Trio of Austin, Smith, and Bailey impress scouts, coaches at NFL Pro Day
Published: Friday, March 15, 2013
Updated: Friday, March 15, 2013 01:03
Smith and Austin are both projected to be first-round picks by NFL analysts such as Mike Mayock of NFL Network and Todd McShay of ESPN – both of whom were in attendance.
Representatives of 29 NFL teams were present with only the Dallas Cowboys, Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals absent.
Much like he did at the NFL Combine, Smith left little doubt as to why he is regarded as the top prospect in this draft class.
"Today, I feel as though I did a pretty good job of just being accurate with my throws," Smith said. "I just wanted to show that I was able to do a multitude of drops, hit a bunch of different route patterns in different areas of the field and be accurate."
Highly touted receivers Austin and Bailey didn’t participate in the majority of the strength or speed drills; Bailey ran the 40 twice, but his times weren’t released.
While they didn’t run or lift, the receiver duo impressed with their hands, speed and proficient route running.
Both receivers have been doubted at some point in their careers, and both have used it as motivation to help fuel their run to the NFL.
"I’m a small guy, but I definitely play big. There was always talk about me being too small, but the only thing I needed was an opportunity," Austin said.
Bailey echoed his former teammate’s words.
"When I listen to the media and I see that they don’t have me ranked as I as I should be, it just puts a chip on my shoulder to just continue working hard and continue to prove people wrong," Bailey said.
With Smith, Austin and Bailey garnering much of the media attention following February’s NFL Combine, Thursday’s workout provided a chance for some lesser known players to make headlines of their own.
"To have a bunch of coaches and scouts out here to get a feel for those guys as well and to see what they bring to the table is extremely promising for me because I appreciate what they did for me," Smith said.
Senior wide receiver Ryan Nehlen took full advantage of the opportunity and excelled in the workouts.
His vertical leap (39"), broad jump (11’1") and 40-yard dash (4.53 seconds) put him atop the leaderboard in all three events on the day.
Nehlen said he spoke with scouts from multiple teams, including the Washington Redskins, and pointed out how grateful he was for the opportunity.
"I was happy with my times and pleased with how I caught the ball and ran my routes," Nehlen said. "The publicity surrounding this event was special for guys like me who didn’t have as much film on the field."
With the combine and pro day behind them, all that’s left to do for these Mountaineers is wait for the NFL Draft, which will take place from April 25-27 from Radio City Music Hall in New York City.