Terrell Suggs, Jimmy Kennedy and
Larry Johnson were some of the elite names opting out of the festivities here in
Indianapolis, favoring individual workouts to show their talents to scouts.
Despite that, several players substantially enhanced their draft rankings since
The offensive linemen were the first to take the turf Friday morning as several
enhanced their stock with impressive performances. Jordan Gross of Utah stood
out and after running as fast as any blocker in attendance, turned in a terrific
drill session which garnered the attention of several teams. Gross is stating
his case to be a top five pick and the recent rumors of Houston tabbing him with
the draft's third selection may not be off base.
Eric Steinbach continued his tear from the Senior Bowl and after a vertical leap
of 36-inches, again displayed the skill to be a blind side protector at tackle
which endeared him to the hearts of scouts in attendance.
Vince Manuwai redeemed himself after a sub-par showing in Mobile and had a good
session on Friday. The Hawaii guard was fleet across the surface of the RCA Dome
but most importantly weighed in with only 18.6% body fat, which was a concern
Equally as impressive was Kwame Harris, the most athletic blocker on the field
Friday morning. The recent history of right tackles from college moving to the
weak side in the NFL has not been good but Harris seemingly displayed the skills
needed to be successful in that transition should he be asked to make it.
Obviously the headline of the afternoon's session was Justin Fargas. Known
mostly as a power back during his tenure in college, the USC product scorched
the field clocking a pair of forty-times in the 4.3-area. Each time he sped
across the turf scouts put down their watches and said, "WOW!" Factor
in the pass catching skills Fargas displayed at the Senior Bowl and he jumped
into the draft's initial forty-five selections.
Today the defensive linemen had the spotlight and several fared well. Junior
Johnathan Sullivan of Georgia and Oklahoma State's Kevin Williams both displayed
top-notch athletic skills and moved their 300-pound frames easily about the
field, giving scouts the impression both would be effective in a two-gap
(three-four alignment) scheme as well as holding their own as stand-alone
tackles. Williams especially further enhanced his final grade.
Many of the smaller defensive ends were put through a battery of linebacker
drills at days end and some results were sterling. Clemson's Bryant McNeal and
Cincinnati's Antwan Peek, a pair of players that lined up in a three-point
stance in college, looked natural playing off the line off scrimmage and making
plays in space. Even with that none compared to Shurron Pierson.
The little known junior prospect from the University of South Florida sped
across the field with a pair of forty-times in the low 4.6-area. He then blew
away the competition with a broad jump more than 6-inches longer than the
nearest linemen. When placed at linebacker Pierson displayed the same quickness
and explosion as he had earlier in the day. While the NFL rarely looks to the
USF Bulls for pro-prospects, Pierson has turned their heads and may now be
headed towards the first day of the draft.
On the flip side, several of the invitees did not fare as well and performed
poorly over the last two days. Texas lineman Derrick Dockery looked slow and
sluggish, or more to the point as one scout said, woefully out of shape.
Washington State's Rien Long also looked heavy footed even though he did not
run. There are still serious questions about where the Outland Trophy winner
will be drafted.
Passes will be flying in the air tomorrow as the quarterbacks take flight
working out along with the receivers and tight end.