Washington Pro Day – 2011
Today was the University of Washington pro day, where headliners Jake Locker and Mason Foster worked out along with offensive linemen Cody Habben and Ryan Tolar; defensive backs Nate Williams and Vonzell McDowell; linebacker Victor Aiyewa; wide receiver D’Andre Goodwin; and fullbacks/h-backs Austin Sylvester and Dorson Boyce.
Noticeable teams in attendance today were Seattle (Pete Carroll and GM John Schneider), Tennessee, Cleveland (Keith Gilbertson), Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Indianapolis (Bob Ferguson), New York Jets, Minnesota, Jacksonville and Detroit. There were possibly more teams in attendance, but with media on one side of the field, and teams on the other, it was difficult to tell. The biggest contingents were those of the Seahawks and the Tennessee Titans.
Before we get to Locker and Foster, here’s a quick wrap on a couple of the lesser-known guys.
LB-Victor Aiyewa looks every bit the part of an NFL linebacker physique-wise, but ran a really slow 4.91 40-yard dash by my hand time. The linebacker led the Pac-10 in tackles for loss with 21.0, but will likely go undrafted. He should get a shot in some NFL campe, however.
S-Nate Williams ran a 4.65 and 4.69 40-yard dash and looked ok in drills. He’s a bit stiff and lacks the quickness to play in space in the NFL, but could get a look as a nickel defensive back and could easily make a squad on special teams. In a weak safety class, he could possibly surprise and be a late round pick.
WR-D’Andre Goodwin, who had an up-and-down career at UW marked by inconsistency and an inability to become a featured guy, clocked in a rather unexpected 4.34 40-yard dash by my hand time (other had him clocked lower than that). He looked great catching the ball in drills as well, and with that speed alone may possibly get invited to a camp this fall.
Foster continued to look impressive today, and more importantly helped himself immensely by running a 4.65 40-yard dash by my hand time (and most others). This was vitally important after he ran poorly at the combine (between 4-75 and 4.80). He will never blow you away in physical drills, but looked fluid and relaxed today, much to the pleasure of the teams in attendance.
Here are some thoughts from Foster on how his day went:
On how the whole process has been for him: “This whole process from the Holiday Bowl until now has been a great experience and I’m just trying to keep going and keep getting better each week. It means everything to me and I’m just going to keep getting better every day and make the dream come true.”
On what it’s like to work out in front of scout: “It’s a little nerve-racking, but you know after going to the combine and doing everything there you kind of get familiar with this process and it’s just fun to come out here and compete.”
On what he’s hearing about his draft status: “I try not to look at that at all. I just come out here and try and do my best, train hard every day, and just know in my hear I’m working as hard as anybody in the country and hopefully I’ll get my name called on April 28th.”
On his 40 time: “I wanted to run in the 4.6’s because at the combine they had me running anywhere from 4.6 to 4.7 so I wanted to just re-assure and run a 4.6 out here and I did that so I’m happy with that.”
On if he is having individual workouts: “Yeah I have a few coming up next week, and I’ll go do those and see how that goes.” Which teams? “A couple teams here and there. I’m going to let you guys know later on after I’m done with them, but yeah I got a couple next week. It’s exciting.”
On working with API (Athletic Performance, Inc.): “It definitely helped me a lot working with Willie McGinest before the Senior Bowl, getting my moves down and just getting back into football shape. Then after the Senior Bowl, getting the bench up and getting more explosive as an athlete for these testing drills. I was happy with everything that happened with API.”
On the workout environment: “It’s definitely tough for a linebacker because I feel a lot of it is instinctual and stuff you do on the field. Your film speaks a lot as a linebacker. A lot of these drills show your explosiveness, but have nothing to do with making tackles. But I come out here to compete. My film speaks for itself.”
Locker was on his game today, completing 38-40 passes and working with improved footwork and accuracy since he was last seen. Early concerns that he may struggle throwing to only one legitimate wide receiver (Goodwin) were quickly squashed. He threw more spirals, and was more accurate than in any previous workout. While he elected to stand on his combine performances in individual drills, Locker looked as comfortable as ever in doing an array of different drop-backs, including both a number of 3 and 5 step drops and roll-outs. He worked equally as well throwing to the sidelines and in the middle of the field. His only two misses on the day were on throws over 50 yards, and they weren’t off by much. A few balls were thrown high, which is a signature for Locker, and his receivers made some great grabs, but overall Locker did enough today to prove himself worthy of a first round pick.
Here are some thoughts from Locker on how his day went:
On how the day went: “Every ball came off my hand good. I felt confident and it went well.”
On his comfort level at home versus the combine: “I think the level of comfort comes more from spending four years with the guys I was throwing to. You know how they run routes. You know how they come out of breaks and that makes it a little different. So it’s always nice to be at home, but I think the familiarity of the guys helps with that much more.”
On spinning the ball better of his hand: “I’m just focusing on fluidity in the drop, getting my feet in the right spot, and one thing I worked on with (former NFL QB) Ken O’Brien was just bringing the hand over the top as quick as I could, rather than dragging my hand. I have a tendency to do that some times. When I bring my hand over the top and really point that finger at my target, I’ve been spinning the ball a lot better, and it’s been coming off my hand a lot better.”
On if he is ready for this process to be over: “Uh, you know, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. To have the opportunity to go through it is something I’ve been dreaming about since I was a little kid. So I’m going to make the most of it. There’s a month left and I’m going to do everything I can to help myself”
On what he will continue to do over the next month: “Just continue to work on this and enjoy the team visits.”
I was able to catch up with ESPN NFL analyst John Clayton after the workout and here are a few thoughts he had on the day:
On how Locker looked today: “ He did much better. You can still see it’s a work in progress but you can see a better step. He was spinning the ball better. Kenny O’Brien, as he said, he’s been working on trying to at least get his hand over the top better and it helps with his accuracy. Still he tends to have a few higher throws, and throws in the vicinity of guys, but you can see there is improvement. He has had improvement from the Senior Bowl to the combine and now, and that shows his coachability. That’s why things like this are very important. Even though he only made 40 throws, you can see he’s more consistent with the 40 throws he had today than the combine, and clearly more than he had back at the Senior Bowl. “
On if Locker will be a first round pick: “Yeah I think so. More teams than not may have a second round grade on him but the key is, with team needs, it will be a team in the first round, whether it’s between 10-16 or 25 and Seattle that will take him, or a team trading up into the lower part of the first round. I mean, whether he has a second round grade is irrelevant. He’s going to go in the first round. He’s the third quarterback (taken).”
On how Foster’s day went: “Foster really helped himself. Now you possibly have some teams in the lower part of the second round that really have needs for linebackers. You know the St Louis’, the New Orleans’ can maybe justify taking him there. He didn’t have a good time at the combine. Now he had a better time. I think he really helped himself today.”
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