Illini Excel for NFL Scouts on Pro Day

Jonathan Brown bettered his performance from the NFL Combine.
Jonathan Brown bettered his performance from the NFL Combine.

March 6, 2014

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Seven former Fighting Illini football players took part in Illinois' annual NFL Pro Day Thursday morning, March 6, at the Illinois Football Performance Center and Irwin Indoor Practice Center. Nineteen scouts from 18 NFL teams were on hand to watch recent alums Jonathan Brown, Spencer Harris, Steve Hull, Ryan Lankford, Corey Lewis, Patrick Nixon-Youman and Evan Wilson participate in several drills and workouts.

Wilson and Lankford both had impressive days, while Brown was able to improve on most of his numbers from last month's NFL scouting combine. Lankford ran a blazing 4.36 40-yard dash time on Thursday, which would have ranked third among wide receivers and fourth overall at the combine, while his 60-yard shuttle time of 11.00 would have been fourth for his position and fifth overall. In addition, his 10' 7" broad jump would have ranked third and his 6.76 three-cone time 10th among wideouts at the combine.

Wilson's vertical leap of 35.5" would have ranked second among all tight ends at the combine and his broad jump of 10' 4" would have ranked third. His three-cone drill of 7.42 (ninth), 40-yard dash of 4.85 (11th), 20-yard shuttle time of 4.50 (11th) and 19 bench press reps (11th) all would have been among the top performances for a tight end at the combine.

Brown, who as the lone Illini participant at the NFL combine in Indianapolis last month, improved on his numbers in five different categories. His 40-yard dash on Thursday was 4.85, significantly better than his 5.01 clocking in Indy, while his vertical jump (31.5"), broad jump (9' 3"), three-cone (7.33) and bench press (18) all bettered his performances at the combine.

After the speed drills, the Fighting Illini took part in position-specific drills on the turf at the Irwin Practice Facility. Many were also interviewed by some of the scouts on hand. Offensive lineman Corey Lewis (knee) was only able to participate in the bench press as he's recovering from a knee injury.

The 2014 NFL Draft will take place May 8-10 at Radio City Music Hall in New York. A total of 19 Illini have been drafted in the last five year, including four in 2013, and 26 former Illini played in the NFL last season, tied for the second-most in the Big Ten.