They watched one of the better hybrid outside linebackers/defensive ends during a series of pro days on Thursday. At Virginia Tech, the Packers got another glimpse of Jason Worilds. They no doubt loved what they saw.
Worilds (6-1, 254) impressed at the Scouting Combine but went through most of Thursday's tests anyway, and his 40-yard dash (4.51 average), 20-yard shuttle (4.07) and 60-yard shuttle (11.25) times were better than any linebacker or defensive lineman at the Combine. He rested on his 24 reps on the 225-pound bench press.
After posting eight sacks and 18.5 tackles for losses as a sophomore in 2008, he tallied four sacks and 11.5 tackles for losses this past season. Lest you think Worilds wasn't as good, he did post a whopping 32 quarterback hits in 2009.
One other Hokie to remember is safety Kam Chancellor, a midround prospect. At 6-foot-3 and 231 pounds, he draws an easy comparison to Aaron Rouse, who played for Tech and the Packers. Chancellor, however, is a better all-around prospect. Rouse's combination of size and athletic ability just didn't show up often enough for the Packers. Chancellor is stronger and avoided the injury bug in college.
The Packers enter this draft needing at least one good cornerback, and they saw two of them on Thursday. One is the Seminoles' Patrick Robinson, who is a possibility for the Packers at No. 23. (The other we'll tell you about in a separate story.)
Robinson (5-11, 190) ran his 40 in 4.38 seconds, to the surprise of no one. He's as fine an athlete as there is in this class of cornerbacks. Robinson, who has been compared to Al Harris, picked off just one pass in his last two seasons after grabbing six as a part-time starter as a sophomore. He played nothing but man the last couple years, and he posted a career-high 11 breakups as a senior.
"That would mean a lot to me, to be a first-rounder," he told reporters. "The last first-rounder we had was Lawrence Timmons in 2007. I'm trying to end that drought and be another Florida State first-rounder."
Scout.com's seventh-ranked running back, Toby Gerhart, rested on his Combine numbers, which included a 40 time of 4.53 seconds that silenced those who wondered whether the Heisman runner-up had enough speed. He rushed for 1,871 yards and a whopping 28 touchdowns as a senior. He caught 39 passes in his three seasons but has soft hands.
His best lineman was Chris Marinelli (6-7, 300), a second-team All-American as a senior at right tackle. He ran a 5.06 40, according to Stanford's Web site. His ability to play guard and his decent athleticism make him a candidate for a zone scheme. He's a Day 3 candidate. His sidekick at tackle, Matt Kopa, is stuck in limbo. He's hoping to get a sixth year of eligibility after missing most of this season with a foot injury. Nonetheless, he recorded 26 reps on the bench. He's a late-round possibility to play left tackle, Scout.com's Chris Steuber says.
Tight end Jim Dray (6-5, 246) boosted his chances of getting drafted by running a 4.78 40 with 20 reps on the bench press. With just 11 catches as a senior, Dray was a second-team all-Pac 10 choice because of his superb blocking.
The Packers met with Division II All-American Jared Veldheer (6-8, 312) at the Scouting Combine, where he cemented his rising-prospect status by being among the top performers in six of the seven drills, including 40-yard dash and bench press.
The Packers, with scout Shaun Herock, were one of a handful of teams visiting the Michigan school for its first-ever pro day. He stood on his Combine numbers but went through position drills. Veldheer is a sleeper first-round prospect but more likely will go in the second. He is Scout.com's eighth-ranked offensive tackle.
Director of college scouting John Dorsey attended the Owls' pro day. None of their three top prospects figure to be drafted — safety Dominique Harris (6-3, 215; one interception, nine breakups), tight end Steve Maneri (6-6, 275; 12 catches, 134 yards, two touchdowns) and defensive tackle Andre Neblett (6-2, 300; one sack and 9.5 TFLs) are all Scout.com two-star prospects. Maneri showed he's a good blocker at the Texas vs. The Nation game.
Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon (6-1, 239) is Missouri's only elite prospect. With a 4.68 40 and a second-ranked 34 reps on the bench press at the Combine — to go with his prodigious production for the Tigers and standout week at the Senior Bowl — he elected not to work out. He's a definite first-round prospect and would be an inside linebacker in a 3-4.
The Tigers' other top prospect, 6-foot-4 receiver Danario Alexander, needed surgery after injuring his left knee during Senior Bowl week. Alexander, who caught 113 passes for 1,781 yards and 14 touchdowns as a senior, had three knee surgeries at Missouri.
Matt McCracken (6-3, 300) was a FCS All-American in each of his final three seasons at left guard. Quarterback Eric Ward (6-2) threw for 8,767 yards and 60 touchdowns and rushed for 1,355 yards and four touchdowns as a four-year starter. He led the Spiders to the FCS title game as a junior. Neither player figures to be drafted.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.