I had the chance to go over to the Murphy Complex this afternoon and check out Memphis Pro Day, where the seniors from the U of M and other area school worked out for NFL scouts. It was a very interesting experience--first of all, you really get the idea of just how serious this is. It's all business up in the NFL, and these guys are all competing for their football futures and a chance to live out a dream. As you would imagine, the atmosphere is very intense. Your dreams can live or die on one shuttle run, or one vertical leap. It's tough.
And, just to set the scene, the guys all worked out on the indoor turf facility, since the outdoor fields were still too saturated from all the rain recently to do much work out there. It limited some of what guys could do, most notably Danny Wimprine, since he couldn't throw too many fades or long balls inside the indoor facility.
I was really impressed with Robert Douglas. To me, he was the star of the show--I talked a little bit with Mike Stark, the strength and conditioning coach over at the U of M, and he told me Douglas had been working out "like a beast" all offseason. You could tell. I saw his standing broad jump--it was 10 feet, 5 inches (better than USC WR Mike Williams, and only one inch less than Michigan WR Braylon Edwards), and that tells you the guy is just a superb athlete. Talking with him between a couple of the drills, he was extremely excited about his performance--he had gone above and beyond some of his earlier personal bests. It looked to me like the scouts were very interested in Robo as well--a couple of scouts did a little extra checking on him towards the end of the event. It was funny--after everything was over, Douglas had to fill out a form, and he said he could barely write because the adrenaline was pumping so much. He was a revelation.
Danny Wimprine threw the ball quite a bit and had good velocity and pretty good accuracy. He rushed things a little bit toward the end of his workout and got tired, but that's to be expected. Danny's toughness and leadership are harder to measure, so I think he'll succeed more in interview and game situations rather than straight workouts. Will Hudgins was watching the workouts closely--smart move on his part.
Other Tigers that impressed me--Albert Means showed good athleticism and Cam Essex had a nice broad jump.
Description of the workouts I saw:
Standing broad jump--you stand there, jump, and your distance is measured by the placement of your back heel. Best out of two tries.
Standing vertical leap: Jump as high as you can, and try to move one of a series of sticks place one inch apart--best of two tries.
Shuttle runs--Run five yards, touching the yardline itself, run back, run 10 yards, run back, run 20 yards, run back, and you're done. Best of two tries.
Three-cone drill: Run five yards, touch the yardline, run back, run around a couple of cones, and run to the finish. Best of two tries.
I didn't see them run the 40.
I saw scouts from the Colts, Giants, Jaguars, Bears, Texans, Chargers, Browns, and Patriots there, although there may have been others I did not see. Overall, very interesting.
Here's NFL.com's analysis of the University of Memphis Pro Day. See, I told you Douglas was impressive.