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April 2, 2008The stars were out at Cromwell Field on Wednesday for the USC Pro Day. Several elite Trojan athletes lifted weights, jumped, ran and did position drills trying to impress a hoard of NFL scouts.
The Trojans have had five overall No. 1 selections in the NFL Draft, the most of any school. While they are unlikely to add to that total this season, a handful of former USC players have an excellent shot of being selected in the first round.
Right at the top is defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis. He weighed in at 298 pounds, about 11 pounds lighter than he was at the NFL Combine. He also improved his 40 time from 5.25 to around a 5-flat and lifted 225 pounds on the bench press 36 times.
Ellis looked like he could handle just about everything, but was thrown a loop by defensive line coach Tim Krumrie. Krumrie is known for two things. One is having his leg broken in the Super Bowl playing for the Bengals. The other is his hand-jive-type Krumrie drill to test the will and determination of defensive linemen.
"I didn't know that one was coming," Ellis said about the drill. "You see that in film and stuff, but you're never quite ready for that. That drill is a doozy. Yeah, prepare for that one because I'm still tired right now, and it was five minutes ago."
Ellis' biggest competition at his position is LSU's Glenn Dorsey and Ellis has been keeping his eye on him.
"Yeah, I've been watching Dorsey," he said. "He's been doing some good things also. I feel like he had a good workout on his day. Whenever he does something, it's just the natural competitor in me that wants to do better or even beat his number.
"He's a great guy. I had some time to sit down and talk with him at the awards ceremonies in Indianapolis. He's a stand-up guy, and he does a lot of great things, but the competitor in me always wants to beat that guy.
"The better he does, the better I'm gonna try to do, always."
Ellis has been projected anywhere from No. 2 to No. 10 in the draft. Some have speculated that the Oakland Raiders would snatch him up at the No. 4 spot.
"That would make me feel pretty good," Ellis said about going to Lane Kiffin's Raiders. "They've got the fourth pick, they're right there in Northern California. That's a hop, a skip and a jump from home. They're a team I feel like I can help. Warren Sapp just retired - I would love to fill that position."
Quarterback John David Booty attended Pro Day but decided to keep all of his times from the combine. He did participate in position drills and looked good, throwing to some former Trojans and even a former Bruin.
"I've got Jason Mitchell, who used to be a senior here," Booty said about his group of receivers. "I've also got Freddie Mitchell, who played for the Eagles, and of course Fred Davis."
Freddie Mitchell may have played across town, but he made the best catch for Booty on Wednesday. He hauled in deep pass down the middle after an all-out dive.
Since Booty didn't run, he did have a chance to check out some of his teammates.
"I felt Fred really helped himself out today," he said. "Chauncey and Keith, everything they did, especially Keith who had that vertical inside, the 42-inch vertical or something like that, which you don't hear of except for DBs and receivers. To see a linebacker do that, now that's pretty special."
Rivers jumped 38-inches on his first attempt, then pretty much jumped out of the gym, hitting the top rung of the measuring device. Combined with his 4.51 40-yard dash and most feel he will now be a top-15 pick.
"Chauncey was unable to do stuff at the combine (he not participate due to injury) and then came out here and proved everybody wrong," Booty said. "He did nothing but help himself today."
Washington ran a 4.35 40-yard dash, though some scouts clocked him around 4.4. He showed great breakaway speed but struggled a bit in the cone/shuttle drills that show change of direction.
The talent level taking part was spectacular, but the crowd was much smaller because of an NCAA rule that forced USC to close the event to the public.
"Obviously, you can tell the crowds aren't as big," Booty said. "If there were all first round guys, then this place would be packed if they allowed people to come.
"It's a good thing that it's this way. Sometimes it got a little too hectic, too many people around, so it's a good thing I think having it this way."
Pro Day Notes:
USC Pro Day Highlight Video