Pro Day March 22: USC

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Tony Pauline

Draft Analyst Writer

There are a good number of workouts on today’s pro-day schedule, spanning from UConn in the northeast to USC out on the left coast. The AAC has three teams (UConn, UCF, Cincinnati) on today’s schedule. We’ll start the morning in Storrs.

Combine star Obi Melifonwu is understandably resting on his combine numbers but will participate in position drills. I’ve been told about 40 percent of the teams interested in the college safety are looking at him as a cornerback at the next level and are expected to put him through more corner-specific drills (heavy footwork/backpedal, hip turn/transition) both today and in the coming days when they fly into UConn for private workouts.

Melifonwu met extensively with the Detroit Lions yesterday, a team he’s had several meetings with since the Senior Bowl. After the workout, he’ll be spending time with the Carolina Panthers.


About 15 teams were on hand for the UC pro day, and half the workout took place outside in 32-degree weather. The Bearcats lone combine participant, Mike Tyson, stood on his 40 time from Indianapolis but did position work.

Linebacker Eric Wilson, who entered the season with a second-day grade, turned in solid numbers. Measuring 6010 and 230 pounds, he broke 4.5s on a number of watches, running as fast as 4.48s. He completed 25 reps on the bench and touched 39.5 inches in the vertical jump.

Wilson met with the Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Jets and Indianapolis Colts. Lee Gissendaner of the Jets ran the workout.

Safety Zach Edwards, also stamped as a potential second-day pick entering the season, ran a 40 in the 4.65s area. Tight end DJ Dowdy clocked in the low-4.7s.

Dowdy looked good in position drills and made several nice deep catches. The tight end is a bit of an enigma. Entering the season graded as a potential middle-round choice, Dowdy caught four passes this season which brought his career total at UC up to 19. He offers terrific physical skills but has never translated them into football production.

Quarterback Gunner Kiel looked physically fit but was erratic with his passing.

He had several nice throws but also missed on a number of passes, and some people felt he was throwing the ball too hard for no reason.

Former Bearcats Silverberry Mouhon and Shaq Washington also took part in the workout, hoping to latch onto a team.


Huskies pro day has ended and it was another solid workout for Obi Melifonwu.

The defensive back ran the short shuttle (4.09s) the 60-yard shuttle (10.69s) and the three-cone (7.05s). The fastest 60-yard shuttle time recorded at the combine was 10.71s by West Virginia receiver Shelton Gibson.

Melifonwo then worked defensive back drills and looked terrific. He moved incredibly well around the field, displayed quick, fluid footwork moving in reverse and easily flipped his hips. Scouts were impressed with the explosion and acceleration he displayed out of his transition.

Tomorrow the Tampa Bay Bucs come to UConn for a private workout with Melifonwu.


The big surprise today was Jordan Simmons, an offensive lineman with just two career starts.

Simmons measured 6037 and 339 pounds and timed the 40 in 5.19s/5.14s while also completing 26 reps on the bench (three taken away). He looked terrific in position drills and easily moved his huge frame around the field.

Simmons' story is as follows: he had one ACL surgery and then two more scopes before a bone spur was finally cleaned out. By the time he was fully healthy and ready to play, there was no place for him to line up on the Trojans talented offensive line.

Expect this “no name” to be signed after the draft, and he could surprise in camp this fall.

I’m told the other offensive linemen did not look as good. Zach Banner shows little in the way of balance and Chad Wheeler little in the way of strength.

There were a variety of opinions on the performance of Damien Mama.

The Detroit Lions, Oakland Raiders and Cincinnati Bengals had offensive line coaches on hand.

Tight end Taylor McNamara ran well, timing 4.72s in the 40, and then caught the ball exceptionally well. After his terrific performance at the Shrine Game, many felt McNamara deserved an invitation to the combine.

Combine invitees JuJu Smith-Schuster and Darreus Rogers both caught the ball very well and looked good in drills.

Adoree' Jackson also looked good in defensive back drills.

Workouts & Visits

Small school star offensive lineman Julien Davenport of Bucknell is scheduled for workouts with the Atlanta Falcons, Tampa Bay Bucs and Los Angeles Chargers.

Davenport, moving up draft boards since his Senior Bowl performance, interviewed with all three teams during the combine.