The Green Bay Packers may have watched their first-round draft choice on Monday.
In Tallahassee, Fla., Everette Brown worked out at Florida State's pro day. In Baton Rouge, La., Tyson Jackson worked out at LSU's pro day. Not surprisingly, the Packers were in attendance at both workouts, Packer Report was told.
Both players would fill positions of need. Brown, despite the comparisons to Jamal Reynolds and the history of Florida State pass-rushing flops, is regarded as the best pass rusher in this draft. The Packers have a void at the outside linebacker slot opposite Aaron Kampman and are in dire need of difference-making defenders. Jackson is clearly the best ready-made 3-4 defensive end prospect, and the Packers are woefully thin up front.
Neither player ran the 40-yard dash, electing instead to rest on their performances at last month's Scouting Combine. But, both worked out on the bench press and did position drills with coaches.
"My reason for getting out here today was to just get some workouts with the coaches that are looking at me," the 6-foot-4, 296-pound Jackson said. "I wanted to work on my explosion coming out of the stance, striking the bags well and improve my hip flexibility. A lot of the coaches came up to me and told me I had done well today, so I am happy with that."
Jackson said character has been a big issue for the many teams he's talked to, and that figures to help him on draft day.
"Just not getting in trouble and being able to graduate," Jackson said. "Coming back for another year to graduate. Being captain of the team last year. That stuff really plays a major part in this process as far as getting drafted."
While Jackson had only 20 reps on the 225-pound bench press, Brown wowed scouts with 29, plus improved his vertical jump to 34.5 inches, according to Scout.com FSU insider McKinley Rolle. Both were improvements over his Combine performance.
"Going through the linebacker drills felt pretty good," Brown said. "I wasn't worried about my 40 time, and the scouts weren't, either."
LSU had several top prospects on display. Quinn Johnson is Scout.com's second-ranked fullback, Herman Johnson is the second-ranked guard, Darry Beckwith is the fourth-ranked middle linebacker and Ricky Jean-Francois is the seventh-ranked defensive tackle.
It was a big day for Herman Johnson, who raised red flags at the Combine by reporting at a whopping 382 pounds. He came in slimmer and stronger, doing 24 reps on the bench press compared to 21 at the Combine.
"I think it's around 37 or 38 pounds, almost 40 pounds," said Johnson, who weighed 352 on Monday. "I've been hearing all about it. My weight has been my weight and can I lose it and maintain it. It's a whole other ballpark now. It's all about business and making a living so I have to take everything seriously. For my family and everything, it's a health issue. I don't want to be sick or anything due to my weight. I'm going to do everything I can to maintain and make it happen."
Quinn Johnson, a 6-foot-1, 250-pound lead blocker who met with the Packers at the Combine, improved his 40 time slightly to 4.72 seconds. Beckwith, who at 234 pounds might be too small for the Packers' scheme, improved from 4.77 to 4.65 seconds.
Francois, who at 6-foot-2, 294 pounds lacks the height to be a 3-4 end and the bulk to be a 3-4 nose tackle, did 25 reps on the bench press.
One player not invited to the Combine was defensive end Kirston Pittman. At 6-foot-2, 250 pounds, he'd be a 3-4 outside linebacker, and he went through those drills on Monday. He ran a sparkling 4.68 40 and had 28 bench-press reps. Pittman said he'd been working with Olympic champion sprinter Gail Devers on his running fundamentals.
Another player who opened eyes was Curtis Taylor, Scout.com's 16th-ranked safety. Taylor (6-foot-2, 207) improved his 40 time from 4.64 seconds to 4.49.
Florida State, a gold mine for so long for NFL scouts, produced a weak senior class. Only Graham Gano, Scout.com's second-ranked kicker, and Tony Carter, who at 5-foot-8 is only the 33rd-ranked cornerback, are considered draft prospects. Carter helped himself by running 40s of 4.28 and 4.35 seconds, with a 39-inch vertical leap and a surprising 17 reps on the bench press. Carter started 49 games at FSU and had nine career interceptions against five touchdowns allowed.
"I had a pretty good day," Carter said. "Not going to the Combine was a little setback for me, but I can only control what I can control. The main thing was letting the coaches see my personality and that I am a worthy person to draft."
There were a couple other eye-popping 40 times produced. Tailback Antone Smith ran a 40 of between 4.25 and 4.32 seconds, plus cranked out 32 reps in the bench press. The 5-foot-9, 190-pound Smith ranks eighth in school history in rushing and fifth in rushing touchdowns, though he lost some carries midway through his senior season and failed to top 57 rushing yards in the final six games. He scored 15 touchdowns as a senior.
And 5-foot-8 cornerback/kick returner Michael Ray Garvin, an All-American in track and field, also was clocked as low as 4.25. He averaged 30.1 yards on 22 kickoff returns as a senior. He didn't start any games on defense.
Northern Illinois – where another possible Packers first-rounder, Larry English, starred, moved its pro day back from Monday to March 27. On Tuesday, key pro days will be held at Boise State, North Carolina and Pittsburgh. Wednesday will be a big day, with pro days at California, Illinois, Michigan State, N.C. State, Penn State and South Carolina.
Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Lambeau Level forum. Bill also is giving Twitter a try. Find him at twitter.com/packerreport