Football seniors prepare for draft: 18 NFL teams on hand for Pro Day



By BW Jones

Staring down a gauntlet of stopwatches, UK’s draft-eligible seniors prepared for the biggest interview of their lives.

Scouts from 18 NFL teams were on hand for UK’s football Pro Day on Wednesday at Nutter Field House.

Senior safety Marcus McClinton was one of those looking to improve his stock after a middling performance at the NFL combine in Indianapolis. McClinton ran in the 4.5-second range in the 40-yard dash but dropped several balls during drills. McClinton said the NFL draft process was exciting, but could also be nerve-wracking.

“Sometimes you might feel like a piece of meat,” McClinton said. “But the difference is feeling like a good piece of meat or a bad piece of meat. And I think I’m medium well.”

McClinton said he was unsure of where he might go in the draft, but said most scouts have told him he is a solid all-around player with good coverage skills. At the combine, some teams questioned McClinton’s character, citing an arrest during his sophomore year. McClinton said he wasn’t sure if those questions could hurt his draft stock, hoping teams would see him as a high-character player.

“I think that I solidified where I was before,” McClinton said. “I’m consistent with my numbers and what I do well. It all depends on what another guy does, because I’m going to do me every time.”

UK’s star-studded junior class worked out as well. Defensive end Jeremy Jarmon was said to have run in the 4.7-second range, and cornerback Trevard Lindley ran in the 4.5s. Junior tailback Alfonso Smith clocked the best time of the day, running the 40-yard dash in a blistering 4.27 seconds. Senior cornerback David Jones had the next-fastest time, clocking in at 4.34 seconds.

The 2009 NFL Draft will take place on April 25 and 26 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

Lyons Jr. to work out April 3

Senior wide receiver Dicky Lyons Jr., who is still recovering after tearing his medial collateral and posterior cruciate ligaments, did not work out for scouts. Lyons suffered the injury on Oct. 11, 2008, against South Carolina. He said his recovery is on schedule and began running last week. He is currently scheduled to work out for scouts on April 3.

Johnson, Pryor elect to not work out

Junior linebacker Micah Johnson and senior defensive tackle Myron Pryor did not participate in workouts. UK head coach Rich Brooks said Johnson strained his back, but is expected to be healthy for spring practice. Pryor was at Pro Day, but elected not to run the 40-yard dash after what he felt was a good showing at the combine.

“I think his numbers were very good in that group, particularly at 318 pounds,” Brooks said of Pryor. “That’s as heavy as I’ve ever seen him. So the fact that he ran in the five flat or under five flat, I think that speaks volumes.”