Maryland Pro Day 2011
A smaller than usual crowd was on hand for the University of Maryland Pro Day event today and when I walked in, I caught a glimpse of a familiar face surrounded by an entourage. Was it the speedy WR Torrey Smith within the circle of onlookers? Nope. It was another speedy WR from Maryland; Darrius Heyward-Bey. DHB came back to cheer on some of his former team mates and maybe, just maybe, remember a time when his name was being mentioned as a top rated WR. Either way, NFL scouts paid no attention to the former Terp and current Raider and instead focused on the task at hand.
I observed representatives from the following teams today: Chicago Bears, New York Giants, Houston Texans, Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots, Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Jets, Indianapolis Colts, San Diego Chargers, Baltimore Ravens, Detroit Lions, Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills, Dallas Cowboys, Cleveland Browns, St. Louis Rams, Washington Redskins, Cincinnati Bengals, Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers. Among those scouts was Baltimore Ravens Director of College Scouting, Joe Hortiz.
The main attraction today was WR Torrey Smith. Smith showed his speed at the NFL combine but wasn’t as impressive in the receiver drills. Smith stood on his timed events from the combine but participated in receiver drills today. Smith didn’t disappoint. Scouts from the New York Giants ran the receiver drills and Smith was impressive. The drills used were designed to see the things that Smith hadn’t done much of at Maryland, which is basically everything but deep routes. Scouts spent plenty of time with Smith doing various drills that made him catch the ball at odd angles, run sharp cut routes, comeback routes and even display his blocking techniques. Smith completed the drills without dropping a single pass, which was no easy task. It wasn’t a team mate of Smiths’ that was throwing the ball his way; it was a scout. These guys weren’t making things easy on him.
After the drills, Smith was taken aside by scouts from the Carolina Panthers for further examination. The scouts ran Smith through minor drills, making him catch the ball inches from the ground while completely twisting his upper body and maintaining his base. During this small drill, Smith did drop a few passes, but it was easy to see this was his first time doing a drill of this nature and it took some getting used to.
Smith then spent some time chatting with a scout from the Chicago Bears, the Cincinnati Bengals and the New York Giants. Smith stated afterwards that during the combine, he was officially interviewed 18 times, but declined to state which teams. Smith also mentioned that he was several private workouts coming up but refused to say which teams stating “That’s top secret information!”
Smith also talked to reporters afterwards about his willingness to play special teams, either as a return man or a gunner. Smith said that he’s not afraid to run down the field and tackle someone and is willing to do what it takes to help his team.
Smith wasn’t the only NFL ready player catching the ball. RB Da’Rel Scott had a nice day catching passes. At one point, he made a tremendous one-handed grab on a deep, over-the-shoulder pass. Scott looked quick and precise while running routes and only dropped a few passes. Scott also stood on his times from the combine and stated that he weighed in today at 211 lbs. Scott wants to show scouts that he can add weight while still maintaining speed.
The other big name working out today was LB Adrian Moten. Moten has been getting a good bit of attention lately and has seen his draft stock rise since the combine. Moten looked fluid during drills displaying quick feet and relatively loose hips. It was Ravens Director of College Scouting Joe Hortiz that was closely watching Moten, frequently taking notes and appearing to pay more attention to the LB than he did to WR Torrey Smith. Moten actually had a bit of a buzz around him during the workouts and seemed to be stealing some of the attention from those that assumed Smith would be the star of the show.
Moten told me afterwards that most teams are looking for him to play WLB in a 4-3 defense but he’s also spoken to several 3-4 teams that are interested in him playing inside.
Be sure to check back soon to see the rest of Draft Breakdown’s Pro Day coverage. Tomorrow I’ll be at West Virginia University and on the 31st, I’ll be in Tarheel country, trying to wade through the sea of talent at the University of North Carolina. Until then, check out the video clip of the Maryland Pro Day workout below.