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Dion Lewis backs up film study

3/16/2011

Pittsburgh held its on-campus pro day Tuesday and running back Dion Lewis was the clear standout.

Lewis improved his time in the 40-yard dash to 4.49 seconds, down from the 4.56 he posted at the NFL combine, and he looked impressive during drill work. He showed quick feet and good change-of-direction skills, matching up with film study that shows ability to probe the hole and make defenders miss at the line of scrimmage.

Lewis also displayed good balance and lateral quickness, and while he struggled somewhat behind a bad offensive line in 2010 his film from the previous season shows a back with the ability to read and set up blocks before squirting through holes.

He is undersized at 5-foot-65 and 192 pounds and will never be an every-down back in the NFL so Lewis has a somewhat limited ceiling, but he showed some versatility by catching the ball well during his workout and given his strong showing it won't surprise me if he comes off the board late in the fourth round.

Sheard holds steady

DE Jabaal Sheard sat on his excellent combine numbers but did take part in both defensive end and outside linebacker drills. Sheard showed quick hands and explosive power as expected, but just like on film he was a little tight in space and did not show upper-echelon athleticism. He also fought the ball a bit when catching during linebacker drills. However, we knew all that coming in and Sheard's quickness and power at the line of scrimmage allow him to play right end in a 4-3 system or as a rush end in the 3-4 and he remains a second-round prospect.

Baldwin faces questions, has potential

Most scouts expected WR Jonathan Baldwin to try to improve on the 4.49 he posted in the 40 at the combine but he elected to stand on that time. Baldwin also re-affirmed the limitations we see on his game tape, specifically tightness in the hips and and struggles when dropping his weight when making cuts.

However, Baldwin checked in at 6-44 and 224 pounds and caught every single ball thrown to him during the workout. He has great hands and his elite ability to track and play the deep ball is second only to A.J. Green in the 2011 class.

Baldwin will be somewhat limited as a route-runner in the NFL but he has enough speed, strength (20 repetitions on the 225-pound bench press) and explosiveness (42-inch vertical jump) to be a difference maker down the field in one-on-one situations. That ability to win matchups down the field could also demand safety help and open up space for other receivers.

There are some questions about his attitude and work ethic and they will help keep his grade somewhere in the later part of the second round, but a team with a strong locker room and a good receivers coach could take full advantage of Baldwin's immense potential.