Posted: 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, March 26, 2013
By Nick Chiamardas
Today's pro days include: Iowa State, Louisiana Tech, McNeese State, North Carolina, North Carolina Central, Notre Dame, Southeastern Louisiana, and Texas.
Notre Dame and Texas lead the way today with star power but the small schools might offer more quality. Here are some guys to keep an eye on aside from the guys you hear about every day:
A.J. Klein, ILB, Iowa State: Klein was co-defensive player of the year in the BIG 12, a conference not notable for its defensive prowess. Klein ran better than most believed he could and at the combine in February posting a respectable 4.66 forty. Unfortunately, Klein sustained a knee injury during positional drills that precluded him from finishing the combine on a high note. Still his solid forty time and impressive collegiate stats have drawn intrigue. Today he'll be looking to finish what he started in February.
Quinton Patton, WR, Louisiana Tech: "The General", a nickname he earned thanks to sharing a last name with General George S. Patton, has really seen his stock increase since the conclusion of the college football season. Patton used a solid week of practice at the Senior Bowl and a strong combine performance to vault himself among the top five or six receivers in the draft. He's not a burner but is very quick off the line and an above-average route runner with very good ball skills. Patton could be looking at a late first round or early second round selection.
Sylvester Williams, DT, UNC: Williams checks in at 6-3, 313lbs and while he didn't play in a 3-4 scheme in college, I think he's versatile enough to fit with any scheme in the NFL. Williams only played two seasons at UNC after transferring from a junior college in 2011. During those two seasons, Williams accounted for 20.5 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks. He plays smart and is capable playing a 2-gap assignment as he did at UNC. Williams has been up and down draft boards from the first round to the third round. Should the 49ers continue to phase out the nose tackle, Williams could be a nice fit in nickel and pass rush situations.
Robert Alford, CB, Southeastern Louisiana: Alford is one of my favorite players in the draft. He has all the tools to be a shutdown corner in the league, he even returns kicks. Alford is another one that rode a great Senior Bowl performance and combine workout to the top of draft boards. He was a top-5 performer in his position group at the combine and posted an impressive 4.39 forty with a 40" vertical to boot. He doesn't have great height at only 5-10 but he's extremely physical off the line in press coverage and has shown enough technique and fluidity to stay with receivers in and out of breaks. He will need to improve on tackling if he's to fit with the Niners. I look for him to be selected in the mid to late second round.