With the media faithfully drooling over Tebow's revamped throwing motion — what, they didn't expect a top-notch athlete to be able to change his ways? — several players of interest to the Packers had impressive performances.
Center Maurkice Pouncey met with the Packers at the Scouting Combine. He's a late first-round draft pick, who's smart (made all of Florida's line calls) and athletic (perfect for a zone scheme). He impressed during position drills on Wednesday and rested on his Combine numbers.
Defensive end Carlos Dunlap (6-6, 277) continued putting teams at ease after he was suspended from Florida's bowl game after a DUI. Dunlap showed his freakish athleticism at the Combine but ran on Wednesday anyway, turning in a 40 as low as 4.57. He's got the perfect height for the 3-4 scheme and had 9.5 sacks in 2008.
Forget about Joe Haden falling to the Packers. After turning in a molasses-like 40 at the Combine, the draft's top-ranked cornerback was timed in 4.39 on Wednesday. Haden (5-11) is the only cornerback in school history to start as a true freshman. Not bad for a guy who was moved from quarterback because of the presence of Tebow.
Jermaine Cunningham (6-4, 266), one of the many top defensive end/outside linebacker prospects, posted 19.5 sacks in his three seasons. He didn't work out because of a shoulder injury. Nor did running back Brandon James (5-6, 186), who returned five kicks for touchdowns in his career but is battling a foot injury that required surgery and kept him out of the bowl game.
The enigma of the draft might be linebacker Brandon Spikes (6-3, 253). A tackling machine for the Gators who is ferocious in the run game, he tested poorly at the Combine and ran his 40s in about 5.05 seconds on Wednesday. That speed bodes poorly for his NFL career, but all of that game tape can't be meaningless. But how far has he fallen?
As for Tebow, he got a ringing endorsement from new Browns president Mike Holmgren — who knows a little something about quarterbacks. Tebow threw the ball with more accuracy and zip than he showed in college and in a horrific Senior Bowl week in which he was arguably ranked fifth out of the six passers in Mobile, Ala.
"Those of us that know the position a little bit and watch the position and have coached the position, you saw it," Holmgren told The Associated Press. "You saw he's worked hard on changing some of his technique, and I root for him. He's a wonderful young man. I pull for guys like that, and he's going to make some team very happy."
Tennessee alum Reggie McKenzie was the Packers' representative in Knoxville, and he'll return to Green Bay with positive reports about running back Montario Hardesty and quarterback Jonathan Crompton.
Hardesty (6-0, 225) would give the Packers an impact player in a third-down and change-of-pace role. Hardesty rushed for 1,345 yards and 13 touchdowns as a senior. After catching 13 passes in his first three seasons, he caught 25 for 302 yards and a touchdown as a senior. He looked great during drills while catching a bunch of passes from Crompton. He didn't run on Wednesday after clocking a 4.49 at the Scouting Combine.
Crompton (6-3) is an athletic passer who posted a pair of sub-4.9 40 times. After a so-so first three seasons for the Vols, he emerged with 2,800 yards and 27 touchdowns as a senior. Sources say the Packers really like him as a mid-round prospect.
Safety Eric Berry, who is a possible top-five pick, exited with a sprained toe.
The Packers met with defensive end Jared Odrick at the Senior Bowl and got another look at him on Wednesday. Odrick, with the perfect build to play end in the Packers' 3-4, ran his 40 in 4.92 seconds. He recorded seven sacks and 11 tackles for losses as a senior. He's got a great motor but scouts worry if he's reached his peak performance. After lopping a tenth of a second off his Combine time, he solidified his standing as a possible first-round pick.
Quarterback Daryll Clark (6-foot-2) ran his 40s in the 4.6 range. The Packers could use another young quarterback — and Clark would give them the option of installing some Wildcat into the offensive playbook. He completed 60.9 percent of his passes with 24 touchdowns and 10 interceptions as a senior, plus rushed for 211 yards and seven more scores. He's been working with former NFL quarterback Steve DeBerg.
Tight end Andrew Quarless (6-5, 254) caught 41 passes as a senior and is a good blocker but has some legal history (DUI, marijuana). He's a late-round prospect who helped himself by running in the 4.5s on Wednesday. Another tight end, Mickey Shuler — the son of the great tight end by the same name — ran in the 4.6s and bench pressed 225 pounds 28 times. Shuler (6-4, 248) is a good blocker but produced just 11 catches as a senior. He'll probably be available after the draft.
It's a down year for the Spartans, but receiver Blair White is moving up draft boards into maybe a fourth-round prospect. The 6-foot-2, 209-pounder was one of the most athletic receivers at the Scouting Combine after catching 70 passes for 990 yards and nine touchdowns as a senior. He trimmed his 40 time to about 4.4 seconds, he was told by scouts, showing that he might be more than a possession receiver.
"He's very savvy, he's a very hard worker and he had a big year," an anonymous scout told Michigan State's school newspaper. "He's the kind of guy every team would like to have."
Asamoah injured a shoulder at the Senior Bowl and will work out for scouts in April. The second-team all-Big Ten pick could go as early as the second round and would be a great fit for the Packers' zone scheme.
Benn also figures to be a second-rounder. He struggled at the Combine but ran 40s of 4.36 and 4.39 seconds on Wednesday, according to the school Web site. Saddled with a poor supporting cast, he caught only 38 passes in 2009.
As a late-round prospect, keep an eye on big tight end Michael Hoomanwanui. A tremendous blocker, he ran a 4.78 40 on Wednesday.
The Packers were one of about a dozen teams disappointed when they showed up on campus and heard that defensive end Alex Carrington was skipping the workout. Carrington (6-5, 288) has the perfect frame to be a 3-4 end and was one of the standouts of Senior Bowl week. Carrington, a definite Day 2 pick, had nine sacks as a senior and 21.5 in his career, but his best area is against the run.
William & Mary
The Tribe's hot prospect is Adrian Tracy, a defensive end who would move to outside linebacker in the Packers' 3-4. Tracy (6-3, 248), who competed at the Combine, piled up 12 sacks and 22 tackles for losses during his senior season and is regarded as a late-round prospect. William & Mary, of course, produced Darren Sharper.
Tech's top prospect is defensive tackle D'Anthony Smith, who at 6-foot-2 and 304 pounds probably is best suited to play in a 4-3 scheme.
For the Packers, one player worth a look in the seventh round or after the draft is running back Daniel Porter (5-9, 190). Porter holds the school record with 3,352 career rushing yards. As a senior, he rushed for 1,132 yards and 11 touchdowns and caught 21 passes.
Come back on Thursday for some serious Fresno scoop.
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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 email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.