Pro Day Tour: Perspective on Ball

Wisconsin's Montee Ball ran a fast 40 in front of Ted Thompson but is it a big deal? An AFC scout in attendance offers his perspective. That and much, much more as we followed the Packers' scouts to South Florida, Mississippi State, Texas Tech and more.

It was a big day for the Green Bay Packers' scouting department, with the pro day circuit taking them to places big (Wisconsin), small (West Texas A&M) and in between on Wednesday.


The Packers sent their big guns, general manager Ted Thompson and Eliot Wolf, to Madison, where record-setting running back Montee Ball and center Travis Frederick were the featured attractions.

Ball ran a discouraging 4.66 40-yard dash at the Scouting Combine last month, ranking him 19th out of 33 tested backs. An AFC scout in attendance on Wednesday clocked Ball as fast as 4.49.

"They had a really fast track," the scout said. "Montee Ball ran better than he did at the Combine but all of those guys ran fast. The corner (Marcus) Cromartie ran 4.38. The safety (Shelton) Johnson — you'd never guess this in a million years — he ran 4.40. There's no way that he runs that fast. One of their guys told me they put the field together to run fast."

Ball spent the past couple weeks working with Wisconsin assistant strength coaches Jamil Walker and John Denman on his start.

"The first 10 yards is the whole 40," Ball said. "Getting that down, you'll be able to cut the other times down."

Cut down he did. If Ball had run that fast in Indianapolis, his time would have been the third-fastest among tested tailbacks.

"I was disappointed with (the 4.66) because I knew I was faster than that," said Ball. "I think I proved that today, that I am faster than the 4.66 I ran at Indy."

Frederick, a potential first-round pick and the best center in the draft — making him a target for Green Bay at No. 26 — performed poorly at the Combine with a 5.58 in the 40 and 21 reps on the bench.

"Who cares?" a separate source said.

Apparently not Frederick. He stuck with his testing numbers and was outstanding in position drills led by the Dolphins' offensive line coach.

As the scout said: "If he's running 40 yards, it's either bad or good. Either someone's scoring a touchdown or the defense is returning one."

Badger Nation has complete coverage of Wisconsin's pro day, including the full story on Ball. Plus, Ashwaubenon native Taylor, a quality linebacker prospect, aims to show he's not injury prone.

South Florida

If the Packers are shopping for an under-the-radar prospect at inside linebacker, perhaps it's Sam Barrington. At the Combine, Barrington (6-1, 246) ran just 4.91. On Wednesday, he was clocked at 4.67 and 4.72, according to a source in attendance, and his vertical went from 32.5 inches to 37.

The three-year starter tallied 258 tackles, including 21.5 for losses, and five forced fumbles. Considered a fringe prospect at one point, a strong showing at the East-West game and his pro day have him on the rise.

Mississippi State

Before the Combine, Johnthan Banks was viewed as one of the top cornerbacks in the draft while Darius Slay was the under-the-radar prospect. Now, Slay is on the rise and there are questions about Banks.

The 6-foot-2 Banks, who won the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation's top defensive back, ran 4.61 at the Combine and trimmed that only to 4.58 on Wednesday, according to's Gil Brandt. He might be a fringe first-rounder at this point. Slay ran a sizzling 4.36, tops among all defensive backs at the Combine. He pulled a muscle during his workout. Slay, who intercepted five passes as a senior, probably has worked himself into Round 2.

Texas Tech

The Packers need a safety and here's a name to watch with a late-round pick or as an undrafted rookie: Cody Davis.

Davis (6-2, 204) put on a dazzling display. According to a source in attendance, he had a 4.41 in the 40, a 41.5-inch vertical, a 4.04 in the short shuttle and an 11.09 in the 60-yard shuttle. All four figures would have topped the safeties at the Combine.

A four-year starter and Academic All-American, he picked off three passes and had 101 tackles as a senior.

West Texas A&M

Offensive tackle Manase Foketi was the lone attraction and drew 20 teams, according to a source. Foketi (6-5, 317), who won the Gene Upshaw Award as the nation's best Division II lineman, didn't run at the Combine due a strained calf and labored for a 5.57 on Wednesday. He was powerful in position drills, however, and figures to go somewhere in the middle of Day 3 as a guard-tackle.

Alabama A&M

Another small-school lineman prospect who was at the Combine was guard Jamaal Johnson-Webb. Johnson-Webb (6-5, 313) didn't start playing football until his senior year in high school and was coached at A&M by former NFL tight end Anthony Jones. He's considered a late-round prospect after starting at guard as a freshman and left tackle the last three seasons. No details were available.


The Packers had a scout here, too, but results were not available. The school is not considered to have any draft-worthy prospects.

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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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