Pro Day Tour: Heeney’s the Headliner

Kansas inside linebacker Ben Heeney, a bunch of quality receivers and an intriguing quarterback were the focal points of at least seven pro days with confirmed attendance by a Packers scout.

For the Green Bay Packers and the rest of the NFL teams, Ben Heeney’s startling production and athleticism will need to be balanced against some off-the-field misdeeds.

The Packers are in dire need of a few good men to play inside linebacker, and Heeney was pretty darned good at Kansas. During his final two seasons, he piled up 215 tackles, 22 tackles for losses and four interceptions.

At Wednesday’s pro day, he picked up where he left off at the Scouting Combine. At the Combine, Heeney (6-2, 231) ran a 4.59 in the 40, a short shuttle of 4.00 that was the best among the linebackers and a 6.68 three-cone timing that was so dominant that only two other linebackers were faster than even 6.99. At pro day, he stuck with the Combine workout and had a quality positional workout.

The down side? In 2011, he was arrested and charged with driving under the influence and racing on a highway. In 2013, he was cited for misdemeanor battery at a bar.

Fullback/H-back Jimmay Mundine had a big day. Mundine (6-1, 240) ran an impressive 4.56 with a 38-inch vertical and 20 reps on the bench. He paced the team with 45 receptions, 584 yards and three touchdowns.

The Jayhawks have two cornerbacks worth of late-round consideration in JaCorey Shepherd (5-11, 199) and Dexter McDonald (6-1, 203). Shepherd, who didn’t test at the Combine due to an injured left hamstring, tweaked the injury and didn’t register an official time. McDonald was timed as fast as 4.37, a source said. In 2014, Shepherd, with a sixth-round prediction from the league’s head scout, Dave-Te’ Thomas, had three interceptions and ranked third nationally with 19 passes defensed. McDonald, a free agent, had two interceptions and 15 defensed.

Beyond the Kansas players, two standouts from Pittsburg State really stole the show. Receiver Gavin Lutman (6-3, 206) turned in a sizzling 4.46 in the 40 with a 36.5-inch vertical. His 20- and 60-yard shuttles ranked near the top of all performers at the Combine. As a senior, he caught 70 passes for 1,196 yards (17.1 average) and 13 touchdowns. Safety Keeston Terry (6-2, 209) ran in 4.63 but, like Lutman, put up jaw-dropping numbers in the other agility drills. He had 85 tackles, including two sacks and eight for losses, as a senior. His father, Doug, played four seasons for the Chiefs.

Central Florida

Last month, a scout said UCF receiver Breshad Perriman could sneak into the first round with a fast 40-yard time. He did just that on Wednesday. After not testing at the Combine due to an injured right hamstring, Perriman (6-2, 212) ran in 4.24 with a 36.5-inch vertical, according to NFL.com.

Chances are, the Packers won’t take a receiver in the first round. But the all-AAC first-teamer racked up 50 receptions with 1,044 yards (20.9 average; 55.6 percent catch rate) and nine touchdowns as a junior in 2014. He had a stretch of seven consecutive games with a touchdown and ended his career with at least one catch in 31 consecutive games. If his name rings a bell, his father, Brett, played receiver for the Lions and Saints for a decade.

Cornerback Jacoby Glenn (6-0, 179) could be an option late in the third. He improved from 4.64 at the Combine to 4.55. He’s got length and great ball skills — seven interceptions and 18 passes defensed as a redshirt sophomore in 2014 — but might not have the physicality the Packers are looking for. Safety Clayton Geathers (6-2, 218), a mid-Day 3 possibility, stuck with his 4.55 and 37-inch vertical from the Combine. Geathers started the final 52 games of his career and finished with 383 career tackles.

Duke

The Packers won’t be in the market for Duke’s top prospect, standout guard Laken Tomlinson, but receiver/returner Jamison Crowder could be an option in the fourth round and offensive tackle Jakoby Cofield could be worth a pick in the sixth or seventh.

Crowder (5-8, 185) capped a dominant career by catching 85 passes for 1,044 yards (12.3 average; 59.4 percent catch rate) and six touchdowns. During his final three seasons, he caught 269 passes for 3,478 yards and 22 touchdowns. For his career, he averaged 13.4 yards per punt return with three scores and 21.4 yards on kickoff returns. The lightly recruited Crowder’s career total of 283 receptions tied the ACC all-time record.

After running a 4.56 at the Combine, he was about one-tenth of a second faster. He showed good hands at his workout but his small hand size worries scouts.

Cofield (6-4, 310) mostly stuck with his Combine workout, which included a 5.19 in the 40 and 23 reps on the bench. He’s incredibly smart and the movement skills he showed on Wednesday certainly won’t hurt his draft stock.

An excellent free-agent option at inside linebacker would be David Helton (6-3, 235), who won the Campbell Trophy — aka the Academic Heisman. He’s a two-time all-ACC selection and the conference’s back-to-back leader in tackles. He didn’t work out because of an injured hamstring.

Running back Josh Snead, who was timed in 4.45, rushed for 401 yards as a senior.

Rice

With Alonzo Highsmith in attendance, defensive tackle Christian Covington was the star attraction. Covington (6-2, 289), who had a breakout junior season, missed the final four games of his senior season with a dislocated kneecap. That injury kept him from testing at the Scouting Combine but he showed his explosiveness with a 4.89 in the 40 and 24 reps on the bench, according to NFL.com. That might get him into Day 2 of the draft.

Towering receiver Jordan Taylor (6-4, 209) had a good day with a 4.53 in the 40 to solidify his spot in the draft. He was second-team all-Conference USA as a junior and senior. With three consecutive seasons of at least 50 receptions for 800 yards, he finished his career with 175 receptions for 2,585 yards (14.8 average) and 20 touchdowns.

Finally, two free agents: Defensive end Zach Patt, who projects to outside linebacker, had a good day. Patt (6-2, 244) ran in the low 4.6s and beat Covington with 27 reps on the bench. He had one sack in his first three seasons but 10 (to go with 12 TFLs and three forced fumbles) as a senior. Safety Julius White III ran as fast as 4.48 with a 35-inch vertical. The three-year starter had four interceptions, three forced fumbles and 13 TFLs for his career.

Nevada

The main attraction was quarterback Cody Fajardo. We’ll have more on him later. In his passing workout, three of his five incompletions were drops, according to a source at the workout.

Brock Hekking, a defensive end who translates to outside linebacker in Green Bay’s scheme, ran in 4.68 and put up 28 reps on the bench. During his three years as a starter, he piled up 21.5 sacks, 31.5 tackles for losses and four forced fumbles.

Fresno State

Ball-hawking safety Derron Smith might be the top prospect but, at 5-foot-10, might be too small for Green Bay’s tastes.

Receiver Josh Harper (6-1, 191) and defensive tackle Tyeler Davison (6-2, 316) should be gone before the end of Round 5.

Harper, who had a disappointing Combine with a 4.64 in the 40 and a 32-inch vertical, improved to 4.50 with a 33.5 vertical, according to the Fresno Bee. Without Davante Adams, Harper was a one-man band with 90 receptions for 1,097 yards and seven touchdowns with a catch rate of 61.6 percent as a senior. Then again, he was good with Adams, with 79 receptions for 1,011 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2013.

Davison, who put up an impressive 32 reps on the bench at the Combine even with his 34-inch arms, trimmed his 40 time from 5.18 at the Combine to 5.12, according to a source who called his positional workout "fantastic." As a senior, he posted 61 tackles – including 8.5 sacks and 13 TFLs. Only Washington’s indomitable Danny Shelton had more sacks as a nose tackle.

Safety Tevin McDonald, who played at Eastern Washington but grew up in Fresno so was eligible to participate, also had a strong day. McDonald (5-11, 195) went from 4.63 at the Combine to 4.55. McDonald, the son of former All-Pro safety Tim McDonald and the brother of Rams safety T.J. McDonald, was a third-team FCS All-American with 78 tackles and three interceptions. He started his career at UCLA but got into hot water there.

Tennessee

The Vols have fallen on hard times, with only cornerback Justin Coleman being a draft-worthy prospect. Coleman (5-11, 198) gained 13 pounds since the Combine, where he ran in 4.53 with a 37.5-inch vertical, a superb 6.61 in the three-cone and 20 reps on the bench. He mostly stuck with the Combine work, hitting 37 on a re-do on his vertical. Coleman, a three-year starter, saved his best for last, as he recorded four of his five career interceptions as a senior. Playing mostly the nickel spot, he also had a career-high four tackles for losses. With his success at the nickel, the additional weight is probably a good idea.

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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