Pro Day buzz: Search for OLBs

The Packers attended all eight of the major pro days on Thursday and watched a lot of top prospects. As well as several pass-rushing outside linebackers, they watched an intriguing 3-4 defensive end and several talented defensive backs. One person they didn't see run was Chase Coffman. We've got all the details on the prospects.

The Green Bay Packers' pursuit of a pass-rushing outside linebacker continued during Thursday's pro days, with Cincinnati's Connor Barwin, Virginia's Clint Sintim, Richmond's Lawrence Sidbury and Virginia Tech's Orion Martin.

Here is a rundown of the prospects who could be on the Packers' radars in next month's draft. We had confirmations that Green Bay had staff at Cincinnati, Georgia, Missouri, Notre Dame, Richmond, Stanford and Virginia and Virginia Tech.

Cincinnati

Forget about the 6-foot-4, 256-pound Barwin falling into the Packers' laps in the second round. Barwin ran an impressive 4.66-seconds 40-yard dash at the Combine, but ran again on Thursday, anyway. His times were a scorching 4.48 and 4.52 seconds, according to Scout.com's Cincinnati insider.

Barwin, who caught 33 passes as a tight end in 2007, moved to defensive end for his senior season and recorded 11 sacks, 16 tackles for loss, seen quarterbacks hits, eight passes defensed and three blocked kicks. With his athleticism, potential on defense and ability to be a goal-line tight end, Barwin might be rising into the top 20, we hear.

Trevor Canfield, Scout.com's fourth-ranked guard and a third-round prospect, showed his strength (32 reps on 225-pound bench press) and athleticism (32-inch vertical leap) to be a fit in a zone scheme.

The Bearcats have three defensive backs who will be drafted: cornerbacks Mike Mickens and DeAngelo Smith and rising safety Brandon Underwood, who ran a 4.41 40.

Georgia

The big draws to the Bulldogs' pro day were quarterback Matthew Stafford, who could be the No. 1 overall pick, and running back Knowshon Moreno, who almost certainly will be the first running back off the board.

The Packers don't need a quarterback and they have a lot invested in terms of money (Ryan Grant) and draft picks (Brandon Jackson), so they likely were focusing on the other Bulldogs.

One of them was Asher Allen, Scout.com's 11th-ranked cornerback who skipped his senior season. The 5-foot-9 Allen didn't have any interceptions last season and had just four for his career, but he's got the speed scouts love (4.33 40 on Thursday) and he has a 23.6-yard career average on kickoff returns.

"I wanted to run a 4.35 or under, and I did that," Allen told Macon.com. "A lot of teams just questioned the speed — something that people who know me have no question about — but I think I did a good job with that."

Missouri

Tight end Chase Coffman, the son of former Packers tight end Paul Coffman, did not participate as he had hoped. Coffman broke a bone in his foot during Missouri's bowl game, and he said at the Combine that he hoped he'd be able to test it at the pro day.

His inability to run likely won't hurt his draft stock, though. Coffman is college football's all-time receiver among tight ends, and running drills won't be able to answer the questions about whether he can block.

"I don't think Coffman's injury is something to be concerned about just yet," Scout.com draft analyst Chris Steuber said. "He injured himself in late December, so it's basically been three months. He probably wants to make sure the injury is 100 percent before he works out. I don't blame him. He has enough film for teams to know what kind of player he is. I'm sure he will work out with teams prior to the draft; he's just taking his time."

William Moore, Scout.com's top-ranked safety, had a whopping eight interceptions as a junior, but a foot injury limited him to one as a senior. He looked smooth during position drills on Thursday and he said he's over the injury. If he lasts until the Packers' selection in the second round (No. 41), he could be an option, since Nick Collins and Atari Bigby will be free agents after 2009.

Defensive tackle Evander "Ziggy" Hood was one of the players the Packers spoke to at the Scouting Combine. He's 6-foot-3 and 300 pounds, so he's not an ideal fit at either of the defensive line positions in a 3-4. But if the Packers think his quickness is more important than being the ideal height of 6-foot-5, he could be a possibility if he's on the board in the second round.

Notre Dame

The Fighting Irish's top prospect is David Bruton, Scout.com's eighth-ranked safety. Bruton, after turning in a top 40-yard time at the Combine, only did position drills.

"David just kind of put himself where a lot of people had him in the mid-rounds. I think now you're talking about a guy who could get into the bottom of the second round," coach Charlie Weis said. "I don't know that, but I'm saying he could get into the bottom of the second round because the arrow with everybody with him is pointing up."

Cornerback Terrail Lambert will have scouts returning to the film room after running 40s of 4.37 and 4.36 seconds. Lambert, a three-year starter who wasn't invited to the Combine, had no interceptions as a senior and four for his career.

Richmond

Richmond won the FBS national championship last season, and one reason why was Sidbury. Sidbury, who at 6-foot-2 and 266 pounds would move to outside linebacker in a 3-4, had 11.5 sacks and 20 tackles for loss in 16 games for the Spiders.

He rested on his prodigious Combine numbers — his 4.53 clocking in the 40 was tops among defensive linemen and better than most of the running backs, and he had 28 reps on the 225-pound bench. So, Thursday's focus was showing he can handle playing linebacker.

"They want to see how good your hips are, if you can open your hips, run and change directions," Sidbury said told the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Stanford

One reason for the Pittsburgh Steelers' success is their ability to draft players with the right body types to play their 3-4 defense, and then develop those players into above-average starters.

Stanford's top prospect is Pannel Egboh, a 6-foot-6, 276-pound defensive end. If Egboh can pack 20 pounds onto his frame, he'd be a perfect fit in a 3-4 scheme. It helps that he's athletic: He ran a 4.75 40 with a 35-inch vertical leap. Plus, he's got potential to improve, considering he played just one year of high school football.

"He has experience in a 3-4 scheme as Stanford ran a 3-4 in 2005-06. Stanford switched to a 4-3 in 2007," Steuber said. "He's kind of a hit-or-miss prospect. He has great measurables and will show flashes, but he's very inconsistent. He's had injury problems and with his tall frame he's a target. He's an interesting prospect, but likely a late-round pick."

Virginia

While offensive tackle Eugene Monroe almost certainly will be gone by the time the Packers are on the clock, a few other Cavaliers could be of interest.

If the Packers don't take an outside linebacker in the first round, Clint Sintim could be a target in the second. Scout.com's fifth-ranked outside linebacker had nine sacks as a junior, 11 as a senior (tops in the nation among linebackers) and 27 for his career. At 6-foot-3 and 253 pounds, he's got the body and skill to be an every-down player from Day 1.

"The biggest thing that will stand out for me is my game tape," Sintim said. "When push comes to shove, are you a football player or not? I think over the last four or five years, I've proven I'm a football player, one of the better football players. Hopefully that showed out here."

Sintim and the Cavaliers' other top prospects, like running back Cedric Peerman and tight end John Phillips, participated only in position drills.

Peerman, who had the fastest 40 among the running backs at the Combine and also ranked among the leaders in the bench press and vertical jump, caught 44 passes last season and averaged more than 26 yards per kickoff return as a freshman. Peerman, Scout.com's 12th-ranked running back, would be an intriguing mid-round prospect if the Packers feel they need to challenge Jackson.

The 6-foot-5, 251-pound Phillips, Scout's No. 11 tight end, is in the mold of Bubba Franks. He's a good blocker and good receiver, but he doesn't have the speed to get deep.

Virginia Tech

The 6-foot-2, 262-pound Martin was a former walk-on who blossomed into a two-time ACC first-teamer. He had 14 sacks and 23.5 tackles for loss during his final two seasons. Martin, Scout.com's 13th-ranked outside linebacker, ran a 4.70 40 on Thursday.

Victor "Macho" Harris, Scout.com's 10th-ranked cornerback, reportedly ran a 4.4 40 after training with Olympic legend Michael Johnson. The 5-foot-11 Harris, who has exceptional quickness, had four career interceptions and is a proven punt and kickoff returner.

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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 Facebook and Twitter a try. Find him on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport


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