While you cannot teach height in the NBA, you cannot teach speed in the NFL. The small yet elusive Jakeem Grant, a wide receiver from Texas Tech, had scouts from NFL teams drooling this week when he put on a show for them at his Pro Day on Friday.
This year’s wide receiver class is not as deep or as talented as in year’s past, where only three players may be drafted in the first round, but Grant did his best to leave a lasting impression as the Draft is now six weeks away.
According to Gil Brandt of NFL.com, Grant — 5-foot-5 7/8, 165 pounds — ran the 40-yard dash in 4.42 and 4.38 seconds. He had a 36 1/2-inch vertical jump and a 9-foot-9 broad jump. He did the 20-yard short shuttle in 4.06 seconds and the three-cone drill in 7.01 seconds. He also performed 15 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press. With that speed and quickness, Grant could get a look as a return specialist in the NFL.
Right now, the only sure-fire first round pick from the position is Laquon Treadwell of Ole Miss. He could go anywhere from seventh to the San Francisco 49ers to falling deep into the back end of the first day of the selection process. Teams like Detroit, Atlanta, Seattle and Cincinnati could all make a move to grab the SEC talent.
COOK HAS A LOT TO SAY
If NFL scouts like anything about Connor Cook, they have to like his confidence. The Michigan State quarterback made it very clear he thinks he should be one of the first signal callers drafted in April. Right now, Cook may be the fourth or fifth best quarterback on most NFL talent boards.
Cook was quoted in Peter King’s MMQB column on SI.com as saying he did not need a national title to prove he was a leader on the field.
“I’ve been fortunate to have played on great teams, and have proven that I’m a winner. My record is 5-2 against top 10 opponents. I’ve played in a pro-style offense. I can scan the whole field. I’ve dealt with protections and know how to change protections. I can take snaps under center and do a five or seven foot drop, and I’m confident in my arm strength.”
Cook played against top-level talent in the Big Ten and was a main reason the Spartans upended Ohio State three seasons ago on their way toward the conference title.
The main reason why some may have questioned his leadership role with his team this past season was simple – he wasn’t voted a team captain this year, which is something scouts and teams look at as a sign of respect from his fellow teammates. Cook addressed it quickly, which may have won over some support for him being selected on the second day of the Draft.
“I didn’t go to the Senior Bowl (that was something my agent and I decided, and I don’t have any regrets) so this was my first opportunity to sit face-to-face with NFL decision-makers. The 15-minute formal interviews (at the Combine) were an opportunity for them to get to know me on a personal level, but also to show them how smart I am drawing up plays on the board. Beyond my on-field performance, I really pride myself on being a student of the game.”
DOUBLE DUTY ON CRIMSON TIDE STAFF
It looks like Burton Burns will be one busy coach this season. The Alabama running backs coach will also have a hand in the team’s special teams preparation.
Michael Casagrande of AL.com wrote a story about head coach Nick Saban address the media after the team completed its first spring practice on Friday.
The story explains Brent Key was added as an interior offensive line coach as Mario Cristobal moved over to lead the tackles and tight ends. Bobby Williams moved to an off-the-field job, but there was no mention of a replacement for his duties as the special teams coach.
That’s where Burns comes in.
Burns has been with the team for 10 years and has helped coach two Heisman Trophy winners in Mark Ingram and Derrick Henry. He does not have special teams coaching experience listed anywhere on his coaching profile.