Vikings at Nebraska pro day

The Vikings were one of 18 NFL teams in attendance for Nebraska's pro day, according to Scout.com's Chris Steuber. That would make sense with a local offensive lineman who impressed at the NFL Scouting Combine. Inside is a first-hand report from BigRedReport.com's Steve Ryan.

In front of close to 30 scouts from 18 NFL teams former Huskers hit the inside of Hawks Championship Indoor Center for "Pro Day." For those who were at the NFL Combine last month it was a chance to perhaps improve upon some things. For those that weren't, it was a just to perhaps prove some things which some might have doubted.

Based on his NFL Combine performance where he set numerous personal bests and made some almost historical marks, offensive lineman Lydon Murtha didn't have a lot to prove. He had already run a 4.89 in the 40 down in Indianapolis, the fastest for a lineman in the annual professional evaluation in the last 10 years. And Murtha's 4.35 20-yard shuttle performance was the second best for his position at the combine…ever.

With that said today wasn't about doing stuff everyone knew he could do, and that he had etched in paper for all time. It was back to the basics showing scouts from over half the teams in the league, a little more of how that kind of athleticism translates. "It's technique, but it's quickness with your feet, how you side step, use your hands - stuff like that," Murtha said. "They put you through a lot of stuff you have already done, so it's not really a surprise."

Murtha saw his stock soar dramatically after the combine finished, going from a potential free agency pick to some speculating that he could be a first-day selection. Murtha said that the training he's done has been specific to these kinds of tests, but he didn't go into the training with any idea of just where he was in respect to draft position, to where he wanted to be.

"I didn't know. You hear stuff, but it's hard to get a sense for where you are, because every team is going to look at you a little different," he said. "Some really care about the numbers, because they say you can't teach athleticism. But others say it doesn't mean as much, because they are more worried about your feet, your hands and stuff like that.

"I have talked to a lot of coaches at this point, but at the end of the day you really don't know where you stand."

A few players who had a sense of where they stood after the combine, but didn't necessarily like where that was, were defensive end Zach Potter, running back Marlon Lucky and offensive lineman Matt Slauson.

All three performed down at the combine, and each thought they had something to prove when they got back into the friendly confines of Hawks in Lincoln. "When I was at the combine I ran around a 4.9 and I wanted to get into the 4.8s here, which is what I did," Potter said about his forty-time then and now. "My broad jump was under nine feet down there, and I wanted to get over nine feet here, which I did, too."

Potter jumped nine feet, two inches.

Lucky was another who saw some of his performances down in Indy and thought that he hadn't shown really what he could do. So, this was another opportunity to show at the very least, he had the athleticism scouts are looking for. Lucky had both good and bad news on that front. "Depending on whose watch it was, I ran anywhere from a 4.2 to a 4.5 on my first attempt. But I pulled up on my second attempt with a hamstring," Lucky said. "And in my pro-agility I ran about a 4.2."

Just as a matter of perspective, a 4.29 agility run was good enough for a top 10 spot at the Combine last month, and Lucky said that he bettered his 4.59 ran down in Indianapolis, which was good for ninth best amongst all backs at the NFL testing event.

One player who wasn't so thrilled with how things went was Slauson, who said that it wasn't because of what he did do at the official combine, but what he didn't get to do because of an injury. "I had a strain in my peck, so I didn't do the bench press down there. And I really wanted to do that here," he said. "But I felt it pull on me at about the 15th rep, and I was just like ‘oh please let me get 20, just twenty'. I ended up with 23."

The former Husker offensive lineman thought that overall his numbers down at the combine and now here, weren't all that bad. But the bench was something he felt he had to do even though he thought this could happen. "I thought it was do or die. I mean, it is kind of an important test, because people want to see how strong you were. But what can you do?" he said.

Along with the players who were at the combine were a number of players who weren't. Perhaps the one who felt the most pressure was quarterback Joe Ganz.

Snubbed by the NFL Combine, this was his time in the sun, as they say, and he felt that it went pretty well. "I thought I threw the ball really well. I mean, I did OK on the timed stuff, ran a good agility, but my 40 wasn't that great, a 4.8. But that's not really that big of a deal," he said. "But I was happy with how I threw the ball."

You could say that it might be a good thing in some respects not to have that combine in your past. At that point, where the pressure is at its highest, you aren't asked to perform in front of hundreds versus tens, in front of cameras versus spectators, many of whom you know and you get to do it on your own home field, so to speak.

But pressure is pressure, and Ganz said that despite the comfort of familiar surroundings, it's there. You just have to use it in the right way. "There is a lot of pressure, because you don't have anything to do, you can't do anything at the combine or anything like that. So you do have a lot of time," he said. "But I didn't want to put too much pressure on myself. It's good to be a little nervous, but I didn't want to put too much on my shoulders where I just blow up. So, I just tried to find a happy medium."

Working out along with the former Huskers from this last season were a couple of former Huskers from the season prior to that. Wide receiver Terrence Nunn and linebacker Lance Brandenburgh both worked out for scouts today.

Also in attendance, but obviously not working out, were a couple of current NFL players in Jay Moore, who plays linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers and Maurice Purify, who is a wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals. Purify said that he has moved from the practice squad of the team to the regular roster, and he expects to contribute heavily this season.

Following is the full list of those Huskers in attendance:

RB – Marlon Lucky
FB – Thomas Lawson
WR – Nathan Swift
WR – Todd Peterson
QB – Joe Ganz
OL – Lydon Murtha
OL – Matt Slauson
TE – Hunter Teafatiller
DE – Zach Potter
DT – Shukree Barfield
DT – Ty Steinkuhler
LB – Cody Glenn
LB – Tyler Wortman
CB – Armando Murillo
LS – T.J. O'Leary
LS – Justin Baumgartner
P – Dan Titchener


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