by Chris Warner, Patriots Daily Staff
So, looking for a way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day (or, as we say around New England, St. Pats)? Feeling a little too productive at work?
Either case provides a good reason to check out NFL pro day results on Gil Brandt’s blog. Not only is it a good way to check up on players looking to improve their combine numbers, it brings some previously overlooked athletes to light.
The following are a few up-and-comers we feel would fit on the Pats.
Nic Grigsby, Arizona RB: Besides a 4.38 in the 40-yard dash, Grigsby (5-11, 199) exploded out of the box with a 43.5-inch vertical (what?!?) and an 11-foot broad jump. The Wildcats didn’t do much with their running game this past season, but such numbers will put Grigsby in teams’ sights on Day Three.
With New England in the market for a wide receiver, three players have risen since posting impressive pro days.
Chris Matthews, Kentucky WR: The big receiver (6-5, 224) ran in the 4.5 range at his pro day and showed good quickness (6.9-second 3-cone drill) for his size. Matthews has hit the region’s collective radar since he tweeted that he had a workout with the Pats.
Kris Adams, UTEP WR: A taller receiver at 6-3, 194 pounds, Adams ran a 4.43 40 and leapt 39.5 inches at the Miners’ pro day. He had just 47 catches but over 1,000 yards receiving in 2010, averaging nearly 23 yards per reception.
Stephen Burton, West Texas A&M WR: A combine participant who improved immensely at his pro day, upping his 40 time from 4.5 to 4.38 seconds. The 6-1, 221-pound specimen caught the ball 70 times for over 1,000 yards and returned kicks and punts for the Buffaloes.
Though the Pats have stocked up on youth in their defensive front seven over the past two years, the following candidates showed the type of athleticism that the Pats could have in reserve…
Michael Lockley, Florida Atlantic OLB: He’s 6-2, 237 and put up 225 pounds 22 times. Add a solid 40 (4.64) and 38.5-inch vertical, plus 120 tackles to make All-Sun-Belt Second Team honors, and Lockley could give himself a boost on (or just after) draft day.
Zach Clayton, Auburn DT: Clayton’s a little undersized (where else would 6-2, 299 pounds seem undersized besides NFL lineman and maybe storage closet?), but his 4.87-second 40-yard dash proved that Nick Fairley had some company along the Tigers’ defensive front. Has experience at both end and tackle.
Corbin Bryant, Northwestern DE: 6-4, 297, 31 bench reps His 6-4, 300-pound frame fits the description of a New England end. Running a 5-second 40 and putting up 31 reps of 225 fill out the resume. According to Pats blogger/raconteur Chris Price, Bryant was scheduled to work out for the Patriots.
Lucas Patterson, Texas A&M DL: Another solid fit for the Pats on paper, Patterson (6-4, 293) ran a 5.10 40 and had 32 bench reps. How dare you, combine people, for not inviting him to Indy.
How. Dare. You.
Gabe Miller, Oregon State OLB: Looking at his size (6-3, 250), his speed (4.61 40), and strength (33 bench reps), it looks like Miller will get a closer look from some NFL club this spring. The former tight end switched to defense his junior year. Good call: in 2010 he was second on the Beavers with five sacks.
Pete Hendrickson, Tulane OT: The 2010 Conference USA Football Honorable Mention recipient has great reach (6-7, 304) and showed good foot speed (5.09 40) at his pro day. He started 41 games for the Green Wave.
Now, dear readers, put down your Guinness (or Harp, Murphy’s or Smithwick’s), let the corned beef simmer for another few hours, and let us know about any Pats-centric pro day performances of note.
Email Chris Warner at firstname.lastname@example.org