Extra notes on Utah State's Pro Day performances
Just thought I'd throw in a few additional observations from Utah State's Pro Day this morning. All opinions are my own:
• Kerwynn Williams has the presence of an NFL-type talent. It's not surprising for anyone who watched him romp on Toledo in the fourth quarter of the Potato Bowl, but in his position drills without pads, Williams was pretty much in a different league from anyone else. One of his best qualities is that he quick but can also make swift cuts. It will help him as an undersized back in the NFL, but also as a kick/punt returner. Working returns for 20 minutes, Williams missed one ball. His soft hands and his route-running abilities make him a multiple-threat option, which is something today's NFL offenses can always use.
• In another life, Will Davis could've been a receiver. His athleticism has been graded as above average for the NFL, but the real money-maker could be Davis' recently discovered penchant for getting his hands on the ball. He has good receiving instincts, and barely dropped a ball in position drills. Davis' lack of long-term experience hurts him and he's admittedly raw, but on the right team he could develop into a game-changing ballhawk. Davis is going back to Washington to train with Desmond Trufant, another highly sought corner prospect. It's scary to imagine those two on NFL defenses in a few years.
• Matt Austin surprised everyone with his speed. Even many inside the Utah State program were expecting Chuck Jacobs to be the fastest runner of the day (Davis and Williams didn't participate). Austin admitted himself that he was surprised to run faster than Jacobs, albeit by six-hudreths of a second. Still, that was considered by scouts to be the big question mark: Does Austin have NFL-caliber speed? Yep. Now he might be a late-round pick, or he could have his choice of camps as a free agent. Austin has said he's thought about becoming a coach after his football career. Looks like he might put those plans on hold for a while.
• Power is Al Lapuaho's best attribute. He's an athlete, for sure - he ran a 5.28 40-yard dash at 292 pounds - but the thing that stood out is that Lapuaho could really smack some guys around at the next level. His 33 reps on the bench press would've placed him fourth among defensive linemen at the NFL Combine this year. As he ran through the position drills, he smacked the blow-up pins with a force that the other linemen didn't have. He could find a home as a defensive tackle who can rotate in in the league. He has the strength to tangle with other prospects in this class.
• Terrence Alston didn't surprise his teammates, but might've impressed scouts. Davis spent a lot of time talking up his cornerback mate, saying he had the best feet on the team. That seems to be an impression that hit with scouts, who later told Alston that same observation. He didn't blow away other defensive backs with his measurements and test results, but he did well. And his fluidity of movement may be a reason for an NFL team to take a flier on him in free agency.
• Jumanne Robertson might get a shot based on his athleticism. He had all of eight tackles last season on the field, but he has very good numbers in drills. He had the second-best 40 (4.56), and the second-best vertical leap (35 inches). He never was a huge impact player at Utah State, but perhaps some team will take a chance. **UPDATE: At least a few scouts had hand-timed Robertson in the high 4.4 range, according to BAC Sports Management and at least one person who was clocking the 40-yard-dash. Robertson was timed by at least one scout at 4.47, and as high as 4.43 by others. That would've given him the fastest time of the day.**
• Google some of these drills on YouTube and try them. Really. They're not easy. I've seen a lot of the three-cone drill, the shuttle drills and some of the position drills on TV, but seeing them live reinforces how awkward they are. Running full speed and then trying to cut turns or touch your hand to the ground is extremely difficult. There were many, many slips. Jacobs was likely on his way to an NFL-caliber 3-cone drill time when he accidently kicked one of the cones at the end and had to do it over. Especially impressive are the big guys who are trying to stop their massive momentum - it's much harder for guys such as Lapuaho and Kellen Bartlett.
Kyle Goonkgoon@sltrib.comTwitter: @kylegoon