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Pro Day Tour: Vaccaro, Okafor Among Top Longhorn Prospects
AUSTIN, Texas - With the NFL Combine wrapped up, scouts, coaches and managers around the league will now turn their attention to college Pro Days to see how future draft picks measure out and test.
For athletes who’d like to have performed better at the Combine and for those who didn’t go to the Combine at all, these individual Pro Days allow college standouts another opportunity to demonstrate what they can bring to the table for a professional club.
The DallasCowboys.com staff will travel around the Dallas area the next few weeks leading into the NFL Draft to see first-hand how some of the local athletes looked in person.
Today, Bryan Broaddus continues his Pro Day visits at The University of Texas.
Top Picks: S Kenny Vaccaro, WR Marquise Goodwin, DE Alex Okafor.
Cowboys Representation: The Cowboys had no position coaches in attendance for the workout but national scout Walter Juliff and area scout Sam Garza was there.
Big Issue: Mack Brown and his squad were coming off a disappointing season in the Big 12 but a victory over Oregon State in the Alamo Bowl allowed the players and staff to feel a little better going into the offseason. To the scouts that visited Austin in the fall, it wasn't the most talented senior class but two players really stood out in safety Kenny Vacarro and defensive end Alex Okafor. The big issue coming into this pro day was would the scouts be able to see Vacarro run a 40 yard dash that was better than the 4.63 that he had at the scouting combine last month.
But early in the morning, Texas strength coach Mike Maddon told all assembled that Vacarro still was working through a hip flexor injury and he would only do position drills. After the workout Vacarro told us that he had trained in the high 4.4s to low 4.5s and all you would have to do is watch the film to see that.
Who Stood Out: The player for the Longhorns that stood out numbers wise was running back D.J. Monroe who was a four year letterman. Monroe was an All-American in track here at Texas and it showed in his 40 times with a 4.38 and 4.41. At only 5-7, 175 he did bench press an impressive 225, 15 times. Wide receiver Marquise Goodwin stood on the majority of his Combine numbers but did wow the scouts with a 42" vertical jump. Defensive end Alex Okafor only managed to run his 40s in 4.91 and 4.95. When it came to the workout with the coaches, Okafor was much better in drills with the Bengals and Lions. Those coaches worked him as a defensive end while the Steelers worked him at linebacker. It was very clear to me during the drills that he is a much better fit as an end than linebacker. He was smooth going through the bags and sharpening the edge as a rusher. As a linebacker, he wasn't as smooth and his reactions he tended to labor and struggle. Goodwin had one drop while he ran several different combinations of routes. Can see there are times that he will fight the ball and tends to body catch. He was much better when Vince Young was able to lead him down the field. Kenny Vacarro did a nice job as Cowboys former defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer put him through drills. Vacarro's hip held up fine as Zimmer was able to turn him with ease and you did see some explosive burst. He doesn't have a quick footed pedal but once you ask him to react, he can make things happen. He wasn't natural catching the ball but you didn't see him fighting the ball either. Had a couple of reps where you did see him high point catch the ball. Is really a compact built player at 6, 217. Has quick feet despite the fact that his feet look big for a defensive back.
Possible Cowboys Fits: There is no doubt there is a Cowboys interest in Kenny Vacarro because the position that he plays. Secondary coach Jerome Henderson was in town last week to work him out but this hip flexor injury slowed up his workout and Henderson was only able to get three drills out of him before they had to shut it down. Today he did a nice job of fighting through the injury and showing scouts what he could do movement wise but you can see this on tape as well. Okafor at 262 would be more of a fit as a weak side defensive end but what I saw with him coming off the ball told him that he does have the explosive quickness to play in this scheme. If you add weight to him, you could maybe put him on that strong side which is what he played in college. He does have a frame to add weight and not lose some of his quickness. He told us after the workout that he could play as a 3-4 outside linebacker but I wouldn't do that.
What They Said:
Kenny Vacarro said that he would like to be the first safety off the board no matter if it was the first or second round.
Mack Brown called Vacarro "A bust-ass, passionate football player that loves the game." Brown also added, he has never been in trouble and the time he was taken in, it was because he was defending a teammate and that the staff had no problems with.
Brown on Okafor: "He is smart, and the type of player that can do it all."