Pro Day Tour '14: Doubling-Down at Baylor

The Packers sent two scouts to Baylor on Wednesday. Who might have been the player of interest? We have that and much more in an intriguing day on the pro day circuit. Among the notes, the Packers passed up a big school with a big corner to see an under-the-radar prospect.

The Green Bay Packers sent two scouts to Baylor's pro day on Wednesday.

Considering the Packers probably aren't in the market for a guard (Cyril Richardson, who is one of the top guards in the draft, is Baylor's top prospect) or a running back (Green Bay is overflowing with backfield talent so wouldn't spend a pick on 5-foot-9 Lache Seastrunk), safety Ahmad Dixon very well might have been the featured attraction.

The hard-hitting Dixon (6-0, 212) enters the draft after having a decorated senior season, with first-team all-Big 12 and first-team All-American accolades. He finished second on the team with 81 tackles, one interception, six passes defensed, one forced fumble and one blocked kick. He ran in 4.64 in the 40-yard dash with a 32-inch vertical at the Scouting Combine. On Wednesday, according to the Dallas Morning News, Dixon ran in 4.51 with a 34-inch vertical.

Dixon started in 2011 and 2012 as Baylor's nickel defender, then moved to safety as a senior. If the Packers don't land HaHa Clinton-Dix or Calvin Pryor in the first round, or Deone Bucannon or Jimmie Ward in the second, Dixon could be an option in the third.

Receiver Tevin Reese (5-10, 163), who ran in 4.46 with a 41-inch vertical at the Combine, improved to 4.36. He's a big-play threat whose 22 touchdown receptions of 40-plus yards is tops in the BCS era. Tight end Jordan Najvar (6-6, 256), a powerful blocker, improved from 4.93 at the Combine to 4.84.

Virginia Tech

With Sam Shields re-signed to give the Packers a three-man cornerback platoon of Shields, Tramon Williams and Casey Hayward, it would be a mild surprise for the Packers to select the Hokies' Kyle Fuller in the first round. Fuller, a three-time all-ACC selection who was leading the nation in passes defensed as a senior until needing surgery to mend a sports hernia, ran in 4.49 with a 38.5-inch vertical at the Combine. He stuck with those numbers, then aced his positional workout, according to a source. A scout said Fuller might wind up being the best corner in the draft.

Considering coach Mike McCarthy's hope to add a fourth quarterback to the mix, the player of interest might have been Logan Thomas. In an interview with Packer Report on Tuesday, Senior Bowl executive director Phil Savage said Thomas "may have the most talent of any of the quarterbacks" in the draft. Thomas was a 40-game starter who completed just 55.5 percent of his passes. To improve that scattershot accuracy, he's been working with quarterback guru George Whitefield. That work paid off on Wednesday.

"I thought he put on a show," Whitfield said.

Thomas (6-6, 248) stood on his 4.61 from the Scouting Combine. Testing numbers are great. But can he complete a pass?

"He answered the questions that needed to be answered," Whitfield said. "Could he play in rhythm? Could he be consistent? And then a lot of these guys wanted to see one of the rare arms in football. Not just college, but I think there are only four or five guys on Sundays who can throw with him. ...

"I thought he hit a home run today for sure."

James Gayle (6-4, 259) lopped a few-hundredths of a second off his 4.70 from the Scouting Combine. The nephew of former Bears standout Shaun Gayle had 22 sacks in his Tech career.

Lindenwood

At some point, Pierre Desir can't possibly be a sleeper anymore.

Well, maybe he still is.

Few small-school defenders have generated the buzz in recent years that Desir has garnered, starting from his performance at the East-West Shrine Game and the Senior Bowl, and then again at the Scouting Combine. Less than 10 teams were represented on Wednesday, but the Packers were among them.

(It's worth noting that the Packers were at Lindenwood for Desir rather than Utah, which has more draft-worthy prospects, including 6-foot-3 corner Keith McGill.)

Desir (6-1, 196) ran in 4.50 (on a windy, 30-degree day) with a 38-inch vertical. And talk about a good time for a growth spurt: Somehow, Desir's arms went from 33 inches at the Scouting Combine to 34 1/4. 

As a senior, he won the Cliff Harris Award, which goes to the nation's best small-school defender. In his four seasons (split between Division II Washburn and NAIA Lindenwood), he picked off 25 passes. When playing in man coverage last season, he allowed three completions.

Desir probably started the draft process as a late-round pick. He's been on an upward trajectory ever since. For teams like Green Bay, which probably wouldn't consider drafting TCU's Jason Verrett (5-10) or Florida State's Lamarcus Joyner (5-8), Darqueze Dennard, Justin Gilbert, Fuller and Ohio State's Bradley Roby are probably the top four corners. Desir, at the very least, has to be in the conversation as No. 5. With his size, speed and upside — how much can he improve with NFL coaching? — he might not get out of the second round.

San Jose State

With former Packers receiver James Jones in attendance, quarterback David Fales completed 52-of-53 passes, according to a source in attendance. No surprise on the accuracy: In 2012, he led the nation in completion percentage, and he's won a couple of passing competitions against the likes of Johnny Manziel.

"I think accuracy is one of my strengths, and I'm always trying to improve that along with my pocket presence and anticipation" Fales told Packer Report at the Scouting Combine. "It's about getting your feet right and your feet set, and having consistent footwork and tying it into everything that you're doing with your progressions. It starts with your feet."

Fales is considered a Day 3 prospect. With McCarthy lamenting how little time there is to coach a young quarterback during the offseason and training camp, a relatively polished prospect like Fales would make a lot of sense.

According to the school, cornerback Bene Benwikere (5-11, 189) ran in 4.67 — a bit slower than his 4.63 from the Combine. He intercepted 12 passes over his final two seasons. Receiver Chandler Jones (5-8, 183) ran a blistering 4.37. He caught 79 passes for 1,356 yards and 15 touchdowns as a senior but has no return experience.

California

It's not a banner year for the Golden Bears but there were three late-round prospects working out for scouts on Tuesday. DeAndre Coleman (6-5, 314) has ideal physical traits, including 34 3/8-inch arms, to play defensive end in Green Bay's base 3-4 scheme. Other than his 24 reps on the bench, he didn't test at the Scouting Combine because of a knee injury. He ran in the mid-4.9s on Tuesday.

Linebacker Khairi Fortt (6-2, 248), a semifinalist for the Butkus Award, would add to the competition at inside linebacker. He had a great day at the Scouting Combine, with a 4.70 in the 40, a 36-inch vertical and 30 reps on the bench. On Tuesday, he had a strong positional workout, according to a source. Tight end Richard Rodgers (6-4, 257) made several impressive catches, according to the Mercury News.

— And while in clean-up mode, we received late word that the Packers had a scout at Florida Atlantic on Tuesday. Sleeper receiver Seth Roberts, who caught 40 passes for 857 yards (21.4 average) and 12 touchdowns for West Alabama as a senior, measured in at 6-foot-2 and ran his 40 in 4.44. Finally, at Tarleton State, cornerback Dashaun Phillips (5-11, 182) ran in 4.48 with a 39-inch vertical. He measured in at 5-foot-10 during the spring; his late growth spurt (to 5-11 3/8, officially) has teams taking a second look. He had one interception as a senior but seven as a sophomore.


Agree or disagree?: Discuss hot Packers topics in our, free forums. Leave Bill a question in the subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum.


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.


Packer Report Top Stories