Pro Day Tour '14: Beyond Big Names

The Packers saw outside linebackers Dee Ford and Khalil Mack but that might not have been their focus at Auburn and Buffalo on Tuesday. We tell you where the Packers sent their scouts and who were the players of interest.

Buffalo's Khalil Mack was the big name on Tuesday's pro day circuit, but Auburn's Dee Ford might be the player of most interest for the Green Bay Packers.

Ford, who didn't test at the Combine because of a 2011 procedure to repair a herniated disc in his lower back, showed his first-round potential with a big-time workout of 4.53 seconds in the 40-yard dash, a 35.5-inch vertical leap and 29 reps on the bench press, according to a source.

Ford, who checked in at 6-foot-2 and 252 pounds at the Combine, weighed 244 on Tuesday. It was the continuation of a strong year for Ford. He ranked second in the SEC with 10.5 sacks, then was a dominant force at the Senior Bowl. This workout likely solidified his spot in the first round.

The question is, would the Packers draft an outside linebacker in the first round? Perhaps yes, if the team were to lose Mike Neal in free agency. In hopes of becoming more multiple on defense, it certainly would be logical for the Packers to have three outside linebackers on the field in pass-rushing situations, with one of those players lined up as an inside linebacker. A source said the Packers' interest has been "considerable," though that's the case with a lot of teams.

With John Kuhn headed to free agency, the Packers could be in the market for a fullback. One of the best of this year's class is Auburn's Jay Prosch. Prosch (6-1, 254) lined up as a traditional fullback as well as at H-back and an on-the-move blocker. That would seem to make him a good fit in Green Bay's offense.

Prosch started 12 games at Illinois in 2010 and 2011. The native of Mobile, Ala., was allowed to transfer closer to home because his mother was diagnosed with brain cancer. She died in 2012. In two seasons at Auburn, he caught 10 passes for 114 yards and a touchdown and carried 12 times for 38 yards and two scores.

On Tuesday, he put up 27 reps on the bench, which would have been No. 1 among all fullbacks at the Combine. He ran in 4.72, according to a AL.com.

"I think teams are still constantly evaluating me, because the way I was used in college, I definitely used my blocking, but there were other parts of my games that weren't unleashed," Prosch said. "I think they're still trying to figure out what type of player I am."

Prosch wasn't invited to the Scouting Combine, though he was selected for the Senior Bowl.

"Not invited to the Combine, he's the kind of guy I think is going to make an NFL team," NFL draft analyst Mike Mayock said. "He's tough as nails, he'll play special teams and he's that old-school fullback." Here's where else the Packers had a scout, according to sources.

Northwestern

Northwestern and Eastern Illinois held a joint pro day at Northwestern.

The Wildcats' top prospect is quarterback-turned-receiver Kain Colter. A late-round possibility, Colter had ankle surgery a few weeks ago, which kept him from testing at the Combine or on Tuesday. He's tentatively scheduled to perform for scouts on April 16.

Eastern Illinois' top prospect is quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who will go in the second or third round and won't be a consideration for the Packers.

So who was Green Bay watching?

Northwestern's Damien Proby (6-0, 246) was a two-time all-Big Ten honorable mention at middle linebacker. He tallied 112 tackles as a senior, with his 9.3 per game ranking third in the conference. He had six games of at least 10 tackles in 2013. He ran an impressive 4.64 with 18 reps on the bench and a 29.5-inch vertical, according to a source.

Garoppolo's top target, Erik Lora (5-11, 200), was a first-team FCS All-American after catching 123 passes for 1,544 yards and 19 touchdowns as a senior. He also returned a punt 80 yards for a touchdown. According to the Chicago Tribune's Brad Biggs, he was timed as fast as 4.49 in the 40. That might get him into the seventh round.

Purdue

Purdue's top player is cornerback Ricardo Allen, a Day 3 prospect, but at 5-foot-9, he likely would not be a consideration for the Packers. That left defensive lineman Bruce Gaston (6-2, 316), safety Rob Henry (6-2, 195) and offensive tackle Kevin Pamphile (6-5, 311).

Gaston, a late-round possibility at end, had three sacks and seven tackles for losses as a senior. He basically was a four-year starter. He put up 34 reps on the bench with a 34-inch vertical, according to WLFI-TV.

"Through the whole process, it's just been good," Gaston said. "You know, a lot of the teams have been anxious to see how I do at my pro day, how I perform, how I run, my strength level and all of those things. I think I rose to the challenge today. That was one thing I wanted to do, and I feel good about it."

Pamphile, who played defense in 2010, started at left tackle in 2012 and 2013. He ran in 4.92 with 25 reps on the bench and a 32-inch vertical leap, plus looked "very athletic and fluid in his positional work," according to a source. That combination of athleticism and long arms (34.5 inches) should make him an intriguing developmental prospect in Day 3.

Henry moved to safety early in his senior season after being a dual-threat quarterback in 2010, 2012 and the start of 2013; he missed all of 2011 with a knee injury sustained a week before the season-opening game. He recorded six tackles in limited action on defense. He ran in 4.59 with a 37.5-inch vertical, according to NFL.com, and might be worth a look as an undrafted free agent.

Buffalo

Mack didn't rest on his laurels, even after running in 4.65 with a 40-inch vertical and 23 reps on the bench at the Combine. He trimmed about a tenth of a second off of his 40 time, according to a source; the school Web site said one scout had him clocked in 4.45. There's no way he gets within a country mile of the Packers in the first round.

Receiver Alex Neutz (6-2, 214) is a possible seventh-round prospect. He was first-team all-MAC as a senior after catching 61 passes for 1,024 yards and 12 touchdowns. He also was a two-time member of the MAC's all-academic team. According to NFL.com, he ran in 4.63.

Marist's Terrence Fede (6-4, 277) tested at Buffalo and ran in 4.77. If he would have been invited to the Combine and posted that time there, he would have finished in the top 10 among defensive linemen. A source said the intrigue with Fede is he could play outside linebacker at 260 pounds or defensive end at 295. He was a second-team FCS All-American as a senior, and finished with school records of 13 sacks for the season and 30.5 for his career.


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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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