Trojans impress scouts in Pro Day drills
Despite an uncharacteristically lackluster showing from the USC overall, the 6-foot-5, now-310-pound Smith might have moved himself into the discussion to be a top-10 pick in next month’s NFL draft.
In an effort to improve his first-round stock, Smith added 30 pounds of bulk to his playing weight of 285 pounds, while still retaining his above-average athleticism. Though he only ran a decent 4.92-second 40-yard dash, Smith hit 31 reps on the bench press and displayed quick feet and fluid movement in individual drills.
“I wanted to run faster [and get to a] 4.8 and I was mad when I found out I was at a 4.9,” Smith said with a laugh. “I feel like overall I did good today.”
With Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett in attendance (validating rumors about Dallas’ interest in Smith at No. 9), it looks as if Smith’s draft stock is truly on the rise as the Detroit Lions (No. 13) also came out in full force to watch the heralded junior prospect.
“From here on out, I just want to improve upon my speed and strength and work on my technique,” Smith said.
Among the other lineman, senior offensive tackle Butch Lewis showed up at a lean 311 pounds, and, although overshadowed by Smith, was nonetheless impressive in workouts.
Tight end Jordan Cameron wowed scouts during position drills, showing off strong hands and field speed that correlates well with his combine numbers (a 4.59-second 40-yard dash).
As Cincinnati Bengals tight end coach Jordan Hayes gave advice to Cameron throughout the day, the 6-foot-5 senior displayed excellent body control and a knack for snagging balls away from his body.
Although the BYU transfer played sparingly for the Trojans until this past fall, Cameron still projects as a mid-round pick because of his unique athleticism at the tight end position.
“I think I did really well today and just showed off what I can do,” Cameron said. “I need to get better at blocking and get a little more experience under my belt, but I’ll be fine.”
Wide receiver Ronald Johnson posted an underwhelming 4.49-second 40-yard dash time, but helped his stock during individual drills, where he rarely missed a pass and showed great burst coming out of his cuts.
Throwing to Johnson, quarterback Mitch Mustain looked to be in peak physical shape, weighing in at a solid 221 pounds. During the passing drills, the former Arkansas quarterback had some zip on his passes to go along with a fundamentally sound approach behind center.
On the defensive side of the ball, cornerback Shareece Wright came down with a possibly serious knee injury after he caught his foot in the ground during ball drills.
The biggest surprise of the day came from outside linebacker prospect Malcolm Smith. Not invited to the combine, the 225-pound Smith ran a 4.47-second 40-yard dash, reached 28 reps on the bench and looked just as good during individual drills.