Thursday, March 22, 2012
Notebook: LSU pro day
By David Helman
Kendrick Adams (94) impressed the NFL scouts who attended LSU's pro day.
BATON ROUGE -- Much of the talk surrounding LSU's pro day has been on the Tigers' top prospects and their chances to improve their combine performances.
For many of LSU's draft hopefuls, those who weren't invited to Indianapolis, Thursday was the lone opportunity to make a lasting impression on the teams of NFL scouts and coaches assembled at LSU's practice facility.
Kendrick Adams certainly made the most of that opportunity. While several players opted to pass on personal workouts or the 40-yard dash, Adams went through the full gauntlet of drills during his first outing in front of NFL evaluators.
The defensive end acquitted himself well across the board, whether with his impressive 4.66 40-yard dash time or his broad jump (9 feet, 1 inch). Adams didn't blow anyone away with his workouts, but he posted a decent vertical jump of 27 inches. His 21 bench press reps of 225 pounds probably left something to be desired, but it looked like Adams caught the eye of quite a few NFL teams in attendance.
The quickness he showed during one-on-one workouts drew plenty of looks from the likes of New York Jets coach Rex Ryan, who was likely in attendance to see Michael Brockers.
Quarterbacks mum, but effective: It seems like a reasonable guess that LSU quarterbacks Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee were happy with their performances Thursday, although neither of them stuck around to discuss it with the media.
Jefferson opted not to try his hand at the 40-yard dash after he posted a 4.65 at the combine. He held himself out of the bench press as well, although he did add an extra inch to his broad jump to reach 9 feet, 7 inches. His vertical jump stayed the same at 36.5 inches.
Lee, who didn't attend the combine, posted the pedestrian numbers one would expect -- a 7 foot, 10 inch broad jump, a 22.5 inch vertical and a 4.97 40 time.
The telling factor for the duo was their workout with Rueben Randle and the team's other hopeful targets. Both quarterbacks looked fairly crisp, showing good timing and avoiding any off-target throws. It definitely looked like Jefferson had been working on his slow-to-deliver throwing motion, and Lee looked to be fighting off his tendency to throw off his back foot. The workout appeared to go well, but the pair seemed content to keep their opinions to themselves.
Taylor happy with showing: Brandon Taylor was more than happy to let his combine 40-yard dash times stand as they were. The departed senior safety posted a 4.58 and a 4.50 while he was in Indianpolis, which was good enough for him.
Instead, Taylor took Thursday to work with scouts on his skills in the defensive backfield. He spent a good chunk of his time working with Minnesota Vikings personnel on getting back from the line of scrimmage and showing off his ball skills.
"I've got to keep improving on that, and improving my footwork, finding the high point of the ball," Taylor said. "I need to stay in the film room and make corrections off the games I've played."
Of course, anyone who watched Taylor in 2011 is aware of the physicality he brings to run support, and he said NFL coaches have taken notice of that. Taylor said pro day is a much easier test than the NFL combine because at LSU he is allowed to skip the gamut of psychological and medical testing that happens in Indianapolis.
"(The combine) is more mental than physical, but here it's more physical than mental," he said.
Taylor didn't bench press at the combine because of a strained acromioclavicular joint in his shoulder, which he suffered during January's Senior Bowl. He did 16 reps of 225 pounds Thursday, a number he said he was satisfied with.
Odds and ends: Given his position, fullback James Stampley's performance at pro day still might not get him drafted. But it can't hurt.
Stampley turned out to be a bit of a workout warrior Thursday morning. The unassuming fullback posted a group-best broad jump (9 feet, 11 inches) and he topped that by once again leading the group with 30 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press.
Stampley's performance looked like it impressed the likes of Ryan and Steelers coach Mike Tomlin. At 5 foot 10 and 240 pounds, Stampley packs quite a punch as a blocker. His workout with the quarterbacks didn't go as well, considering he dropped every ball in sight. But that probably doesn't matter if he can blow up tacklers.
The Tigers' trio of prospects along the offensive line -- Will Blackwell, T-Bob Hebert and Greg Shaw -- likely have their work cut out for them in the next month. All three worked out publicly for the first time, and they all seemed to come up inconsistent. Hebert tied Stampley's mark of 30 reps on the bench press, but he followed that up with a sluggish 5.51 40-yard dash. Shaw posted a fairly strong 5.03 40 time, but he managed just a 23-inch vertical and only 22 bench press reps.
Blackwell was again in the middle, with a pretty good vertical of 29 inches, and a so-so 40 time of 5.20. He managed only 18 reps.
Of course, workouts numbers only mean so much. All three have a wealth of tape for scouts to study, and they should probably hope the film helps their cause.