Maxx Williams, pretty clearly the top tight end in this year’s draft, stuck to his testing numbers from the Scouting Combine but went through drills in front of scouts that included Green Bay’s Alonzo Dotson. Tight ends coaches from the Vikings, Seahawks, Steelers and Bengals were present, according to a source attending the workout.
"I think everybody knows about his athletic skill-set, what he can do in the passing game," Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said. "He's a young player and shows a lot of speed, plays fast when he catches the ball. (He) continues to improve as a run blocker, so he's going to have, I believe, a very productive career in the NFL."
At the Combine, Williams ran his 40-yard dash in 4.78 seconds with a 34.5-inch vertical leap. Only two tight ends beat Williams’ 40 and he was fifth in the vertical. He’s a potential first round pick — the Steelers at No. 22 could be a landing spot with Heath Miller being 32. And he’d be a strong consideration for the Packers at No. 30 as they seek another explosive playmaker on offense.
"My goal is to go in the first round," Williams said. "But as long as I hear my named called on one of those first three days, I'll be happy."
Williams, who had a formal interview with the Packers at the Scouting Combine, was a finalist for the Mackey Award as the nation’s top tight end as he led all collegiate tight ends by turning 77.8 percent of his catches into first downs or touchdowns. He also was an Academic All-American. He is following in his father’s footsteps. Brian Williams was a first-round pick by the Giants in 1989 and started 62 games at center in a nine-year career.
“I think just the fact you're going in the first round is a great honor,” Williams said at the Combine. “I mean, not many people can say they're first round. Not many people can say they went in the first round and so did their father, so having an opportunity to go in the first round, it would be a moment I would remember for the rest of my life.”
Damien Wilson, a late-round inside linebacker prospect — an obvious position of need for the Packers — stuck with his Combine workout of 4.77 in the 40 and a 37-inch vertical. That’s good stuff for a 6-foot, 245-pounder who piled up 119 tackles, including four sacks and 10.5 for losses, as a senior.
Safety Cedric Thompson (6-0, 211), who doesn’t show up on a list of the top 600 prospects compiled by the NFL’s head scout, Dave-Te’ Thomas, had a monster day. According to a source, he ran as fast as 4.37 in the 40 with a 40.5-inch vertical and 21 reps on the bench.
Star running back David Cobb, a potential third-round pick, did not test due to a quad injury sustained at the Combine. He said he plans on working out for scouts in about a month.
Here are the other schools in which we learned a Packers scout was in attendance.
When all is said and done, there might not be a player who’s done more to help himself in the offseason than Tennessee-Chattanooga’s Davis Tull.
Tull, the Southern Conference’s three-time Defensive Player of the Year and a three-time FCS All-American defensive end, recorded 37 sacks, 60 tackles for losses and 10 forced fumbles during his career. Among defenders in this year’s draft, he ranked No. 1 in TFLs and No. 2 in forced fumbles.
At the Combine, the 6-foot-2, 246-pounder posted a 42.5-inch vertical jump. He didn’t run the 40 due a strained left hamstring. At his pro day, he ran his 40 as fast as 4.55 seconds, according to a source.
Among this year’s edge rushers (4-3 ends/3-4 outside linebackers), Thomas called Tull the best run-stopper. A scout in attendance called him “Clay Matthews Jr.” and a “freak.” He’s potentially in the Day 2 mix, even in a jam-packed group of edge defenders.
Another intriguing defender as a 3-4 end is Derrick Lott. At 6-foot-4 and 313 pounds, he ran in 4.99 at the Combine with 30 reps on the bench. He did not participate at pro day due to illness. The sixth-year senior had six sacks and 13.5 TFLs in 2014.
Virginia has two edge-rushing defenders, Eli Harold and Max Valles. Harold (6-3, 247), with seven sacks and 14.5 TFLs this past season, stuck with his explosive Combine workout of 4.60 in the 40 with a 35-inch vertical. He’s a second-round prospect. Valles (6-5, 251), an early entrant after a season of nine sacks and 12.5 TFLs, lopped about one-tenth of a second off his 4.83 at the Combine. He could go in the fourth round.
The only draftable prospect is star cornerback Kevin Johnson. At 6-foot, 188 pounds, he’s got the size the Packers covet at a position that could be in transition with Tramon Williams and Davon House headed to free agency. For his career, he picked off seven passes and broke up 35 others. He intercepted one pass in 2014.
He stuck with his Combine results of 4.52 in the 40 with a 41.5-inch vertical. That height and leaping ability — a rare combination in this year’s draft class — will make him a coveted prospect who might rise into the first round.
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