The Daily Gamecock

Gamecocks showcase talents at Pro Day

On Wednesday, scouts from 28 of 32 NFL teams gathered at Williams-Brice Stadium for South Carolina’s Pro Timing Day. Sixteen Gamecocks did combine-like drills such as the 40-yard dash, vertical and broad jumps and other position specific drills for scouts.

Among those most coveted were running back Mike Davis and offensive lineman A.J. Cann. 

Many draft experts consider Cann as one of the top guards in the upcoming NFL Draft and as South Carolina’s best pro prospect.

However, Wednesday’s event was possibly more important for a few less-prominent players.

Offensive tackle Corey Robinson, defensive tackle J.T. Surratt, tight end Rory ‘Busta’ Anderson, Cann and Davis were all invited to the NFL Draft Combine in Indianapolis in February.

While Anderson did not participate in either the NFL Combine or Pro Day, the other four worked out in both.

Compared to the NFL Combine, drills were more personalized on Wednesday and individual scouts had the opportunity to talk with players one-on-one about their performances, schemes and other aspects of football.

For some other prospects, Pro Day meant much more. Wednesday was a final chance for these players to convince scouts that they have what it takes to make an NFL roster.

In all actuality, few of those players will get the chance to play in the NFL, but Pro Day gives them an opportunity to show off their skills and perhaps grab the attention of certain NFL teams. 

One player who took advantage of this opportunity was wide receiver Damiere Byrd. Byrd impressed scouts Wednesday afternoon, showing off his athleticism with an unofficial 4.25 second 40-yard dash time and a 42-inch vertical measure. 

Many experts believe running on grass actually slows times, making Byrd’s time even more impressive.

Although many doubt Byrd’s ability to carve out a role for himself at the next level, he’s of the opinion that his performance in front of the scouts in attendance definitely helped his cause.

“I think I helped myself tremendously,” Byrd said. “The numbers felt great, doing routes, catching balls, things like that so, I think I definitely helped myself."

After a somewhat disappointing junior season, Davis reminded folks of the athleticism and talent which he still possesses Wednesday.

Though his 40-yard dash times of 4.38 and 4.46 are unofficial, both are well under the official 4.61. Davis ran at the combine. His vertical jump of 35.5 incheswas also higher than the mark he recorded in Indianapolis.

“I felt like I did good,” Davis said. “I ran well, tested well. I just came out here and wanted to have fun with my teammates.”

Surratt also improved upon his combine numbers, averaging a quarter of a second faster on his 40-yard dash while bench-pressing 225 pounds 33 times.

“Basically just staying in shape and staying ready at all times,” Surratt said about the looming draft. “Like I said, I’m just waiting on my name to be called every time. Just being ready at all times.”

Former starting quarterback Dylan Thompson also impressed, completing each of his 41 pass attempts Wednesday.

The NFL Draft begins on Thursday, April 30 and goes through Saturday, May 2.