It was just another day - another day spent with stopwatches, scouts and players dreaming of an NFL future. This time, I spent the day over on Cullen at the University of Houston. A few observations to wet the appetite heading into a basketball dominated weekend.
-- First off, if you haven't been over to Houston to see the new stadium, wow. I didn't have a chance to get over and see new TDECU Stadium during the year, but what a facility! It definitely gives the campus a different vibe that's for sure.
-- The bona fide star of the day was WR Deontay Greenberry. The former star recruit from Fresno, CA declared early for the 2015 NFL Draft but did not receive an invitation to the Scouting Combine. That was a shock, no matter what struggles he may have had in 2014 on the field. He proved today that he should've at least gotten a look in Indianapolis.
He measured 6'1" and weighed 211 pounds. Then to start his workout, he threw up 21 reps at 225 on the bench, which would've been the second highest total at the Combine. He had a 35 1/2" vertical jump and broad jumped 9'8". But, most importantly, he hit 4.45 on the clock in the 40 yard dash on a number of different watches. The scouts had nearly the same reaction up and down the row, that one of "okay, I see you working, Deontay".
He caught the ball cleanly in positional drills from Billy Cosh, who threw yesterday at Rice Pro Day as well. Here's where my "being from Houston" bias might show through a bit, but I watched Greenberry play for three years. I know he doesn't catch the football like Odell Beckham Jr, but this guy can play and he's above average athlete in this receiving draft class. He'll get drafted on day three and a team will more than like his potential.
Before he ran over to meet the media, he was whisked away by Green Bay Packers senior personnel executive Alonzo Highsmith (yes, former Oilers fans, that Alonzo Highsmith)...to take his Wonderlic test. Now, THAT'S a full Pro Day.
-- The one guy I wanted to see work out didn't get a chance to, other than the bench press. ILB Derrick Mathews was one of the most instinctive linebackers in the nation and one of the most productive, intelligent and complete linebackers in this draft class. Problem was his size. His program height/weight was 6'/222 lb. and that was going to be tough to overcome. However, he did weigh 232 pounds and didn't have an ounce of fat on him. A torn ACL suffered in October against Memphis kept him from completing a full work out beyond the bench press. That said, he threw up 26 reps of 225 pounds and when fully healthy, he has plenty of potential. I talked to him after the day and he said he was real close to doing a full workout but just wasn't quite there. He's yoked up, football intelligent and loves to compete but just has to deal with being 6'.
-- Mathews running mate at linebacker Efrem Oliphant ran a 4.7 and had the building's family, friends and fans cheering. He only weighed 228, which was a bit surprising as his program weight was always more than Mathews. He has athletic ability but his change of direction and lateral ability needs some work.
-- DT Joey Mbu was the only Cougar to get an invite to the Senior Bowl and/or the Scouting Combine. He never goes a minute without flashing a wide smile and has the personality that everyone loves. Pro Day isn't a day that is going to show his skills, but after his workout, I asked him how he felt he did. "Much better" he said. Some team on day three will like what he brings to the run defense and potentially as a slot receiver (at the Combine he joked that's where he fit best).
At last count, 28 teams were in attendance before many headed over to Texas Southern to get times and measurements and perhaps to unearth a nugget on that campus. That's the way of Pro Days as they dwindle down and we round third and head for the Draft in Chicago.
Texans analyst and radio sideline reporter John Harris unveiled his top 100 prospects for the NFL Draft. (Photos courtesy of AP)