– Virginia cornerback Ras-I Dowling is still recovering from the leg injuries which he struggled with all through his senior season then continued through the combine. He is working out on April 4th and expects to be 100%.
– Another prospect that’s struggled with injuries will workout ten days later. Eastern Washington running back Taiwan Jones, who had surgery on his foot, will workout on April 14th. We have been told several teams grade Jones as a third round pick, an opinion we do not share.
– Though its not a strong year at the center position there are a bunch of sleepers to keep an eye on. We’ve previously mentioned Tim Barnes of Missouri and Colin Baxter from Arizona. Neither were invited to the combine but stood out during pro-day. Tonight, in our SI.com pro-day tracker, we spoke of scouts being very impressed with Chase Beeler during Stanford’s pro-day. The fourth blocker on the pivot that’s been impressive is Kevin Kowalski of Toledo. During his pro-day on Tuesday Kowalski timed as fast as 4.98s after weighing in at 300lbs. His other marks include 4.64s in the short shuttle, 7.81s in the three cone and a vertical jump of 28-inches. Kowalski, who suffered an AC joint shoulder sprain during the Senior Bowl, was unable to lift on the bench press.
– Former Gamecock tight end Weslye Saunders is on schedule to take part in the South Carolina pro-day of March 30th. So what happened at the combine? Saunders was scheduled to run but it was announced he would not after hurting his foot warming up. It turned out, as was the case with Julio Jones, medical examinations revealed Saunders had a stress fracture in his foot. The game plan was to complete the workout but during the vertical jump Saunders landed awkwardly and the stress fracture really started to bother him. He has decided against having surgery to repair the broken bone until after the March 30th pro-day. The rehab is two months long, bringing him to the end of May. Saunders is presently tipping the scales around 260lbs, less than his combine weight of 267. We’re told he’s expecting to run in the low 4.6’s during pro-day.
– Where will Tyron Smith/OT/USC end up in the draft? It looks more and more like he won’t get out of the top twenty picks. Sources have told us the Minnesota Vikings are seriously considering the athletic tackle with the 12th selection if they can’t come away with a quarterback. The other team that ranks Smith high on their board are the New York Giants.
– There’s movement on receiver boards around the league, both up and down. Greg Salas/Hawaii is now rated as a solid second round choice by most teams while Terrence Toliver/LSU and Jeremy Kerley/TCU are both potential second rounders that will not get out of the third frame. Toliver, especially, is reaping the reward of a terrific pass catching workout during his pro-day. Meanwhile Titus Young/Boise State, at one time considered the top senior receiver prospect after the Senior Bowl, has dropped into the third round on most teams boards. Greg Little/North Carolina won’t be selected before the fourth round while Jeff Maehl/Oregon, a player we like, will fall into the seventh round and could go undrafted in large part because of his poor forty times at the combine then at his pro-day workout last week.