There wasn’t an LSU quarterback that worked out for the 2010 NFL Draft in Baton Rouge, but there was Bobby Reid, a name that head coach Les Miles – and one of his receivers – is quite familiar with.
Miles recruited Reid during his final year at Oklahoma State. The former Cowboy signal caller had previously skipped the 2008 Draft after undergoing knee surgery before working out for scouts in 2009 at the University of Texas-Arlington. This March, he was on the Tiger campus ready to give it a final go.
While Miles allowed Reid to participate, it wasn’t the headman’s idea to bring his former recruit into the mix.
Without anyone to catch passes from, senior receiver Brandon LaFell reached out to Reid, a fellow Houston native, with hopes that they could both make their marks in front of what would surely be a packed house of professional coaches.
“I asked coach Miles if he could come on and throw to us, because he is a guy that is still trying to make it to the league,” said LaFell, who tabbed Reid as one of his closest friends. “He is like a brother; wherever I go you will see him. It was great to be able to work out with him.”
While he used the familiar arm to his advantage in the afternoon’s passing drills, LaFell’s morning workouts were nothing to look past.
After he recorded a 4.59 at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, LaFell ran a pair of 4.55 40-yard dashes on Monday. He elected to stick with his 6.81 three-cone drill and 9-8 broad jump from Indianapolis, and his 11 reps, set at 225 pounds, came during his first time on the weight bench.
When all was said and done, LaFell looked back on the day with a sense of accomplishment – especially given that the senior wide receiver went through the day’s workouts with a hamstring injury.
“I wanted to show the coaches that even though I am injured, I could come out here and push through it,” LaFell said. “I ran both my 40s and then I pushed through it and ran all my routes. It’s a lot of pressure because this is the last time you get to run your routes, your 40 time and your drills.
“It’s the last time they see you for a month.”
Another receiver hoping to up his stock was Trindon Holliday, a player most well known with the Tigers as a return specialist.
After running a 4.34 at the NFL Combine, Holliday was advised to opt out of his second attempt back in Baton Rouge.
“I wanted to run, but my agent told me that he didn’t think I needed to run anymore from what I did at the combine,” Holliday said.
Instead, the 5-foot-5, 165-pound receiver focused his efforts on proving his value as a worthwhile piece on the offensive side of the ball. For much of the workout, Holliday never dropped a pass.
“I think I did a lot more to convince those guys that I am not only a specialist, but that I can play a little slot receiver too,” he said.
Another name poised to prove his value at a new position is Richard Dickson, a four-year starter with the Tigers at tight end.
“They have teams that want me to come in and play strictly fullback and not even play tight end,” he said. “Then there is the H-Back position, where you are a combination. I think that is where I fit most at the next level, but right now I am just trying to learn and adapt to whatever they want me to do.
“An NFL roster would make me happy.”
If receivers like R.J. Jackson want to land on an NFL roster, days like Monday was what were needed. After he wasn’t invited to the NFL Combine, Jackson used a big showing at LSU’s Pro Day to get the message to scouts. He recorded 19 reps on the bench, 4.44 in the short shuttle and a 6.59 in the three-cone drill.
Harry Coleman is another name to add to the list of top performers. After a 4.65 run in Indianapolis, Coleman brought his 40-yard dash time down to 4.45, the fastest of any defensive back in attendance. His broad jump went from 8-11 to 9-10, an improvement of nearly one foot.
Safety Danny McCray, who was not invited to the NFL Combine, turned out 40-yard dash times of 4.47 and 4.46. His 23 reps were tied for most on the team, while his 4.28 short shuttle run was second to only Chris Mitchell.
Chad Jones, who turned in only nine reps in Indianapolis, upped his total on the bench to 11. 4.54 was his top 40-yard dash time, .03 faster than his time at the NFL Combine. His third and final event of the day, the broad jump, saw Jones leap 9-feet, 7-inches.
The lone junior to workout for scouts on Monday, Jones said that the day played out much like he had envisioned.
“It’s exactly what I expected,” he said. “I like that I showed improvement. I think that scouts saw that if I get in the weight room, then I definitely can get stronger.”
On the other end of the spectrum of experience was Ciron Black, a fifth-year senior who started in a school record 53 straight games at left tackle.
When it comes to playing on Sundays, Black will try his hand at guard for the first time in his career. Checking in at 6-foot-4, 327-pounds, Black recorded a 5.49 40-yard dash, 23 reps on the bench, 4.93 in the short shuttle, 8.04 in the three-cone drill, 7-7 in the broad jump and 26 inches in the vertical jump.
After the timed testing was complete, Black, the lone offensive lineman, worked out individually with coaches for over half an hour.
“I was just trying to re-establish myself,” he said. “I didn't do as well as I wanted to at the beginning of the season, and I improved at the end of the season, but by that time they already had a base on me and stuff like that. I just wanted to show them how complete I am; drop a few pounds, increase my speed and stuff like that.”
The 2010 NFL Draft is set to get underway on Thursday, April 22.