Pro Day Tour '14: Looking Beyond Clowney

Quarles (Beth Harris - USA Today Sports)

South Carolina had plenty of star power beyond potential No. 1 overall pick Jadeveon Clowney. Defensive end Kelcy Quarles had much better production than Clowney in 2013. Plus, the Packers watched two potential kick returners among their four pro days.

It was Jadeveon Clowney's day on a sweltering Wednesday morning at South Carolina.

For the Green Bay Packers, the interest was with just about everyone else.

Defensive end Kelcy Quarles (6-4, 297), a potential second-round option, seems to fit the new direction of the defensive line. He's not 310 or 320 pounds, but he's strong, long and athletic. With opponents focusing on Clowney, Quarles made them pay by recording team-leading figures of 9.5 sacks and 13.5 tackles for losses as a junior in 2013. Only Pitt's Aaron Donald recorded more sacks by a defensive tackle.

Quarles ran his 40-yard dash in 5.03 seconds at the Scouting Combine and matched that figure on Wednesday.

"I just think I proved myself to be a tough player," Quarles told reporters. "I came out here and tweaked my groin a little bit, but I just showed that I don't quit in whatever I do. I think I showed that during the season, that I'm not a quitter .and I'm going to keep fighting no matter how hurt I am."

Receiver Bruce Ellington — the former basketball point guard — presents an interesting question. At 5-foot-9 3/8, he typically would be too small for the Packers to consider. However, his kick-return skills would be a tremendous asset in the third or fourth round. As a junior in 2013, he caught 49 passes for 775 yards and eight touchdowns. He averaged 22.6 yards per punt return in 2012 and 23.1 yards per runback in 2011. Ellington, who was all-SEC on the football field and the classroom, stuck with his Combine numbers of 4.45 in the 40 with a 39.5-inch vertical. Logging heavy duty as one of three pass-catchers on a hot day, Ellington dropped one pass.

Like Clowney, Chaz Sutton was a defensive end who projects to outside linebacker in a 3-4. He had a strong day with a 40 timed as fast as 4.64 with 24 reps on the bench and a 35.5-inch vertical. He had three sacks, 8.5 tackles for losses and two forced fumbles as a senior.

Finally, quarterback Connor Shaw somehow gained a half-inch from the Combine, going from 6-0 3/8 to 6-0 7/8. He had a superb workout, with only one bad ball. He ended the workout by throwing the ball 60, 61 and 62 yards. "He threw the ball really well," a source said. We'll have more on Shaw on Thursday.

Washington

We'll have a separate story on tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins.

Without Seferian-Jenkins and with the Huskies' other prospects being star running back Bishop Sankey (no needs in the backfield) and two short defensive backs, the main draw might have been quarterback Keith Price, who was right on target during an impressive workout.

"I've always had arm strength," Price said. "I like to throw catchable balls. If I have to throw [the ball] through a window I can do that."

Tennessee

Depending on the ultimate direction of the defensive line, Daniel McCullers could be a prime option if available in the third round. Or he might not be an option at all.

Appropriately nicknamed "Shade Tree," the 6-foot-7, 352-pounder is the biggest man in the draft. Not only is he tall, but he's strong — 27 reps on the bench at the Combine as well as on Wednesday. That's impressive considering that he's long — whopping 36 5/8-inch arms and an 87-inch wing span. He ran in 5.32 on Wednesday.

Is McCullers too big for what is shaping up as a leaner defensive line? Or, with B.J. Raji under a one-year contract, do the Packers need to protect themselves at nose tackle?

A junior-college transfer, McCullers started 19 games in his two seasons for the Vols. He tallied 72 tackles, including 10 for losses, and blocked two kicks.

Fellow defensive lineman Maurice Couch (6-2, 322) started 13 games in 2011 and 2012, with 2.5 sacks and 10 tackles for losses, but missed most of 2013 for taking improper benefits from an agent. He put up 31 reps on the bench and ran in 5.32.

Corey Miller (6-3, 258), who would move to outside linebacker in Green Bay's 3-4 scheme, broke Reggie White's school record when he registered 4.5 sacks against Kentucky in the 2013 finale. That amounted to most of his production for his senior season, when he recorded 6.5 sacks and seven tackles for losses while starting 11 games. He didn't run the 40 but put up 33 reps on the bench. Another outside linebacker candidate, Jacques Smith (6-2, 258), ran in 4.88 with a 36.5-inch vertical and 27 reps on the bench, according to NFL.com. He had five sacks and 21.5 tackles for losses in his career.

"Whatever teams need, I'm trying to be that," he told Nooga.com. "If it's a defensive end, if it's an outside linebacker, if it's a rush specialist, if it's a special team(er), whatever it is to get on the field. I want to go out and do it and give my best effort." On the offensive line, left tackle Antonio Richardson and right tackle JaWuan James are potential Day 2 picks. Given the Packers' depth at offensive tackle and needs elsewhere, they might not be a consideration. Guard Zach Fulton (6-5, 316) mostly stuck with his Combine workout numbers (5.16 in the 40, 25 reps on the bench). Fulton's lack of position versatility, however, might make him of limited interest for Green Bay with a late-round pick. The more realistic option would be late-round center James Stone (6-3, 307). He started 35 games at that spot. A natural left-hander, Stone does shotgun snaps with his left hand but, at the demand of the coaching staff, learned to do traditional snaps with his right hand. He called the blocking assignments and is a quality pass protector. Stone, with tackle-like 33 7/8-inch arms, stuck with his Combine workout of 5.17 in the 40 and 22 reps on the bench, but had a strong positional workout.

North Texas

As a receiver, undersized Brelan Chancellor (5-8, 186) almost certainly wouldn't be on the Packers' radar. As a kick returner, however, he apparently is on their radar.

Chancellor not only caught 53 passes for 792 yards and four touchdowns as a senior, but he averaged 16.1 yards per punt return with one touchdown and 27.6 yards per kickoff return with a 99-yard touchdown against Georgia. He was one of only 10 players in the nation to return a punt and a kickoff for a touchdown this season. In 2012, he had an 80-yard touchdown catch against LSU.

Chancellor, who has been working out at former Olympic gold medalist Michael Johnson's facility in the Dallas area, ran his 40 in 4.40 seconds with a 41-inch vertical.


Agree or disagree?: Discuss hot Packers topics in our, free forums. Leave Bill a question in the subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum.


Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.

PackerReport.com Recommended Stories


Up Next


Tweets