A dozen Cougars work out for NFL scouts on 'Pro Day'

Published: Thursday, March 9 2006 12:00 a.m. MST

PROVO — BYU strength and conditioning coach Jay Omer considers "Pro Day" a miniature version of the NFL Scouting Combine.

More than 20 NFL scouts descended on BYU's campus Wednesday to work out 12 departing Cougar seniors with various strength, speed and agility tests in preparation for next month's draft.

"We've had a lot of BYU players go on (to the NFL)," Omer said. "That's why the scouts keep coming back. That so many scouts showed up is a good tell-tale sign."

Three Cougars — wide receiver Todd Watkins, defensive lineman Manaia Brown and running back Fahu Tahi — participated in the NFL Combine in Indianapolis in February. Some of the players who are invited to the combine opt not to go through certain tests, preferring instead to wait until the scouts visit their college campus. Some players want to improve upon their results at the NFL Combine.

For those players who aren't invited to the Combine, "Pro Day" is their shot to impress the scouts and improve their draft stock.

"These on-campus combines become more important all the time," Omer said.

Tahi ran a 4.92 in the 40 in Indianapolis but managed to improve on his time Wednesday. Watkins didn't run the 40 for scouts Wednesday because he ran a 4.40 in Indianapolis.

Other players who displayed their skills for the scouts Wednesday were defensive linemen Vince Feula, Justin Maddux, Daniel Marquardt and T.J. Sitake; wide receiver Michael Morris; defensive backs Nate Soelberg, O'Neil Howell and Spencer White; and offensive lineman Lance Reynolds Jr.

Omer is responsible for setting everything up for the visting scouts, who use BYU's facilities to do their jobs. "We try to make it easy on them and try to accommodate them," he said. "They treat our kids well."

Omer also feels responsible to assist his former players in preparing to play at the next level. "Whatever I can do to help," he said. "My goal is to help them make it into camp. It's up to them to make the team."

According to nfldraftscout.com, Watkins was ranked No. 10 out of 38 wide receivers who went to the NFL Combine. He is projected as a third-round draft pick, higher than fellow Mountain West Conference receivers David Anderson (Colorado State), Hank Baskett (New Mexico), Jovon Bouknight (Wyoming), Cory Rodgers (TCU) and Jeff Webb (San Diego State).

Tahi and Brown are both projected to be drafted in the sixth round.


E-mail: jeffc@desnews.com

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