Jordan Poyer and Markus Wheaton were who the NFL scouts came to see at the Oregon State football team’s Pro Day on Friday.
However, it was Brian Watkins who stole the show.
There were 24 NFL scouts and one from the Canadian Football League who watched the team’s seniors work out to gauge their strength, speed and agility leading into the April 25-27 draft.
Wheaton didn’t do any of the drills but ran routes, caught passes and returned kicks and punts. He made a splash at the NFL Combine last month so he didn’t need to do much.
“I was satisfied with my combine,” Wheaton said. “I could have improved a little bit or did worse, but I didn’t think it was worth doing it again. Maybe I was wrong. I did what I could. I gave it my all. I just wanted to play football.”
Poyer lifted and jumped but didn’t do any of the agility drills or the 40-yard dash. He returned kicks and did position drills.
His goal was to improve his bench, and he did by putting up 225 pounds 11 times, three better than his combine number. He wanted to reach 10.
“I thought it went good today,” Poyer said. “I feel good about (the bench) and I feel good about my drills. I came out of my breaks well. I prepared well.”
The rest of the seniors were trying catch a scout’s eye, and several did as they were asked to fill out questionnaires so the scouts could follow up on them. Watkins was the most productive of the group.
Pro Days are set up to find the diamond in the rough who wasn’t invited to the combine or an all-star game.
Watkins was a walk-on cornerback and didn’t play much in the secondary, but contributed on special teams.
“He tore it up and he wants a chance,” Poyer said. “He did really well for himself. He put himself on the map by wowing the scouts and I think he’ll get a shot.”
Watkins ran an unofficial 4.4-second 40 and benched 225 18 times. His agility moves drew astonished reactions from the crowd.
He also leaped 10 feet, 2 inches in the long jump and his vertical leap was 38½ inches. Both marks were the best of the Beavers.
Watkins may have gone from a hardly used college player to getting a second look as a free agent.
“He had impressive numbers and he looked real good,” Wheaton said. “I’m sure a lot of people will be surprised, but those of us on the team are not. He’s a great athlete.”
Offensive lineman Colin Kelly had 28 reps on the bench, which was the most of the nine who lifted.
Defensive tackle Andrew Seumalo was hurt going in and had to stop his bench after three due to a right shoulder injury that occurred during training. His hamstring also tightened up during the running.
“It’s just something I have to deal with,” Seumalo said. “My shoulder feels fine, but I’m glad I got through. Whatever happens I hope to get the opportunity.”
Wheaton has personal workouts with New England, Dallas and Arizona set up. Poyer started talking with teams but nothing set yet.
Both players will stay around OSU during the spring to work out and finish school. Wheaton plans to help the receivers during spring practice.
“I’m anxious and I want to know what is going to happen,” Poyer said. “I don’t care what round I go or where. I just want to get my shot. It just takes one team to like you. If I get a shot with any team I’ll be happy.”
Poyer has heard he’s a potential second- or third-round pick. NFL Draft Countdown ranks him as the eighth best cornerback after being as high as second during the season.
He believes his knowledge of the game, ability to returns kicks and versatility as a safety, corner and special teams player gives him an edge.
“I’m up there with the top of them,” Poyer said, comparing himself to other defensive backs. “I may not be as fast as them but my overall skill set matches up with the top guys around the country. Some of my skill set is better than those guys.”
Wheaton improved his draft stock after the combine, where he ran a 4.45 40 for the 10th-best time there and had 20 reps on the bench.
His 20-yard shuttle (4.02 seconds) and 60-yard shuttle (11.16) runs were the best for receivers.
“I feel like I’m right along with the guys at the top,” Wheaton said. “My skills are there. The talent necessary is there. As long as I hear my name in the first through the seventh round I’ll be extremely happy.”