Pro Day buzz: Davis states case

We follow up on several pro days the Packers attended on Wednesday. How fast are Illinois' Vontae Davis and Michigan State's Javon Ringer? Has Florida tight end Cornelius Ingram overcome his knee injury? What players from Cal might garner the Packers' attention? We have the answers.

Along with watching Aaron Maybin at Penn State on Wednesday, the Packers were in attendance at Pro Days at Michigan State, Illinois, North Carolina State, California and Florida.

Here are the players of interest:

Illinois

Ohio State cornerback Malcolm Jenkins is the Packers' selection in many credible mock drafts. If the Packers need a cornerback — and they do, with Al Harris and Charles Woodson entering the twilight of their careers — then why not Illinois' Vontae Davis?

Davis is only a half-inch shorter than the 6-foot Jenkins. Plus, he's the better athlete. He showed that during his campus workout, when he ran his 40-yard dash in 4.40 seconds. That's about 0.15 seconds faster than Jenkins ran at his pro day. Davis' 25 bench-press reps at 225 pounds were tops among corners at the Combine last month, and he showed off that strength on Wednesday by running without a shirt.

The questions about Davis are his maturity — he was deemed hard to coach by some and his brother is 49ers tight end Vernon Davis. But, working side by side with Harris and Woodson would alleviate many of those concerns.

The Illini's other top prospect is Scout.com's ninth-ranked offensive tackle, Xavier Fulton (6-foot-4, 302 pounds). Fulton, an athletic prospect who scored among the top performers in five categories at the Combine, recently had shoulder surgery and did not work out.

Fulton was converted from defensive tackle to offensive tackle after missing the 2006 season with a knee injury. He was first-team all-Big Ten in his first season at left tackle and a second-teamer last year despite the shoulder problem. His agent, Rick Smith, told Packer Report that he had a torn labrum in his right shoulder and will be 100 percent by June.

Florida

While most eyes were on Percy Harvin, a sure first-round pick who probably isn't in the Packers' plans, Green Bay might have been keeping an eye on tight end Cornelius Ingram.

Ingram is an interesting story. In 2006 and 2007, he caught 64 passes for 888 yards and eight touchdowns. But during the second day of practice last fall, he tore the ACL in his left knee, ending his senior season before it started.

Ingram could have taken a medical redshirt but elected to enter the draft, anyway. His 40 time of 4.69 seconds and smooth pass-catching skills displayed during drills showed scouts he's back.

"Going into the Combine, I was thinking about (my knee) a lot more, but today I totally relaxed and just came out like anything didn't happen," he told Jacksonville.com. "I didn't feel anything. I felt good throughout the day. The knee's fine.

"I think they knew I was a pretty good athlete and I could play football. They just wanted to make sure my knee was healthy, and I think I showed it to them today."

Ingram is Scout.com's seventh-ranked tight end.

A couple other top Florida prospects are Louis Murphy, Scout.com's 10th-ranked receiver. Florida receivers generally have been disappointments in the NFL, but Murphy's height (6-foot-3) shows that he's different. He had 76 catches for 1,204 yards and 13 touchdowns over his final two seasons while not being a focal point of the offense.

Jason Watkins (6-foot-6, 319 pounds) is Scout.com's 11th-ranked offensive tackle. He's athletic enough to be a left tackle, and he could be a mid-round candidate to be the heir to Chad Clifton.

Michigan State

The Spartans' top prospect is Javon Ringer, Scout.com's seventh-ranked running back. The 5-foot-9, 202-pound Ringer was Michigan State's workhorse last season, carrying the ball a whopping 390 times and adding 22 receptions. For comparison, the NFL record for carries is 416 (Larry Johnson, 2006).

Thanks to Darren Sproles putting small backs back in vogue, Ringer figures to be a hot commodity on draft day. If the Packers aren't thrilled with Brandon Jackson's development, Ringer could be an option if he's available in the third round.

According to the Detroit Free Press, Ringer was timed as low as 4.42 seconds in his 40 and caught everything thrown his way.

"I've showed them I've recovered from the knee surgery," said Ringer, who hurt his knee during the Capital One Bowl. "The knee is still not 100 percent — I'd give it about 85 percent — but I came out and competed today. And performed to the best of my ability and showed I'm not a quitter."

If the Packers are looking for a developmental quarterback, how about Brian Hoyer? Hoyer completed only 51 percent of his passes as a senior but has looked sharp at the Combine and at his pro day. He's Scout.com's 18th-ranked quarterback and will be a late-round/undrafted prospect.

California

If the Packers trade out of their first-round pick, one target could be Alex Mack, who tops a strong list of centers in this draft.

The 6-foot-4, 307-pounder is athletic enough that he'd be a natural in the Packers' zone scheme. Plus, he's smart — he won the Draddy Award, which is the academic version of the Heisman Trophy.

The three-time all-Pac 10 first-teamer had what NFL.com's Gil Brandt called a "sensational" workout, and he earned rave reviews from Raiders coach Tom Cable.

"Mack is an intelligent, experienced lineman who possesses excellent leadership qualities," Scout.com draft expert Chris Steuber said. "He has great size and strength and is a good athlete. He's aware of his surroundings, is quick off the line and tough at the point of attack. He's a technician who uses his hands to his advantage and mauls the opposition until the whistle is blown."

Linebacker Zack Follett (hamstring) and defensive end Rulon Davis (ankle) watched most of Wednesday's workout. Follett, a high-motored, big-play performer, is Scout.com's eight-ranked outside linebacker and likely a mid-round selection. He talked to the Packers at the Combine and has experience in a 3-4. Davis, at 6-foot-5 and 281 pounds, is a possible late-round/undrafted prospect at defensive end. He had four sacks in nine games (seven starts).

Cameron Morrah, Scout.com's 13th-ranked tight end, entered the draft after a junior season in which he caught 27 passes and set a Cal tight end record with eight touchdowns. At 6-foot-4, 246 pounds, he's a polished receiver but not a great blocker. His 4.66 in the 40 was third-best among tight ends at the Combine.

North Carolina State

The Wolfpack has two prospects: halfback Andre Brown and tight end Anthony Hill.

Brown, Scout.com's eighth-ranked back, is seen as a good fit in a zone blocking scheme. He never had big-time production but never got the ball more than 175 times in a season, either. At 6-foot and 224 pounds, he's big, and he finished fourth among running backs at the Combine with a 4.49 in the 40.

Neither Brown nor Hill went through the testing on Wednesday, electing to stand by their Combine numbers. Hill, at 6-foot-5 and 260 pounds, is a good blocker and an imposing target in the passing game as a possession receiver. He's coming off of a torn ACL that kept him out of the first four games of last season.

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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 Lambeau Level forum. Bill also is giving Twitter a try. Find him at twitter.com/packerreport

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