Sunday, April 02, 2006

Reggie Bush USC Pro Day Gets Rave Reviews - 4.33 40-Yard Dash and 225 Pounds at 25 Reps - Houston Chronicle

He's ready to be drafted by the Texans. The question is, if you're the Indy Colts, who do you draft to stop him? I'll give that answer soon.

April 3, 2006, 1:14AM
Bush has powerful showing
RB demonstrates strength to go with 4.33 speed in 40

Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle

LOS ANGELES - Southern California running back Reggie Bush entered his workout for the NFL scouts Sunday as if it were a game. It wasn't simply about targeting specific numbers.

Bush had just one specific objective: to secure his place as the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. By late Sunday afternoon, he stood outside the USC practice facility confident he had done just that.

"There's always that .1 percent chance, but pretty much I figure 99.9 percent I am (the top pick)," said Bush, who checked in at 5-11, 202 pounds. "I did a pretty good job today. I think I proved to them that I should be the No. 1 pick."

With a ticket to Houston on his mind, Bush was nearly flawless in the different stations. He ran the fastest time of the day in the 40-yard dash — 4.33 seconds. He recorded the highest vertical jump — 40.5 inches. And he recorded the longest broad jump — 10 feet, 8.5 inches.

The biggest surprise to the more than 150 scouts and NFL personnel watching, however, was Bush's ability to complete 24 repetitions on the 225-pound bench press. That beat the majority of his teammates, many of whom are bigger than him.

"He took his shirt off, and I mean, he was huge," USC quarterback Matt Leinart said. "You should have seen the looks on (the scouts') faces. They already know how fast he is. They didn't know he looked like that."

Bush hopes that image stays with NFL scouts, who have criticized him at times because of his size.

It was an image that definitely left an impression on Texans coach Gary Kubiak and general manager Charley Casserly, who watched every move Bush made.

"That was my biggest surprise," Kubiak said. "I knew he was what he was. But to bench-press what he did at his size was pretty impressive."

Young vs. Bush

The Texans are weighing their options between drafting Bush or Texas quarterback Vince Young. They will meet with both players at their Houston offices this week, and because they hold the top pick in the draft, they can begin contract negotiations with one or more players at any time.
Bush will visit Reliant Stadium on Thursday. Young will visit and go through an on-field workout with the Texans on Friday.

Bush doesn't figure his association with Young will end even after the draft. The rivalry that grew between them in college is one Bush expects to continue in the NFL, especially if they are drafted by teams in the AFC.

"They will try to make that Reggie Bush vs. Vince Young," Bush said. "I think it'd be good. It'd just be an ongoing rivalry."

'Class individual'

Bush, who has never visited Houston, will be joined Thursday by his agent, Joel Segal, and his marketing consultant, Mike Ornstein. Because Bush had dinner Saturday night with Casserly and Kubiak, much of Thursday will be spent meeting with Texans owner Bob McNair and some of the assistant coaches.
"We spent a couple of hours with him, and you get a little more read on his personality, more than a 15-minute interview in Indianapolis," Casserly said. "I think he's a class individual, well-spoken, genuine."

Many in the league agree with Bush, taking it as a foregone conclusion he will land in Houston on April 29. That doesn't mean other teams weren't setting up meetings, though.

After Bush's four-hour workout, Tennessee Titans general manager Floyd Reese, coach Jeff Fisher and offensive coordinator Norm Chow met with Bush. After working with him for two years as the offensive coordinator at Southern Cal, Chow praised his former standout.

"I think he's a tremendous player," Chow said. "He's so explosive."

As for the potential of playing against him two times each season, Chow was less thrilled.

"We don't want to even think about it," he said.

Penn State QB Michael Robinson and Boston College WR Will Blackmon: Tweeners for the 2006 NFL Draft - Pro Sports Group's Jeff West

Tweeners for the 2006 NFL Draft

A couple months ago, Consensus Draft Services explained the definition of a "tweener" prospect for the NFL Draft. A tweener is a player who may play one position in college, but be ill-suited for that same position as a professional. Generally this occurs when a player has the athleticism to excel at the position in college, but does not have the requisite size needed to play the same position at the professional level.

In April of 2005, DeMarcus Ware (Troy State) was selected in the first half of the first round based on his athleticism. As a collegiate defensive end he played at 225 pounds and used his athleticism to dominate his opponents. A 225-pound defensive end would likely be tossed around easily by most NFL offensive tackles. So Ware made the transition from a 4-3 defensive end to a 3-4 outside linebacker and was coveted by NFL teams once they saw he had the athleticism to make the switch. A few picks after Ware was selected, the outstanding Georgia defensive end, David Pollack, was selected by the Bengals with the intent to move him to a 4-3 outside linebacker position.

Now the 2006 NFL Draft is approaching and a new group of "tweeners" has emerged. CDS will take a look at some of them in this issue.

The play of Michael Robinson at quarterback has been largely responsible for the success Penn State has enjoyed this season. Robinson is a big play QB who can succeed in the right system in college, but scouts believe he will likely have to consider a move to wideout or running back to continue playing as a professional. He certainly has the athleticism to make the change, following in the footsteps of a player like Antwaan Randle-El.

Another player who is considered a tweener, not based on size or athleticism, but experience, is Boston College's Will Blackmon. Some players are firmly entrenched in a position in college, only to have to learn a new one in the NFL. Others have the advantage of a head start. After establishing himself as one of the top corners in the NCAA as a junior, Blackmon decided to give wideout a try as a senior. However, despite some moderate success at WR, CDS believes that he will be drafted as a corner since truly good ones are so hard to find. He would be a nice double threat in the NFL, much like Champ Bailey and Deion Sanders were early in their careers, however he has probably hurt his draft status some since he has not played much corner as a senior.

One position that is sometimes hard to define is the H-back position. Is the player a tight end or is he a fullback (or both)? Tulsa's Garrett Mills is one of the most productive tight ends in the country, yet he wasn't even considered for the Mackey Award because of his ability to line up in the backfield as a blocker. Vernon Davis (Maryland), a junior who might consider declaring for the draft, is another player who would be ideal in the H-back position. He is a bit undersized to be used as a blocker on the line of scrimmage consistently in the NFL, but would be a dangerous threat as a receiver out of the backfield and would be very effective picking up the blitz with his blocking ability.

There are a number of other players following in the footsteps of DeMarcus Ware and David Pollack for the upcoming draft. North Carolina State's Manny Lawson has had a solid year as an undersized pass-rushing end, however at 240 pounds with outstanding athletic ability and blazing speed, he will likely be looked at as an OLB in the NFL. Brandon Guillory of Louisiana-Monroe could be this year's Ware, coming from a small program to make draft headlines. Guillory, with a strong showing during post-season workouts, should garner some interest as a 3-4 OLB who has pass-rushing ability along with the athleticism and speed to drop back into coverage when needed. Florida State's Kamerion Wimbley is quickly climbing draft boards with his production as a sack artist in 2005, however he too is undersized by NFL DE standards at only 240 pounds. If he puts up good 40-yard dash times after the season, he could be a candidate to switch to a 3-4 outside backer. A little-known prospect from tiny Anderson University in Indiana, Wyatt Gayer should make some noise this off-season with his workouts. Gayer is a smallish DE (6' 2" and 250 pounds) who projects well to a 3-4 OLB position. He is productive on the field and is an amazing athlete with surprising speed, quickness, and strength.

There are a number of collegiate defensive tackles who might not have the size or strength to play the position in the pros. LSU's Claude Wroten is a 4-3 DT who is having an outstanding season. He has the size and speed and strength to continue playing the position at the next level, but he's really ideally suited to be a 3-4 defensive end. At nearly 300 pounds with uncommon quickness, he could be dominant at that position. There are some DTs in college who are productive without Wroten's size. Cal-Poly's Chris Gocong leads the nation in sacks playing a lot of 3-4 DT at about 265 pounds. He would have trouble holding up at the point of attack inside in the pros (unless he was able to add another 25+ pounds while maintaining his strength), so he will likely be looked at as a DE because of his athleticism and speed (4.7 forty).

Another common move for prospects is from linebacker to strong safety. A strong safety has to be tough enough to be an effective run stopper, but still quick enough to provide solid pass coverage. Michael Boulware of Seattle made the switch after it was determined that he was too small to play outside linebacker in the NFL. Auburn's Antarrious Williams has played weakside linebacker quite effectively in college, but is too small to consistently take on the bigger blockers in the NFL. He does have the speed and coverage skills to effectively make the change to strong safety in the NFL. Stanford's Jon Alston is another player who has outstanding speed and athleticism at the OLB position, but at 6' 1" and 220 pounds with very good speed, he's a prime candidate to be tried at the SS position where his size would be a better fit. Devin Conwell of Ashland (Ohio) University is a tad small for the LB position at 6' 2" and 216 pounds, and has seen some work at SS this year. With his athleticism and football intelligence, the big-hitting Conwell could be a nice sleeper tweener in the NFL Draft.

Finally, the last move to be discussed is the cornerback to safety (or vice-versa) switch. One of the top prospects coming into the season was Tennessee's Jason Allen. He was a stand-out free safety who might have been a first-round selection in 2005, however he agreed to go back to Knoxville for his senior campaign if he was allowed to switch to corner, a more coveted position. By all accounts, he was playing well at corner before suffering a season-ending injury. It will be interesting to see how quickly he can get back to good health and what position he will be drafted for. Jimmy Williams is another player who can play either the corner or safety position. His versatility and skill at both positions will likely make him a top ten selection in April.

There is a marked difference between the collegiate game and the NFL, and success and production at a position at the collegiate level does not guarantee the same success in the NFL. However, a player may translate success at one position into opportunity at another position.


Jeff West - Site Editor, Scout, Writer, Administrator