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Pittsburgh prospects help themselves

3/16/2010

Scouts Inc. was in attendance Tuesday as prospects from Pittsburgh took part in pro day workouts, and it was a good day for some of the Panthers' big names.

First, QB Bill Stull (6-foot-2, 211 pounds) looked thicker up top and ran solid times of 4.90 and 4.92 seconds in the 40-yard dash. Stull also put up a time of 4.40 seconds in the short shuttle and 7.18 in the three-cone drill, but it was his passing that was most impressive.

Stull's added upper-body strength had the ball coming off his hand with improved velocity; he was driving the ball down the field and also throwing with great anticipation, rhythm and accuracy. Only a handful of balls were even outside his receivers' frames, and many scouts in attendance were impressed.

Overall, this showing all but guarantees Stull will land in a training camp somewhere, and because of his experience in a pro-style offense, improved arm strength and ability to go through his progressions, we feel Stull is worth a late-round pick because of his developmental upside.

TE Dorin Dickerson -- Dickerson (6-1¼, 228) is the highest-rated prospect coming out of Pittsburgh this year and he lived up to that status during drills, catching everything thrown his way and displaying the ability to burst off the line and eat up cushions (4.20 short shuttle, 11.37 60-yard shuttle).

Dickerson adjusted well to balls outside his frame (34-inch arms), and while his lack of size makes him more of an H-back/wide receiver hybrid, he can create mismatches in the passing game with his unique skill set. Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti likes Dickerson's chances to contribute at the next level if he gets with a creative coaching staff, and we have Dickerson in the early third round at this point.

TE Nate Byham -- It was a solid day for Byham (6-3¾, 264), a blue-collar player who won't stretch the field but is a hard-nosed blocker and a reliable underneath safety blanket for his quarterback. He put up solid 40 times (4.83, 4.89) for his size, had good results in the short shuttle (4.53) and broad jump (9-foot-9), and will offer good value in the late rounds in part because of his character and work ethic.

CB Aaron Berry -- The undersized (5-9⅛, 175) Berry showed impressive speed, quickness and explosiveness. His 40 times of 4.46 and 4.47 were decent, but the burst and change-of-direction skills he showed when putting up times of 3.87 and 3.90 in the short shuttle were most impressive.

Berry flipped his hips quickly and easily, showed light feet and was excellent planting and driving on the ball. He did struggle to track and consistently catch the deep ball at times -- a problem we've also seen on film -- and his instincts are a concern, but with his overall skill set and athleticism, Berry could warrant a late-round pick.

DT Mick Williams -- Williams did not help himself at all, looking out of shape at 6-0.5 and 281 pounds and failing to finish the entire workout. He did put up 25 repetitions on the 225-pound bench press but is undersized overall, and dropping out of the workout definitely left some scouts with a sour taste in their mouths. Williams projects as a late-round pick or rookie free agent.

Small-school prospect impresses

California (Pa.) CB Terrence Johnson took advantage of many scouts being in town, working out at 7:30 a.m. at Duquesne's pro day and impressing the 10 teams in attendance. Johnson (5-9¼, 190) flipped his hips well, was good changing directions and displayed excellent balance. His 40 times (4.49, 4.50) were not overly impressive but we liked his body control when tracking and playing the ball and he showed good burst out of his breaks.

Johnson is not as highly rated as fellow small-school prospect Akwasi Owusu-Ansah of Indiana (Pa.), but his special teams value combined with the burst, toughness and ball skills to contribute in the nickel package give him potential value as a late-rounder.