Of prime interest was Perry, who could be the first-round draft pick by Green Bay, where he would join former USC standout Clay Matthews.

Perry, who weighed 270 pounds, said he "could have done better" on some of his position drills but was pleased, especially combined with his combine results.

"I get asked a lot by NFL teams about certain schemes because everyone wants to know if I can also play in a 3-4 (defense)," Perry said. "It's good to be in the conversation (for the first round)."

Defensive tackle DaJohn Harris (6-3, 304), who did not work out at the combine after arriving in Indianapolis, said he was medically excluded because a Cleveland Browns doctor discovered he had a natural heart defect known as patent foramen ovale.

A "PFO" is a flap or valve-like opening present in everyone before birth but seals shut for 80 percent of the population. Harris said his personal cardiologist emailed all NFL teams to assure them he was OK.

"I hope teams realize I was fine," Harris said. "I feel I did pretty good."

Harris ran the 40-yard dash in 5.07 seconds.

The Sports Xchange


Outside linebacker Danny Trevathan and safety Winston Guy likely will be the only Wildcats drafted.

They finished one-two in tackles, with Trevathan (6-0, 237) posting team-leading totals of 143 tackles, three sacks, four interceptions and five forced fumbles. he's the first first-team All-American linebacker in school history. Guy (6-1, 218) rang up 120 tackles, including a team-high 14 for losses, and added two interceptions. Guy did not participate after straining a groin at the Scouting Combine.


The Cardinals probably wont have anyone drafted. Their top prospects are tight end Josh Chichester, linebacker Dexter Heyman and running back Victor Anderson.

Anderson rushed for a team-high 539 yards (4.7 average), and he and Chichester tied for third on the team with 28 receptions. Chichester averaged 14.0 yards per catch and scored two touchdowns. Heyman had team-leading totals of 4.5 sacks, 16 tackles for losses and three interceptions. A source who watched Heyman said he didn't run well but looked good in position drills. He'd play inside in a 3-4.

Eastern Washington

The main attractions were safety Matt Johnson (6-2, 220) and defensive tackle Renard Williams (6-2, 300). Johnson and Williams share the school record with six forced fumbles for their careers. Williams is a two-time FCS All-American who recorded 4.5 sacks as a senior and 22.5 for his career.

Johnson, despite playing only seven games, was fourth on the team with 52 tackles. He played five games with an injured biceps tendon before shutting it down. He finished fifth in school history with 341 tackles and second with 17 interceptions.

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

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