Connecticut hosts NFL scouts in advance of draft
Updated: March 27, 2013.
STORRS, Conn. (AP) — Scouts and coaches from 29 NFL teams showed up at
the University of Connecticut Wednesday for the school's annual pro day
workouts in advance of next month's draft.
Fourteen Huskies participated in drills such as the 40-yard dash, the
vertical jump and the bench press. But many of those watching were
keyed in on four players who impressed at last month's NFL combine in
Defensive end Trevardo Williams, linebacker Sio Moore and cornerbacks
Dwayne Gratz and Blidi Wreh-Wilson are all expected to go in the first
Wreh-Wilson was the only one of the four to run a 40-yard dash
Wednesday, completing it in a hand-timed 4.34 seconds, much better than
the 4.58 he ran last month.
"I really wanted to put a stamp on it," Wreh-Wilson said. "Show them
how fast I really am, show them how athletic I really am, so there's no
Williams ran the 40 in 4.57 seconds in Indianapolis, the best time of
any defensive lineman at the combine. But at 6-foot-2, 245 pounds, he's
projected as a linebacker at the next level and did position drills on
Wednesday at that spot, despite being hampered by an injured right
He said it was nerve racking to look up and see people such as New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick watching him.
"I'm like, 'Oh my God, put up your best effort Trevardo, come on,'" he
The workouts also gave the scouts a chance to see some Huskies who were
not invited to Indianapolis. Defensive tackle Ryan Wirth, wide receiver
and return specialist Nick Williams, and tight end Ryan Griffin all put
up some impressive numbers.
Wirth, who bench-pressed 225 pounds 33 times, had a vertical leap of
33½ inches and ran a 4.88 hand-timed 40, said he's just hoping one team
will see him as a good fit.
"That's out of my control, that's up to one of the 32 teams," he said.
"I know if I end up somewhere, they will get 100 percent of me."
Moore ran a 4.65 40-yard dash and did 29 bench press repetitions in
Indianapolis. He also ranked near the top at his position in the
vertical jump, broad jump and several other drills.
Gratz did more bench press repetitions, 22, than any other cornerback
at the combine. But he and Moore did nothing but position drills
Moore said that after the combine and playing in two all-star games, he
thinks teams know he can play as well as any other linebacker in the
country. His numbers compare favorably to players such as Manti Te'o,
who ran 4.82 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the combine in Indianapolis
and 4.69 at Notre Dame's pro day.
"I can't be confident depending on them," Moore said. "I'm confident
depending on me, because of what I do. I knew when I stepped on the
field that no matter what, I'm going to be one of the best guys on the
field. It's not about, well he went (to school) here and he went here."
Connecticut has had 11 players drafted over the last four years, and 13
were on NFL rosters last season, including defensive backs Tyvon Branch, Darius Butler, and Robert McClain.
"Cornerback U," Wreh-Wilson said. "Every year for the past five or six
years, there's been a corner."
UConn coach Paul Pasqualoni said all the former Huskies approached the
pro day as the biggest job interview of their lives and came in
prepared. He said that reflected well on the school and his staff.
"Hopefully it illustrates that we are working at football here at a
fairly high level," he said. "We hope that people in football ...
regard UConn as a place where they are pretty serious and pretty
committed to doing this thing and doing it the right way."