Terps' Heyward-Bey displays his skills

The arena floor at Cole Field house was buzzing with activity as players from The University of Maryland were warming up for their annual Pro-day. Each year, colleges and universities from throughout the country hold an event after the NFL Combine to give their players one last chance to impress the NFL scouts.

Amidst all the stretching and jogging, a large crowd gathered with microphones, cameras and recorders around one man; wide receiver, Darrius Heyward-Bey. Heyward-Bey already blew scouts away at the NFL Combine just a few weeks ago, running a blazing 4.3 second 40 yard dash. Darrius wasn't participating in the pro-day to try to lower his 40 time, he was trying to put the fears of scouts and front office staff to rest by performing in the wide receiver drills.

Heyward-Bey is known to be a lightning fast playmaker who does as good of a job after the catch as any wide receiver in the draft. However, Darrius has only played football a handful of years and is a converted track star, thus keeping him from having the polished routes and sure hands than many other wide receivers in this year's draft are known for. Many expect Heyward-Bey to be drafted at the end of the first round, which could be a costly proposition for an NFL team.

Can an NFL team afford to spend a first round pick on a player that isn't complete? Over the years, several players have been drafted in the first round that fit this bill, most recently, Troy Williamson, taken with the 7th pick in the 2005 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings. Williamson has yet to record more than 2 touchdowns in one season, and is already playing for his second team.

Though some compare Heyward-Bey to other wide receivers for negative reasons, Darrius compares himself for positive reasons. "I just try to take little things from different people, like Roddy White and Brandon Marshall. You know, I look at them, you know, Brandon Marshall doesn't like to be taken down on the first contact, so I like to put that into my game. Roddy White, he makes plays down the field. And of course, Jerry Rice. You gotta play like Jerry Rice. I wouldn't say I play like anybody. I just take bits and pieces and mold it into my own."

Heyward-Bey seized the opportunity to show scouts one final time that he's the real deal. In drills conducted by scouts for the Minnesota Vikings, New York Jets, Pittsburgh Steelers and St. Louis Rams, Darrius ran every receiving route imaginable and looked solid doing it.

It was evident that Heyward-Bey has been working hard in recent weeks, as his route running appeared smoother and natural than during the college football season. Darrius did a nice job catching the ball with his hands instead of using his body for support, something he had recently struggled with.

The highlight of the wide receiver drills came when Heyward-Bey ran a post-corner route, and stumbled coming out of his last break. The ball appeared to be well overthrown as Darrius sprinted down the field.

Darrius began to shout "I've got it, I've got it," and ran under the ball, making a perfect catch in stride. It was a perfect example of just how fast Heyward-Bey is, and how that speed translates to the football field. After the drills were over, Darrius was seen spending several minutes with the Minnesota Vikings scout that conducting the drills on the field.

For more reports from Will Spencer, go to DraftBreakdown.com.

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