All 32 NFL franchises were represented at Stanford's pro day. Oakland Raiders Head Coach Jack Del Rio and General Manager Reggie McKenzie were both tremendously impressed by the skills of the Cardinal athletes. Also in attendance were former Stanford coaches Pep Hamilton of the Indianapolis Colts and Jason Tarver of the San Francisco 49ers as both former coaches aided in running several of the drills on the field.
Here are three athletes that stood out during the event:
Breakout Star: James Vaughters, Outside Linebacker
To say that James Vaughters came into the event as an "under the radar" talent was a tremendous understatement. Vaughters wowed the crowd with his impressive strength, and his superb athletic ability. Vaughters was able to clear 35 reps on the 225lb bench press event, and ran a stellar 4.78 40-yard dash. Several scouts around the event all marveled at how a player with this much athletic prowess was not invited to the National Combine. Head Coach David Shaw added, "James is a great athlete, and just needed the opportunity to showcase his talent." Several scouts made noise that Vaughters went from a late day 3 selection or Free Agent pick up, to an early day 3 selection more than likely.
Most Impressive Performance: Ty Montgomery, Wide Receiver
The best way to describe Ty Montgomery in two words is easy: physical specimen. Montgomery came into the Pro Day event with a lot to prove after his showing at the National Combine was less than up to expectations. Montgomery has always been known to have blazing speed on the field, but his times in Indianapolis did not reflect his ability. Montgomery put all of those inquiries to rest on Thursday as he posted an amazing 4.38 40-yard dash, and showed tremendous receiving skills during the on field drills. In speaking with representatives from Montgomery's camp, they had intimated that he was a little heavier going into the combine with the amount of muscle he had put on, and decided that he needed to be a little leaner coming into Pro Day. Montgomery had the crowd on their feet with his showing, and many scouts were saying that Montgomery would be a force at the next level.
Biggest Surprise: Lee Ward, Fullback
On Thursday, scouts were taken back to old school, smash mouth football with the performance of Fullback Lee Ward. Several scouts described Ward as a "cannonball" that once in motion, can create some serious damage. Ward performed well in agility drills, ran a respectable 4.89 40-yard dash, and blew the scouts away with his 35 reps on the 225lb bench bar. The Fullback position is not as highly utilized in the NFL as in years past; but Ward showed that he has the strength and athleticism that every lead Running Back would love to have blocking for them. Ward may not be drafted, but do not be shocked to see him crack an NFL roster in August.
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