Pro Day Tour: Rowe’s Rise Continues

Utah's Eric Rowe, who has surged into the second round, is one of the best all-around defensive backs in the draft. He was the main attraction at Utah, one of at least five pro days that a Packers scout attended on Thursday. (Glenn Andrews/USA TODAY)

Davon House’s free-agent defection left the Green Bay Packers with a bunch of 5-foot-11 cornerbacks.

No wonder the Packers seem to have more than a passing interest in Eric Rowe, who did only position drills at Utah’s pro day on Thursday. Even the agent for another Utah player pointed out that Rowe probably was the Packers’ player of interest.

The appeal is obvious. At 6-foot-1, he has the height the Packers lack at the position. With a Scouting Combine workout that included a 4.45 clocking in the 40-yard dash and a 39-inch vertical, he certainly has the athleticism. And with a background at safety, Rowe is one of the most physical cornerbacks in this draft.

Rowe started 45 games during his four years at Utah. A lot of those starts came at safety. As a senior, he moved to corner and was an honorable mention on the all-Pac-12 team with one interception and a total of 14 passes defensed. He intercepted three passes in his career.

“He has the speed, closing burst and ball-reaction skills to stay tight with any opponent, whether they are quick and fast or tall and physical,” reads a segment of the NFL’s official scouting report, provided to Packer Report by league scout Dave-Te’ Thomas. “He needs to improve his strength base, so not to get backed off by the bigger receivers at the next level, but has the frame to add the power needed. He has become a solid press man, as he uses his hands very well to jam and run with his opponent down the field.”

Rowe probably has worked himself into a Top 50 pick, a scout said. From Green Bay’s perspective, if he’s the target, will it have to get him by moving out of the first round or up in the second?

Utah’s Nate Orchard also figures to be a Top 50 pick — if not much sooner. He led the nation with 18.5 sacks as a senior. As was the case with Rowe, Orchard (6-3, 250) stuck with his Combine workout of 4.80 in the 40 and a 31.5-inch vertical. He didn’t bench at the Combine and put up 23 reps on Thursday.

Receivers Dres Anderson (6-1, 187) and Kaelin Clay (5-10, 195) also will be in the mix for Green Bay. Anderson, who missed the second half of the season with a knee injury, will have a private pro day on April 14. The son of former NFL star Willie “Flipper” Anderson, who is considered a Day 3 prospect, caught 134 passes for 2,077 yards (15.5 average) and 17 touchdowns for his career. In his only season playing Division I ball, Clay was a first-team All-American as a returner with a 24.9-yard average and one touchdown on kickoffs and a 15.0-yard average and three touchdowns on punts. On offense, he caught 43 passes for 523 yards and four scores. Clay ran in 4.38, according to the Salt Lake Tribune, after a 4.51 at the Combine.

East Carolina

Quarterback Shane Carden and receiver Justin Hardy played one more game of catch.

While Carden rewrote numerous school records, Hardy established a FBS record by hauling in 385 passes. Of Carden’s career totals of 11,991 passing yards and 86 touchdowns, 4,447 yards and 34 touchdowns went to Hardy.

Carden was impressive, showing off his remade throwing motion learned under Vinny Testaverde, the 21-year NFL quarterback. According to a source, he missed only “three or four” throws out of the 50 on his script.

“I know he’ll go out and show his accuracy, his power, his arm strength and his overall ability to throw the football like an NFL quarterback does and look like one,” Testaverde said, “not the quarterback that was playing here with the awkward looking delivery, if you will.”

Hardy had a good day, too. Hardy (5-10, 192) apparently improved on his 4.56 from the Combine with a 4.40 clocking. That was run on a track, so scouts will add one-tenth of a second to that time.

“Justin was Justin today,” Carden said. “He ran great routes, caught some great passes. He was Justin, that’s all I can say. He continues to get better since the Combine. His hands look better and he looks better on his routes; if that was possible he made it possible.”

Hardy is considered a third-round possibility in a deep receiving class while Carden might go in the seventh.

The best of the rest is receiver Cam Worthy (6-2, 211), who was unable to work out following recent foot surgery that prevented him from testing at the Combine. Worthy, who caught 55 passes for 1,016 yards as a senior, sustained a broken foot at an all-star game.

Tulane/Southeastern Louisiana

The schools held a joint workout at he Saints’ indoor facility due to bad weather in the New Orleans area.

For Green Bay, the top prospects were Southeast Louisiana quarterback Bryan Bennett and, perhaps, Tulane cornerback Lorenzo Doss. The Packers need a developmental quarterback and depth at cornerback.

Doss measured in at 5-10 3/8 at the Combine so might not be a consideration. He was nothing but productive at Tulane, though. He intercepted 15 passes in his three seasons, with three picks and 15 passes defensed in 2014. Doss ran in 4.50 at the Combine and was a bit faster on Thursday, a source said.

Bennett (6-2, 211) started his career at Oregon but, with Marcus Mariota entrenched as the starter and on his way to stardom, Bennett transferred. In just two seasons, he threw for about 5,500 yards and set the school record with 70 total touchdowns and 31 rushing touchdowns. No results were immediately available.

Houston

Under-the-radar receiver Deontay Greenberry (6-1, 211) had a “great” workout in front of Alonzo Highsmith, according to a source in attendance. Greenberry ran in 4.45 with a 35.5-inch vertical and 21 reps on the bench. The Combine snub caught everything during his positional workout. In three seasons, he caught 201 passes for 2,612 yards (13.0 average) and 20 touchdowns. He probably won’t last long in Day 3 of the draft.

Nose tackle Joey Mbu (6-3, 313) won’t win many races — his 40 time was in line with his 5.54 from the Combine — but he’s the old-school, two-gapping man in the middle. His 35-inch arms are among his weapons. Mbu was first-team all-conference during a senior season in which he posted 32 tackles, including 2.5 sacks and 4.5 TFLs. The two-year captain started 34 games over his final three seasons.

North Texas

Guard Cyril Lemon and offensive tackle Antonio Johnson are the Mean Green’s top prospects, though neither will be drafted. Neither player helped himself in the bench press, according to the Denton (Texas) Record-Chronicle.

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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