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OLB Gholston, TE Keller tops among pro day performances so far

3/11/2008 - College Football NFL

Ohio State DE/OLB Vernon Gholston continued his assault on the pre-draft process during the Buckeyes' pro day workout Friday in Columbus, Ohio. The 6-foot-3, 266-pounder blazed a 40-yard dash time of 4.59 seconds and soared 42 inches in the vertical jump, both slightly better than his impressive numbers (4.67, 35.5) at last month's combine. Now that Gholston has twice verified in workouts the explosiveness scouts have seen on film for the past two seasons -- during which he had 22.5 sacks -- there should be no question about his standing as a top-10 prospect in this year's draft class. With the Jets, Patriots and Ravens -- all of whom employ 3-4 defensive schemes -- selecting sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively, it's hard to imagine Gholston still being available when the Bengals select at No. 9.

Like Gholston, Purdue TE Dustin Keller used a recent pro day to improve on sensational combine results. His 41-inch vertical leap, three inches better than his showing in Indianapolis, stood out most and showed Keller's lower body explosiveness. While he never will be a good in-line blocker, Keller displays the speed, hands, athleticism and leaping ability of a true difference-maker in the NFL passing game. Creative offensive teams such as the Colts, Saints, Broncos, Eagles, Seahawks, Buccaneers and Rams should value Keller as a late-first-round prospect. In fact, don't be surprised if a team trades back into Round 1 to snatch him. There simply are not enough talented tight ends in this year's draft class for a team in need to be complacent.