NFL hopefuls work to improve Pro Combine times

For eight graduating Razorbacks 2016 seniors Wednesday’s Pro Day at Arkansas’ Walker Indoor Training Center marked the chance to improve on their Pro Combine times.

And for seniors like receiver Dominic Reed of Camden, Wednesday was their personal Combine trying to catch the attention of the NFL hierarchy who hadn’t invited them to Indianapolis.

Receivers Drew Morgan of Greenwood and Keon Hatcher of Owasso, Okla.; tight end Jeremy Sprinkle of White Hall, middle linebacker Brooks Ellis of Fayetteville; offensive tackle Dan Skipper, Arvada, Colo.; defensive linemen Deatrich Wise of Carrollton, Texas and Jeremiah Ledbetter of Orlando, Fla. and punter Toby Baker of Memphis were the Combine veterans on hand Wednesday while receivers Cody Hollister and Reed cornerbacks Jared Collins and D.J. Dean, linebacker Josh Williams, defensive linemen JaMichael Winston, and Taiwan Johnson, fullback Kody Walker, place-kicker Adam McFain of Greenwood and deep snapper/holder Matt Emrich of El Dorado auditioned without the benefit of Combine experience.

Reed would have been a Combine invite in 2015 had he been a senior catching 28 passes for 535 yards and 6 touchdowns instead of off his 16 catches for 255 yards and 2 touchdowns for 2016.

“ I feel this was very, very important,” Reed asserted of making an impression Wednesday.   “A lot of people were telling me that but I  already knew that from my season not going as well as I wanted it to.   So I felt like it was very important.”

Surely Reed jumped out at the scouts with his 40-inch vertical leap Wednesday.

“I feel like did pretty good in my jumping and my running,” Reed said. “My broad jump was 11-4 and my vertical was 40. I feel like I’m a little faster than I ran today. I want to say I ran a 4.37 or something like that. I feel like I messed up on my start a little bit.

The first time I know I did.  I bounced back a little faster on the second one.”

The scouts already know Reed can run. It’s him running the routes assigned that  they question.

“I feel like I did way better on my route running,” Reed said. “I attacked everything and I felt good about it. I did pretty good.”

It helped having Brandon Allen, now a NFL backup quarterback with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Wednesday throwing for Arkansas’ Pro Day receivers, stretching Reed out to catch a long bomb like their throw and catch days when Brandon quarterbacked the Razorbacks in 2015.

“ Yeah, I had a feeling he was going to do that,” Reed said of the deep ball that Allen threw Wednesday which Reed caught spectacularly.   “It was good for me. Just to show everybody I could go get the ball, attack the ball.”

Sprinkle, 6-6, 250, has a great frame and successive two great seasons both as a blocker and especially a receiver catching 27 passes for 389 yards and 6 touchdowns in 2015 and 33 catches for 380 yards and 4 touchdowns in 2016 but has had to prove he’s learned from his suspension prior to Arkansas’ Belk Bowl loss to Virginia Tech after caught taking more than the free clothes the Belk Department store in Charlotte, N.C. allotted the Razorbacks and Hokies.