Pro Day Tour '14: Impressive Corners

While Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins was the star of the day on Thursday, he wasn't the main attraction for Packers scouts. We tracked Green Bay's scouts to four pro days, and they saw two Day 2 cornerback prospects and a linebacker who could play safety.

In a copycat league, Nebraska cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste should be a man in the demand during May's NFL Draft.

Seattle won the Super Bowl, due in part to its towering secondary. At 6-foot-2 5/8, he's one of the few cornerbacks in this draft with the height to rival that of Seattle's Richard Sherman.

Jean-Baptiste, however, ran hot and cold at the Scouting Combine. He ran a sluggish 4.61 in the 40-yard dash but showed his explosion with a 41.5-inch vertical leap. Jean-Baptiste perhaps answered questions about his speed at Nebraska's pro day on Thursday. Saying he felt "more relaxed" on his home turf, he ran his 40s in 4.45 and 4.48 seconds, according to NFL.com. That should solidify his status as a Day 2 prospect.

Like Sherman, Jean-Baptiste started his college career at receiver. He played receiver in 2010 and the start of 2011 before being moved to cornerback. In his three seasons on defense, he tallied seven interceptions. As a senior, he was second-team all-Big Ten with four interceptions.

Underrated Spencer Long (6-5, 320) missed the end of the season with a torn MCL and didn't test at the Combine because of that injury and an appendectomy. On Thursday, he did only the bench, putting up 28 reps. He will do a full workout for scouts on April 17. The former walk-on emerged as a three-year starter at guard. He was a second-team All-American as a junior and one of 18 National Football Foundation Scholar-Athletes as a senior. While the media pundits have him as a seventh-round option, a scout expected Long to go at least a couple rounds earlier.

His twin brother, tight end Jake Long, dropped out of the draft to go to medical school.

Receiver Quincy Enunwa (6-2, 225) ran in 4.45 at the Combine but injured his hamstring there and didn't test on Thursday. Enunwa caught 51 passes during his senior season and broke the legendary Johnny Rodgers' school record with 12 touchdown receptions. One of those was a 99-yarder against Georgia.

Quarterback Taylor Martinez (6-0, 210) worked at quarterback, receiver and safety. While he's a man without a position, he ran in 4.45 with a 39-inch vertical, according to NFL.com.

Clemson

Sammy Watkins, the No. 1 receiver in the draft, won't be a consideration for the Packers.

"It's insane that he's not a consensus top-three pick," a source said after watching Watkins' workout.

His running-mate, Martavis Bryant, is an imposing threat, though a bit "stiff" in his route-running. Bryant (6-4, 211) stuck with his prolific Combine of 4.42 in the 40, a 39-inch vertical and 16 reps on the bench. Bryant, who was in the "doghouse a lot," as Clemson coach Dabo Sweeney said at one point this season, bounced back from a 10-catch season in 2012 to haul in 42 passes for 828 yards (19.7 average) and seven touchdowns.

Cornerback Bashaud Breeland might have been the main attraction for the Packers. Breeland (5-11, 197) ran in 4.54, a slight improvement over his 4.62 from the Combine, the source said. Breeland, who picked off four passes and broke up 13 in 2013, plays faster than his timed speed. Given the Packers' apparent preference for 5-foot-11 corners — Tramon Williams, Sam Shields and Casey Hayward are all 5-11 — he would seem to be a realistic option in Day 2.

Perhaps quarterback Tajh Boyd (6-1, 222) got his sinking draft stock turned around. The stats are glittering, with career numbers of 11,904 yards and 107 touchdowns through the air, plus 1,165 yards and 26 scores on the ground. Added together, that's 13,069 total yards and an ACC-record 133 touchdowns. However, even as a four-year starter, he never showed a consistent presence in the pocket. Throw in a bad week at the Senior Bowl, and Boyd went from potential first-round pick in August to possible free agent. On Thursday, he completed 66-of-67 passes, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Rams GM Les Snead called it "an impressive display."

Arizona

This was another pro day in which the top player probably isn't on the Packers' radar. Running back Ka'Deem Carey, who might be the first running back off the board, is a two-time consensus All-American. He rushed for 1,885 yards in 2013 and a school-record and national-best 1,929 yards in 2012.

Marquis Flowers (6-3, 235) is seen by a linebacker by some clubs and a potential safety by others. As a senior outside linebacker, he had 93 tackles, including one sack and 11 for losses. As a sophomore, he started at safety. He ran in 4.43 with a 37.5-inch vertical and 24 reps on the bench. With his height and Kam Chancellor's success in Seattle, it's a natural to consider Flowers in the secondary.

Cornerback Shaquille Richardson has all the measureables. He's tall (6-1), fast (4.38) and athletic (38.5-inch vertical), according to a source. He intercepted three passes as a senior and was one of the more noteworthy snubs at the Combine.

"Shaq Richardson, Marquis Flowers, those are people that have been making plays for us all year," Carey told reporters after his workout. "They came out and showed out. I was happy to see that. They needed that and that's exactly what they did and left satisfied."

As a senior, Tevin Hood had one sack, 7.5 tackles for losses and two forced fumbles. Hood (6-0, 302) ran in 5.03 with 32 reps on the bench and a 26-inch vertical. He looked good in drills, a source said.

"Back in high school I heard about it," Hood said about his lack of height. "Now, you don't hear about it as much because there are a lot of shorter players in the league. Measuring under 6 foot as in interior d-lineman is basically an asterisk next to your name. As long as you can perform and show that you have the skills necessary to do the job, it's not too big of a deal."

Illinois

Linebacker Jonathan Brown (6-3, 238) ran in 4.85 seconds with 18 reps on the bench, both improvements over his 5.03 and 16 reps at the Combine. Brown, a three-year starter and all-Big Ten performer, was the Illini's leading tackler with 119, including five sacks and 15 for losses as a senior.

Four players could merit attention in free agency. One is receiver Ryan Lankford (6-0, 175), who ran in 4.39 with a 10-7 broad jump and a 32.5-inch vertical, and grabbed all the catchable balls thrown to him during positional drills, a source said. He was interviewed by about 10 scouts afterward. It was an impressive performance, since he was medically cleared just two weeks ago after sustaining a broken shoulder against Michigan in October. He caught 15 passes for 308 yards (20.5 average) as a senior and 70 passes for 1,014 yards and seven touchdowns for his career. He also returned punts and punted in 2011 and returned kickoffs in 2012. Another receiver, Steve Hull, ran in 4.54 with a 36.5-inch vertical. He led the team with 59 receptions for 993 yards (16.8 average) and seven touchdowns. In 2012, Hull (6-2, 200) started at safety and had a team-high two interceptions.

Evan Wilson (6-6, 250) ran a so-so 4.85 in the 40 but his vertical jump of 35.5 inches would have ranked second among tight ends at the Combine. He caught six passes for 67 yards and three touchdowns as a senior. Offensive tackle Corey Lewis (6-5, 315) put up 26 reps on the bench. He's a remarkable story after missing all of 2010, 2011 and most of 2012 with three torn ACLs and five surgeries. He played through a fourth torn ACL throughout 2013. Offseason surgery kept him from the physical testing.


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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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