Three of the best of this year's draft class were on display during Wednesday's pro days.
Weston Richburg (6-3, 304), coming off a superb career and impressive Senior Bowl, is Scout.com's top-ranked center. He started all 50 games in his career. He had just one errant snap during that time. His build fits the mold of Evan Dietrich-Smith and his predecessors, Jeff Saturday and Scott Wells.
Richburg stood on his Combine numbers of 5.10 in the 40, a 25.5-inch vertical and 25 reps on the 225-pound bench press. A source said his positional workout, along with his resume, possibly sealed his spot as the draft's top center.
"I wanted to show that I'm not a guy that just sits and brawls guys," Richburg told The Coloradoan. "I want to show that I can pull and move really well. I think I did that. I'm really happy with how I moved."
Tight end Crockett Gillmore (6-6, 260), a midround prospect, ran 4.78 then injured his hamstring on his second sprint. That at least was an improvement over his 4.89 at the Combine. Gillmore caught 47 passes for 577 yards and two touchdowns as a senior, then did well as an injury replacement at the Senior Bowl. As a freshman, he played on the defensive line.
The Packers also saw two linebackers. CSU's Shaquil Barrett (6-1, 251) was arguably the biggest Scouting Combine snub after earning Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Year honors after a senior season of 12 sacks and 20.5 tackles for losses. He added three blocked kicks and four forced fumbles. He ran in 4.72 with a 29-inch vertical, according to a source. He is a late-round possibility. Northern Colorado inside linebacker Clarence Bumpas (6-1, 250) ran in 4.78. The Kansas State transfer led the team with 107 tackles, including 1.5 sacks and 3.5 for losses to earn second-team all-conference accolades. He finished his career as the FCS active leader with 11.11 tackles per game.
"Today was a good day," Barrett said. "Some of the drills I think I could have done better. I think it was like an A-minus day. I probably didn't reach what I wanted to do but I think I did pretty good."
Running back Kapri Bibbs (5-9, 212) hopes to get drafted after rushing for 1,572 yards and 31 touchdowns as a redshirt sophomore in 2013. Bibbs, who is battling a toe injury, improved from 4.67 at the Combine to about 4.50.
"The last time I ran a 4.5 was in high school as a freshman and sophomore," Bibbs said. "With the injury, it is what it is. I just want to show teams out there that I'm ready to compete."
Cornerback Shaq Bell (5-11, 198) is a physical defender who had 7.5 tackles for losses as a senior and two career interceptions. He ran in 4.60.
If Richburg isn't the top center, perhaps that will be USC's Marcus Martin. Martin (6-3, 318), an early entrant, started at guard as a freshman and sophomore before moving into the pivot as a junior. The first-team all-conference selection sustained season-ending knee and ankle injuries in the regular-season finale against UCLA. He didn't test at the Scouting Combine; on Wednesday, he ran in 5.35 with a 22.5-inch vertical. Whatever his athletic limitations, he can rely on a whopping 82 3/8-inch wingspan.
We'll have more on Martin's day and some other key Trojans on Thursday. For more from USC, CLICK HERE.
Center No. 3 was Oklahoma's Gabe Ikard, a late-round prospect. Ikard (6-4, 304) stood on his Combine performance (5.13 in the 40, a 26-inch vertical and 22 reps on the bench) and showed his excellent athleticism in drills. Ikard, a 50-game starter, was a finalist for the Rimington Award, which goes to the nation's top center, and was a second-team All-American. He also won the Wuerrfel Trophy (athletics, academics and community service) and was named the Capital One Academic Player of the Year. According to the NFL Draft Report, his 329 career knockdown blocks led all Big 12 performers.
The top prospect is diminutive receiver Jalen Saunders (5-9, 165). He's far too short for the Packers' tastes, but they need to upgrade their return game and he averaged 15.4 yards per punt return with two touchdowns as a senior. Plus, he caught 61 passes for 729 yards and eight scores.
Fullback Trey Millard and cornerback Aaron Colvin were on the sideline. Millard sustained a season-ending knee injury against Texas Tech and Colvin tore an ACL during a practice at the Senior Bowl. Millard (6-2, 245) was first-team all-conference as a junior and senior; he caught 30 passes as a junior. Colvin, at 5-foot-11, also was first-team all-conference during his final two seasons. He has the height the Packers prefer at corner. Four of his five interceptions came in 2012.
The Buffs' top draft prospect is receiver Paul Richardson, whose father played for the Packers. Richardson (6-1, 175) ran in 4.40 with a 38-inch vertical at the Combine. He stuck with those numbers, then looked good in drills, according to a source. Chidera Uzo-Diribe tallied 20 sacks as a defensive end, including four sacks and five forced fumbles as a senior. At 6-foot-2 and 252 pounds, he'd move to outside linebacker.
The Packers didn't sign a safety in the first or second waves of free agency, so they'll be scouring the draft to find a player or three. One option, perhaps as an undrafted free agent, would be Jeremy Deering.
Deering had a monster workout that would have been him at the top of the safety class at the Scouting Combine. According to a source, Deering (6-1, 210) ran in 4.37 with a 33.5-inch vertical and 18 reps on the bench. Deering is sure to rise up draft boards, considering his relative lack of experience at the position. He was recruited by former coach Greg Schiano to be a wildcat quarterback. He spent his freshman season at quarterback and receiver, then played running backs as a sophomore and junior. As a senior, he started 10 games on defense and finished with 39 tackles and one interception. He also was a standout kickoff returner in 2011 and 2012; as a sophomore, he ranked fourth nationally with a 31.2-yard average.
The Packers don't need left tackle Taylor Lewan — and it's not as if he'll be on the board until No. 21, anyway. Right tackle Michael Schofield, however, is an interesting prospect. The Packers certainly don't need a right tackle, not with Bryan Bulaga, Derek Sherrod and Don Barclay. But Schofield (6-6, 301), who did just individual drills other than improving his broad jump by more than a foot, can play right tackle and both guard spots. The Packers, like most teams, covet that versatility. "Michael's film is every bit as good" as Lewan's, a source said.
Running back Fitz Toussaint (5-10, 200) had what a source called "a great day." He ran in 4.48 with a 35.5-inch vertical and 24 reps on the bench. As a senior, he rushed for 646 yards and 12 touchdowns, pushing his career totals to 2,288 yards and 27 scores. Thomas Gordon, a four-year starter at safety who recorded three of six interceptions as a senior, had a big day with a 4.49 in the 40 and an impressive 40.5-inch vertical.
"That was my best vertical jump ever," Gordon told MGoBlue.com. "Today can be looked at as pressure or you can look at having all of these people out here as an advantage. Having all of these people watch helped me focus on each event in and give it my all."
A source said the Packers' interest was Merrimack quarterback Joseph Clancy. As a senior, he threw for 4,116 yards and 48 touchdowns. The 6-foot-2 passer had a strong day in drills, according to a source at the workout.
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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 email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.