Pro Day Tour: Phillips Headlines Big Day

There might not have been a more important prospect than Jordan Phillips during a wild Wednesday of pro days. Oklahoma, Alabama, Wisconsin and USC were among seven pro days with a Packers scout in attendance.

Did the Green Bay Packers see their first-round pick on Wednesday at Oklahoma’s pro day?

Two Sooners could be on the board when the Packers are up at No 30: receiver Dorial Green-Beckham and defensive tackle Jordan Phillips. The Packers almost certainly will have no interest in Green-Beckham, considering his troubled past. Phillips, however, would be hard to overlook if he’s still on the board.

After missing most of 2013 with a back injury that required surgery, Phillips (6-5, 327) returned to earn second-team all-Big 12 honors. The redshirt sophomore tallied 39 tackles, including two sacks and seven for losses. He stuck with his Combine numbers of 5.17 in the 40, 30-inch vertical and 28 reps on the bench, then sailed through the position drills.

"I can move a lot better than a lot people out here so I wanted to show my athleticism," he said. "Three hundred and thirty (pounds) normally doesn't move the way I do."

The injury is an obvious concern, though Phillips says he’s fine — and was fine in 2014.

“Jordan Phillips is another one of those boom-or-bust guys from Oklahoma,” NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said at the Scouting Combine. “He’s 6-6, 325 and he shuts the run game down. Plus, he's athletic enough to push the pocket. He started one year. He had back surgery two years ago. He's a little bit of a risk.”

Had the Packers not re-signed Bryan Bulaga, they might have grabbed Daryl Williams in the second round. That’s probably not in the cards, but there could be interest in outside linebacker Geneo Grissom (fourth or fifth round), tight end Blake Bell (fifth or sixth) and fullback Aaron Ripkowski (seventh round). All three had good days. Grissom (6-3, 261) ran in 4.75, looked good in drills and even played some at tight end. He had 3.5 sacks and 6.5 TFLs as a senior. Bell (6-6, 251), the former Oklahoma quarterback, stick with his 4.80 in the 40. He caught 16 passes for 214 yards in his first season at tight end. Ripkowski (6-1, 238), an all-conference pick as a senior, had a monster day. He ran in 4.63 with a 33-inch vertical.

About Green-Beckham? We’ve got his story.

Alabama

Alabama has the draft’s top receiver in Amari Cooper and the top safety in Landon Collins. Both will be off the board long before the Green Bay Packers are on the clock at No. 30 of the first round.

It’s the Crimson Tide’s role players, who should go in the third day of the draft, who might have been of the most interest.

Fullback Jalston Fowler (5-11, 254; 4.83 in the 40) cleared the way for the dynamic backfield duo of T.J. Yeldon and Derrick Henry, who both approached 1,000-yard seasons. He’s got some John Kuhn in him as he has some ability with the ball in his hands, both as a runner and receiver.

"I think there's no question Jalston Fowler can do so many things well,” coach Nick Saban told reporters. “He's a really good receiver. He's a great blocker. He has running skills with the ball in his hand so he actually can be a big back for somebody. There's still some situations where guys like Jalston Fowler have tremendous value, and he's really a good matchup player on special teams. I think one of the things that people don't understand when you're building a roster in the NFL, you have to take that into consideration because you only have 46 guys out there for the game. If you're not a star player, you've got to be a good special teams player. There's a lot of things Jalston Fowler brings value to any team that he goes to."

Offensive tackle Austin Shepherd (6-4, 315) was a two-year starter who allowed two sacks as a junior and none as a senior while tallying a combined 22 touchdown-producing blocks. He’s also played a little left tackle and guard so has the position versatility the Packers are looking for as they try to build depth behind their starting five.

Outside linebacker Xzavier Dickson (6-4, 260) lopped about one-tenth of a second off of his Combine time of 4.74, according to AL.com. He had a breakout senior season with nine sacks and 12.5 tackles for losses.

Receiver Christion Jones (5-10, 182; 4.63 at the Combine) has return potential; in 2013, he was the SEC’s Special Teams Player of the Year with three touchdowns on returns. Safety Nick Perry (6-1, 205) ran in 4.59.

And what about quarterback-turned-something Blake Sims?

Wisconsin

Record-setting running back Melvin Gordon was the star attraction but, with Ted Thompson, Alonzo Highsmith and Eliot Wolf in attendance, the players of perhaps the greatest interest were tackle Rob Havenstein and receiver Jake Kumerow of Division III Wisconsin-Whitewater.

Havenstein (6-7, 321) put up just 16 reps on the bench press at the Scouting Combine — fewest for any offensive lineman. On Wednesday, he improved to 20. Not that it matters. Havenstein started the final 41 games of his career at right tackle. As a senior, he earned several first-team All-American nods while powering the Badgers to the fourth-best rushing average in FBS history. With that track record — and UW’s track record for cranking out linemen — it’s hard to imagine he gets past the fourth round. If he’s still there in the fourth, he might be worth a shot for the Packers, who no longer need an immediate starter at right tackle after re-signing Bulaga.

“It’s the same thing as college, you took it one day at a time,” Havenstein said. “I can’t be thinking about the draft when I was out here working out. Whether it’s a private workout or a workout on my own that day, I have to do that to the best of my ability and really get better on that day.”

And about Gordon?

Oh, and who in the heck is Jake Kumerow? He caught 77 passes for 1,331 yards and 19 touchdowns as a junior and, despite missing four games as a senior, he caught 66 balls for 1,116 yards and 14 touchdowns. His father, Eric, was a first-round pick by Miami as a linebacker in 1988.

His measurables are incredible. How about 6-foot-4 1/2 and 209 pounds? He ran his 40s in 4.50 and 4.52 seconds. With his former UWW quarterback, Matt Behrendt, throwing the rock, he impressed during receiving drills.

“I’d take him over (Jeff) Janis,” a scout texted while on his way out of Madison.

USC

Three Trojans could be of utmost interest with a midround pick: cornerback Josh Shaw, running back Buck Allen and linebacker Hayes Pullard.

Shaw sprained both ankles when jumping off a balcony in late August. Shaw made it sound like the act of a hero as he allegedly saved a drowning nephew. Instead, he jumped off the balcony to evade the cops, who were called to the scene after a verbal altercation with his longtime girlfriend. Between the injuries and suspension, Shaw’s senior season was a flop. After intercepting four passes while starting at safety and cornerback and earning some all-conference honors in 2013, he played in only three games in 2014.

“I just look them in the eye and tell them the truth, tell them everything that happened,” Shaw said. “It’s just about being very candid with them and letting them see me for who I really am. And let them know that the mistake I made was really out of character.”

Shaw (6-1, 201) has rebuilt his stock, which included a 4.44 at the Scouting Combine. He went through position drills on Wednesday.

Allen (6-1, 221) also stuck with his strong Combine workout (4.53) He’s a terrific all-around player who rushed for 1,489 yards (5.4 average) and 13 scores and added an impressive 41 receptions for 458 yards in 2014. He’s exactly the type of back the Packers prefer.

Pullard (6-1, 240) was a four-year starter who turned in a senior season of a team-leading 95 tackles to earn an honorable mention on the all-conference team. That gave him a career total of 377 tackles. He was timed in 4.74, according to the school Web site.

Tight end Randall Telfer is out with a Lisfranc foot injury, probably ruining his draft prospects.

Rutgers

Tyler Kroft (6-6, 246), a midround tight end prospect, was timed in 4.72 after being unable to test at the Combine with an ankle injury. Kroft started a total of 23 games as a sophomore and junior before jumping into the NFL. He caught 24 passes for 269 yards (11.2 average) in 2014 after a big-time 43 receptions for 573 yards (13.3 average) and four scores in 2013.

Michael Burton (5-11, 242), one of the top fullbacks in the draft, stuck with his 4.74 from the Combine but put up 30 reps on the bench — five more than in Indy. Burton was the No. 1 fullback for the Scarlet Knights as a junior and senior. He caught at least one pass in 11 of 13 games as a senior with 15 catches for 150 yards in all.

Louisville

For Green Bay’s purposes, outside linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin (6-4, 259) probably was the top prospect. Mauldin, a possibility at the end of Round 2, had 6.5 sacks and 13 tackles for losses playing outside linebacker in Louisville’s 3-4 scheme. He ran in 4.85 at the Combine.

Three defensive backs would be possibilities in Day 3 of the draft.

Safety Gerod Holliman (6-0, 218), who didn’t test at the Combine due to a strained hamstring, didn’t impress with a 40 in the low 4.6s. However, it’s hard to deny his ball skills after he led the nation with 14 interceptions — the highest total in the collegiate ranks in 46 years. Another safety, James Sample (6-2, 209), led the team with 90 tackles and posted four interceptions. He ran in 4.56 at the Combine.

Cornerback Chris Gaines (5-10, 180), who had a formal interview with the Packers at the Scouting Combine, ran as fast as 4.34, according to the Courier-Journal newspaper. That’s even better than his 4.44 from the Combine. He had seven interceptions in two seasons after moving from wide receiver.

Deiontrez Mount stole the show. Projected as an undrafted free agent, Mount, who would be an outside linebacker at 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds, ran a shocking 4.53 in the 40, with a 32-inch vertical and 28 reps on the bench, according to a source. Mount, a starter for the first time as a senior, had five sacks and 10.5 tackles for losses in 2014.

Receiver DeVante Parker, of course, was the main attraction. He’s a top-15 pick, most likely. The man throwing him the ball? Former Packers quarterback Brian Brohm. A second-round bust in 2008, Brohm plays for CFL’s Winnipeg franchise.

Cincinnati

Inside linebacker Jeff Luc, who might sneak into the seventh round, piled up a team-high 134 tackles with 6.5 sacks, 10 tackles for losses and a team-high six forced fumbles as a senior. At 6-foot and 255 pounds, the Florida State transfer is definitely a different body type than most of the 6-foot, 230-ish-pounders in this draft class. According to the school Web site, he ran in 4.59 with a 34-inch vertical. He also worked at fullback.

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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