McFadden Gears Up For NFL Draft

Cornerback Bryant McFadden has high hopes riding into this year's NFL draft. It's not just for himself, but the rest of his teammates.

McFadden feels this is the year Florida State will be re-established on draft day. And Tuesday's pro timing day, held at FSU, may have been an indication of the level of interest the NFL is showing in the Seminoles.

Twenty-five Florida State seniors and former players participated in the workout, which attracted over 100 NFL scouts and coaches, including head coaches Bill Cowher and Jim Haslett.

"It's kind of a barometer," Cowher said. "Some of these things, the 40 times, the jumps, they are just indicators as to where you will project them at the next level, but the bottom line is really how they play the game of football."

Pro timing day was especially important for wide receiver Craphonso Thorpe, who has faced questions regarding his health since breaking his leg against NC State at the end of the 2003 season. Thorpe topped the field with a 4.39 in the 40-yard dash, adding that he really hadn't felt close to 100 percent until the Gator Bowl.

"Honestly, I'm just hoping that with what I've done today and what I did at the Senior Bowl that people just see that I'm healthy," Thorpe said. "From the scouts that I've talked to, if they feel that I'm healthy and the same receiver they saw in 2003, then I'll be a first-round pick, hands down."

For players such as quarterback Chris Rix, Tuesday was a chance to improve on the numbers put up in the Indianapolis Combine. Rix ran a 4.56 and 4.57, an improvement from the 4.76 he ran two weeks ago.

"I felt I could have done better in (the pro agility) in the combine," Rix said. "The turf sometimes is different than our turf room. So far today, I'm happy that I've improved in my 40 time."

Others, like McFadden, felt they had rumors to quell.

"The biggest question about me was that I can't run," McFadden said. "But if you watch film, you aren't going to see anyone getting in behind me or me chasing people."

McFadden recorded the second best time of the afternoon, running a 4.41 and 4.49 in the 40. He also turned in the best vertical leap at 39-½ inches, and the top broad jump (11 feet, 3 inches).

Former Seminoles quarterback Fabian Walker and cornerback Stanford Samuels also worked out Tuesday, tallying times of 4.66 and 4.6, respectively.

Offensive tackle Alex Barron, who checked in at 312 pounds, recorded a vertical leap of 38 inches, did 21 reps on the 225-pound bench press, and ran a 4.82. Brian Ross led the way in the bench press with 24 reps, followed by Travis Johnson with 23.

But Tuesday's timing day is only a small part of getting players drafted. In many cases it's the game and practice tapes that draw the most interest from the NFL.

"It's a percentage, a piece of the puzzle," Atlanta defensive line coach Bill Johnson said. "For me, a coach, the biggest piece of the puzzle is the tape. And if you're satisfied with the tape, then you start looking for the mental aspects and character, and durability."

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