That’s where a former basketball player named Quinten Rollins showed his skills for scouts at the Miami (Ohio) pro day. Given the uncertainty at cornerback for the Packers, he could very well go from one season of football to Round 1 of the draft.
Rollins was named the MAC’s Defensive Player of the Year with his MAC-leading seven interceptions. And that’s it for his college football resume. Before that? He was a standout basketball player for the RedHawks. He’s 12th on the MAC’s all-time list with 214 steals and is fourth in school history with 391 assists.
“I wouldn’t say I surprised myself, because if anyone knows what I’m capable of, it’s me,” Rollins said at the Combine. “I just didn’t expect it to come that fast. I thought I’d have a solid year but to have a year like that, it was special. I just can’t do nothing but say I was blessed and fortunate and hopefully just more seasons to come.”
Rollins (5-11, 195) stuck with his 40-yard time of 4.57 seconds and the rest of his workout from the Scouting Combine. Rollins’ long speed is the main concern for scouts, a problem that cropped up at the Senior Bowl. Thursday’s workout did nothing one way or the other to answer that question. However, considering his production in his one and only season of college football and that he’s far more physical than you’d expect from a basketball player, he’s very much in play for Green Bay at No. 30 of the first round.
Mariota was obviously the featured attraction. Plenty of eyes also were on standout right tackle Jake Fisher — who would have been a strong possibility for the Packers had they not re-signed Bryan Bulaga. That left two players of strong interest: defensive lineman Arik Armstead and outside linebacker Tony Washington.
Armstead (6-7, 292) could go in the final half-dozen picks of the first round. Or he might last a dozen picks into the second. His production was so-so — 2.5 sacks, 4.5 tackles for losses, 46 tackles as a junior in 2014. However, his size speaks for itself and he’s athletic enough that he played briefly on Oregon’s basketball team. He stuck with his Combine workout (5.10, 34 vertical, 24 reps) and did only position drills.
Washington (6-4, 247), a late-round prospect, put up back-to-back seasons of 60 tackles, with 7.5 sacks, 12 tackles for losses and four forced fumbles in 13 games as a junior and 6.0 sacks, 11.5 TFLs and three forced fumbles in 15 games as a senior. He ran in 4.99 at the Combine.
For all the focus on Stephone Anthony, Benardrick McKinney and Eric Kendricks, Ryan incredibly has flown under the media radar among 3-4 inside linebacker candidates. As a senior, he tallied 112 tackles, including two sacks and 14 for losses. He also forced two fumbles and picked off one pass.
Ryan (6-2, 240) stuck with his Combine workout, which included a 4.65 in the 40, and impressed in the drills. Because of Ryan’s size and speed, a source thought he could sneak into the third round and go no later than the fifth.
“Wherever he goes, he’ll play 10 years,” the source said.
Funchess (6-4, 232) ran his 40 in a sizzling 4.48, according to the school Web site. He ran a pair of 4.70s at the Combine.
Frank Clark (6-3, 271) played 48 games and started for most of his final two seasons. He had 43 tackles, 4.5 sacks, 12 tackles for losses and two fumble recoveries as a junior and 42 tackles, 4.5 sacks, 13 TFLs and four recoveries as a senior. He played something close to the equivalent of the elephant position for the Wolverines. However, it’s doubtful he’s on the Packers’ radar. He was kicked off the team for domestic violence and sexual assault charges; his pretrial hearing is scheduled for April 9.
Devin Gardner, who threw the ball to Funchess, is being looked at as a receiver. At 6-foot-4 and 217 pounds, he’s about as big as Funchess. He ran in the low 4.6s, according to a source. However, not surprisingly, he’s not close to being an NFL-ready player and probably won’t get drafted.
If defensive lineman Xavier Cooper is available at the end of the second round, the Packers might have a decision on their hands. Cooper started 34 of his 36 games during his three years at WSU. Among his 37 tackles in 2014 were five sacks and a team-high 9.5 TFLs. Cooper (6-3, 293) is an athletic freak. He ran in 4.86 and put up 29 reps on the bench at the Combine. Cooper stuck with those numbers, then had an excellent position workout, according to a source.
The Cougars’ other top prospects didn’t work out. Quarterback Connor Halliday (6-3, 196) is out with a broken ankle sustained late in the season. At the time of the injury, he led the nation in passing yards while operating coach Mike Leach’s wide-open offense. His top target, Jeff Mayle (6-2, 219), sustained a broken right thumb at the Senior Bowl — an injury diagnosed a month later at the Combine. Those two will work out for scouts on April 1. Mayle figures to go in the fifth or sixth round; Halliday perhaps in the seventh.
Defensive lineman James Castleman, a sixth- or seventh-round possibility, is the Cowboys’ top prospect and perhaps only draft-worthy player. The three-year starter had 3.5 sacks and eight tackles for losses among his 45 tackles a senior. Plus, he blocked three kicks.
Castleman (6-3, 298) had a good day, running his 40 in 5.25 seconds and 25 official reps on the bench (28; three weren’t counted). The Eagles sent defensive line coach/assistant head coach Jerry Azzinaro there, a sign of Castleman’s talent given the overall lack of talent at OSU this year.
One intriguing talent is Josh Furman, who transferred from Michigan after playing sparingly for three seasons. Furman (6-2, 202) played linebacker in the Cowboys’ scheme but will play safety in the NFL. He had an “awesome” workout, according to one source in attendance. He had seven sacks, 14 tackles for losses and one interception as a senior.
Edge rusher Bud Dupree will be gone in the top 15 picks. The only other draft-worthy player is Za’Darius Smith, a possible third-round option. We’ll have more on him later.
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