by Matt Bowen
March 31, 02010
Where are we now when it comes to Oklahoma State WR Dez Bryant after his personnel pro day Tuesday in his hometown of Lufkin, Texas? Not an eye-opening workout, but it also wasn’t a workout that’s going to send Bryant falling down draft boards at a record pace.
The 40 time is debatable. Bryant was timed anywhere from 4.55 to the 4.6 range, but those are handheld times, and once you run in an environment outside the combine in Indianapolis, there’s no such thing as an “official time.”
I asked two NFC coaches about the times, and both of them said it was about what they expected.
Mike Mayock of NFL.com — who is very high on Bryant — did a great job recapping the workout, hitting on the fact that the Big 12 product looked good when he got to the positional workouts on the field, but he also mentioned that the wide receiver failed to complete both the 3-cone and short-shuttle drills.
A small thing to many, but again, something else to question. Why would a player in his biggest job interview not finish a simple drill? And why would a player show up at a workout without cleats? From a player’s perspective, a pro day is a great opportunity if it’s handled the right way.
I wrote about Bryant’s draft stock after he decided to reschedule his pro day off campus in Texas, and the questions were the same back then from coaches I talked to in the league. Is this a player who will be dedicated once he gets paid? Is he a receiver who works exclusively outside the numbers and will disappear in the red zone? Does he really fit what we’re trying to do on offense? And do we want a player we have to monitor?
You can’t question Bryant’s game when you turn on the tape before he received the suspension from Oklahoma State. The guy can play football, but if you’re looking for first-round talent next month in the draft, would it be safer — and more cost effective — to go after a receiver like Arrelious Benn from Illinois?
In his latest mock draft, NFP scout Wes Bunting had Bryant landing at No. 12 to Miami. I like the idea of any player with issues working under the Tony Sparano/Bill Parcels regime, and to see the Dolphins offense under QB Chad Henne with Bryant on the outside in intriguing.
But this is the problem when a pro day isn’t spectacular for a top prospect like what we saw Monday with Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford. Every report out of Norman was positive, and the general assumption is that the quarterback all but wrapped up the top spot in the draft.
With Bryant, we get the opposite. We expect a receiver with that high a profile to turn heads and make us forget about the off-the-field baggage that’s going to come with him. Instead, we just have more questions. And like it or not, those 40 times have power.
For now, anything goes when it comes to speculating about who’s going to pull the trigger in the first round of the draft. He’s still a mystery.
Check back to the NFP later today for Wes Bunting’s Top 30 prospects.
Follow me on Twitter: MattBowen41