Pro Day Tour: Thompson Is Story at Iowa St.

What makes Ted Thompson's day so interesting? It's more than just the player he was scouting on Tuesday at Iowa State — though that is incredibly interesting in itself. Plus, the Packers take another look at athletic North Carolina linebacker Zach Brown.

Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson spent his second consecutive day in Iowa by attending Iowa State's pro day on Tuesday.

What's interesting might not be who he saw but who he didn't see.

By spending Monday at Iowa's pro day and Tuesday at Iowa State's pro day, Thompson was not in Green Bay for free agent center Jeff Saturday's visit, which wrapped up Tuesday afternoon.

As for the players on display, Iowa State's headliners are cornerback Leonard Johnson and big offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele. However, Thompson's interest almost certainly was someone completely off the radar.

Last week, a source told Packer Report to keep an eye on William Penn nose tackle Damon Harrison. Harrison was an NAIA All-America for the school located in Oskaloosa, Iowa. The Packers need defensive line help, with B.J. Raji again playing almost 80 percent of the defensive snaps and Ryan Pickett approaching his 33rd birthday. Harrison (6-3, 339) would add the type of wide-bodied defender the Packers prefer.

According to a source at the workout, Harrison put up 34 reps on the 225-pound bench press, ran the 40 in 5.37 seconds and posted a 29-inch vertical. In a horrible draft for 3-4 nose tackles, Harrison is squarely in the draft's third day.

As for the Cyclones' star players, the Packers probably have little interest in Johnson, who measures in at a shade less than 5-foot-10. The Packers' cornerbacks are all 5-foot-11, 6-foot and 6-foot-1. He picked off six passes in 43 career starts. They probably would bypass Osemele, as well. The hulking Osemele (6-6, 333) projects to right tackle, where the Packers have Bryan Bulaga, or guard, where they're set with Josh Sitton and T.J. Lang. Osemele should go in Round 2 while Johnson potentially will go in Round 3.

With the Cyclones' two draft-worthy players probably not on the Packers' radar, it probably was Harrison who Thompson was there to see.

North Carolina

The Packers got another look at another first-round outside linebacker option with Zach Brown. Brown is the most athletic of the bunch, a fact amplified by his 4.42 and 4.45 clockings and 22 bench-press reps on Tuesday. That 40 time was faster than cornerback Charles Brown's 4.51.

Even with that athleticism, Brown (6-1, 244) was a full-time starter only as a senior, when he recorded 5.5 sacks and 13.5 tackles for losses. Scouts love his athletic ability; coaches wonder if his instincts and toughness are up to par.

As a source said, "Stopwatches don't make tackles."

Receiver Dwight Jones was another player of interest. Jones (6-3, 230) closed his career with a bang with 85 catches for 1,196 yards and 12 touchdowns. He was ruled ineligible for the bowl game for allowing his name and picture to be used to promote a New Year's Eve party in his hometown of Burlington, N.C. Jones apologized and was reinstated. Nonetheless, the school barred him from participating at pro day, so he worked out for scouts at a nearby high school. He averaged a 4.50 on his 40s and caught passes from a Denver scout, according to Sports Illustrated's Tony Pauline.


Kheeston Randall (6-4, 293) could become an imposing five-technique defensive end if he can grow into his massive frame. The three-year starter had just four sacks but 21 tackles for losses, including 13 as a junior. Randall helped anchor the nation's sixth-ranked rushing defense. He stood on his Combine numbers (5.0 40, 28 reps on the bench).

Kennan Robinson (6-3, 242) and Emmanuel Acho (6-1, 238) are possibilities to add depth at inside linebacker. Robinson should go in Day 2, thought that's probably too early for Green Bay with A.J. Hawk and Desmond Bishop in place. He ran as fast as 4.7 in the 40, according to results from the school.

Acho, who stood on his Combine numbers (4.73 in the 40, 24 reps on the bench), is a late-round prospect. His brother, Sam, was more of an impact player — he had seven sacks as an outside linebacker in Arizona's 3-4 defense as a rookie fourth-round pick. But Emmanuel has the same high character and would be an asset as a backup and core special-teamer. He had three sacks and 19 tackles for losses as a senior.

Cody Johnson (5-11, 252) is straight out of the John Kuhn School of Fullbacks. In four seasons, he started 14 of 51 games but rushed for 1,465 yards and 36 touchdowns. He showed impressive athletic ability with a 40 time of 4.72 with 27 reps on the bench. Blake Gideon (6-0, 208) was a four-year starter at safety who picked off 10 passes. He'll be a late-round selection because of so-so athleticism (4.58 with a 35.5-inch vertical).


Cornerback Dwight Bentley (5-10, 182) is the marquee name. He lit up the Scouting Combine with a 4.37 in the 40. He picked off three passes as a senior and seven balls in 45 career starts. For a Packers defense that is concerned about its tackling, he might not be in the cards.

Ladarius Green (6-6, 238) is an overgrown receiver who will cause all sorts of matchup problems but won't lend much as a blocker. In 31 career starts, he caught 149 passes for 2,201 yards and 22 touchdowns. He ran a 4.53 at the Combine, and his huge hands grab everything that comes his direction. He showed those hands at his pro day, catching 30 passes without a drop, according to a source.

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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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