While Blaine Gabbert will garner the headlines, there were other prospects working to boost their NFL draft stock at Missouri’s pro day Thursday.
DE Aldon Smith worked out well and will be a first-round pick, somewhere in the 11-20 range. This draft is unusual in that there are a lot of different opinions and similar players. So one team might have Smith rated as the ninth overall prospect, and another might put him at 17.
When Smith lined up in drills with other linemen next to him, he looked like a racehorse. He showed his pass rush skills in games, but confirmed what people saw on tape with his effort in position drills.
One player who wasn’t as well known but benefited from the approximately 125 scouts, coaches and GMs in attendance was DB Kevin Rutland. He made a case for being drafted in the fourth or fifth round after improving his combine time with a 4.46 clocking in the 40-yard dash and measuring in at 5-foot-11 7/8 and 188 pounds. He appears to be able to play in zone or man coverage, which is important as teams use more five-receiver sets.
C Tim Barnes (6-3 5/8, 300) and DB Carl Gettis (5-9 5/8, 199) appear to be late-round picks or priority free agents leaving the event.
Meanwhile, two small-school receivers helped their causes. Central Missouri’s Jamorris Warren caught the ball well as did Jamere Holland, who spent time at USC and Oregon before he ended up at Lindenwood.
Other draft-related notes
Something to ponder: I talked to a number of evaluators who were present at Christian Ponder‘s workout yesterday at Florida State’s pro day, and the consensus was that it was OK, not spectacular.
Big D for Big Tex: I heard Ryan Mallett is living in Dallas, where he’s planning to take up full-time residence. His sister also lives there.
Is eight enough? Think the Vikings won’t take a quarterback in the draft? Think again. Minnesota has workouts scheduled with eight different signal-callers in the next few weeks. The Bills dined with Gabbert Wednesday night, and the Vikings have dinner reservations tonight in Columbia with the former Missouri quarterback.