More than 20 scouts from various NFL teams showed up to take a look at Minnesota’s football team as part of pro timing day Monday afternoon at the Gibson-Nagurkski Football Complex.
The Gophers top NFL prospect, running back Laurence Maroney, was forced to reschedule his timing day to March 23 due to unconfirmed reports of a hamstring injury.
But those who were in attendance were trying to increase their draft value by shaving fractions of a second off their shuttle run times or getting an extra few reps in on the bench press.
Specifically, Minnesota wide receivers Jared Ellerson and Jakari Wallace were impressing scouts with their speed, but more importantly with their maturity.
“That’s what these guys have that others may not is their maturity,” wide receivers coach Luke Tressel said. “They are mature and they know what it takes to make it at this level.”
And the scouts were not disappointed, as Wallace and Ellerson met their speed expectations with impressive showings in the 40-yard dash. Ellerson clocked in at 4.60 while Wallace was clocked by various scouts at 4.50 and 4.55.
“With Jakari it’s definitely about speed because he can flat out run,” Tressel said. “But with Ellerson it’s about versatility, he can run, catch, block and pretty much do everything you ask from him.”
Mike Tice, former Minnesota Vikings head coach and now assistant coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, was in attendance to scout some Gophers. Tice worked specifically with offensive linemen Mark Setterstrom and Greg Eslinger and defensive lineman Anthony Montgomery on a few mobility drills.
Eslinger and Setterstrom did not participate in the 40-yard dash or any of the shuttle drills because they already completed them at the NFL combined.
Linebacker Kyle McKenzie, who led the team in tackles as a junior two years ago, wasn’t invited to the NFL combined, so he needed to use this opportunity to make an impression on the scouts.
And he, like many of the Gophers, was happy with his results as they included a 4.2 in the short shuttle.
“You know I wanted to hit 4.6s and put up some other good times up,” McKenzie said. “I was able to do that, and right now I’m feeling really good about my times.”
Now they play the waiting game, as the Gophers hope their names gets called at the 2006 NFL draft April 29 and 30.