Illinois Pro Day 2011
At the Illinois Pro Day, there were approximately 40 scouts and coaches in attendance (30 teams, Tampa Bay and Arizona were missing), including New York Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan. There were three top Junior prospects that people had their eyes on; RB Mikel Leshoure, LB Martez Wilson, and DT Corey Liuget. Unfortunately, all three of those guys decided to sit on their numbers from the combine. However, all of them went through positional drills run by the scouts.
Martez Wilson was the first to perform the drills. He was asked to show his coverage ability quite a bit, and ran a mock wheel route down the sideline – catching the ball over his shoulder several times (and dropping a few). He looked decent changing directions, but he did look be running very upright. His 4.28 and 7.04 in the 20-yard-shuttle and 3-cone drill at the combine are only average numbers and show exactly what was seen from Scouts and Coaches at the Pro Day – Wilson is an elite straight line athlete with great size, but he’s only average when it comes to changing directions. After the pro day, I’d put Wilson’s stock in the range of picks 25-40.
Corey Liuget looked as though he was a little out of shape, but he still preformed well in drills. He spoke with reporters for a while after the pro day and he came off very intelligent and humble. Liuget’s footwork looked fantastic. His stock probably improved, although I doubt that Jets Coach Rex Ryan was there to watch Liuget – he doesn’t fit the scheme that they run in New York. Liuget is strictly a 3-technique DT in a 4-3 defense. I’d put his stock somewhere from the end of round 1 to the middle of round 2.
Mikel Leshoure was the last to perform drills and he was extremely impressive. He’s one of the more natural runners of the football I’ve seen in person. He’s also a natural hands catcher. Even though he only had 37 career receptions at Illinois, I expect him to be a much bigger threat out of the backfield in the NFL. I spoke with Leshoure prior to his drills and he also appears like a class act. I think Leshoure could be a top 25 pick after the Pro Day.
The rest of the Pro Day had some interesting moments as well. One of the Illinois players showed extreme immaturity and mooned his friends, family, and teammates on the visitor sideline. Travon Bellamy, a potential UDFA defensive back, posted the best 20-yard-shuttle of the day at 4.08 seconds. He started 11 games at Safety in 2008. LB Nate Bussey posted some impressive numbers at 6’1” and 228 pounds. He recorded a 4.49 40-yard dash, 10’1” broad jump, and a 4.28 20-yard shuttle. He’s also a UDFA prospect with some Special Teams potential. WR Jarred Fayson posted the best 40 time with a 4.39. The Baltimore Ravens spent a lot of time with OL Randall Hunt, who looked un-athletic at times, especially while running. He did put up 33 reps on the bench, though.