As draft day nears, several Trojan football players hope their performances at the NFL combine will help increase their draft stock.
And those that went through workouts didn’t disappoint.
Former defensive end Everson Griffen showed off his agility with a 40-yard dash time of 4.66 seconds, which tied for second best among defensive linemen.
Not only did he impress scouts with his speed, but he also flexed his muscle by bench-pressing 32 repetitions of 225 pounds, which was as many bench-press repetitions as Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who is projected to be the first overall pick in the draft.
On the offensive side, Jeff Byers recorded 33 repetitions of bench presses, which was good for sixth best among offensive linemen.
Several other former offensive players impressed NFL scouts as well.
Running back Joe McKnight silenced a few critics with a notable workout of his own.
Scouts were skeptical of how well his skills would translate to the NFL, but he posted a 40-yard dash time of 4.47, which was good for fifth among running backs.
He was also among the running back leaders in vertical jumps and broad jumps.
Wide receiver Damian Williams solidified his second-round status and perhaps even made a case to be taken earlier with an impressive workout.
His 40-yard dash time was in the low 4.5 second range, and he was among the wide receiver leaders in several workouts including the bench press, vertical jump and three-cone drill, which tests an athlete’s ability to change directions.
Tight end Anthony McCoy didn’t help his stock much, but he did post an adequate 40-yard dash time of 4.79 seconds and bench-pressed 19 repetitions.
“The day could have gone better for [McCoy],” ESPN analyst Todd McShay said. “He also had a few drops, which was also a problem for him during Senior Bowl week. We knew he was somewhat limited athletically, so McCoy did not hurt his second-round grade much, but he did miss a chance to get in to the first-round conversation.”
Out of all these players, however, it was Stafon Johnson who impressed scouts with more than just his football skills — it was his courage.
After a freak weight-lifting accident that almost took his football career and his life, Johnson bench-pressed 13 repetitions at the combine.
And though he wasn’t one of the leaders in repetitions, the fact that he decided to do the workout was enough for some.