Former Nebraska gridiron stars looking to boost their stock ahead of May's 2014 NFL draft participated in several workouts Thursday in front of scouts at the Cornhuskers' pro day.
Although there were several notable prospects on display, including Stan Jean-Baptiste and Spencer Long, the top storyline coming into the day centered on quarterback Taylor Martinez, whose draft stock took a major hit when he suffered a foot injury in 2013.
The injury forced him to miss nine games last season and was diagnosed as a "plantar plate tear of the second metatarsal phalangeal joint," according to Dr. Mark Quist via ESPN.com's Mitch Sherman.
With Martinez having had time to recover ahead of March, many were curious to see how we would fare, including Cornhuskers beat writer Grant Muessel:
As if expectations weren't high already, Martinez's father, Casey, made some bold statements at the start of the new year, per Sherman: "We think he's going to be 100 percent. He's going to be amazing for March 6. He's going to shock some people."
It remains to be seen whether Martinez "shocked" anyone, but he did look 100 percent healthy and comfortable while taking part in a variety of drills, including the broad jump, per Nebraska Football on Twitter:
According to Hail Varsity on Twitter, Martinez posted explosive times and distances across the board:
Martinez was able to show off his versatility and overall athleticism while competing against teammates.
Although scouts will be mainly concerned with Martinez's arm and ability to read defenses, his athleticism could potentially open up a new route to the NFL should he fail as a quarterback.
In addition to Martinez, a number of draft prospects were on hand to showcase their skills and athleticism. Although Long, one of the top guards available this year, was unable to participate in all the drills because of injury, he was able to post 28 reps on the bench press, according to Omaha.com's Sam McKewon.
Long weighed in at 316 pounds and will wait another month before working out in front of scouts. He'll hold a second workout on April 17, per McKewon.
Despite suffering a torn MCL last fall and undergoing an emergency appendectomy in January, Long is thankful for the opportunity in front of him, via McKewon:
I’ve had to to go through some adversity because of it. Kind of like ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. The point is: I still have an opportunity. I’m still thankful for that. I can keep coming out here and working hard.
Topflight defensive back Jean-Baptiste was able to help his stock Thursday as well, posting solid times in the 40-yard dash, per Nebraska reporter Chris Peters:
Jean-Baptiste recorded four interceptions last season and is projected to be the first Nebraska player off the board next May.
Defensive end Jason Ankrah stood out in the vertical jump, per Nebraska Football on Twitter.
The 6'3", 258-pound pass-rusher recorded 7.5 tackles for a loss, four sacks and two forced fumbles as a senior in 2013. ESPN Insider (paid subscription required) ranks Ankrah as the 57th-best defensive end available in 2014.
Defensive backs Mo Seisay and Drew Green both did their best to jump on the radar.
Neither player is a lock to wind up on an NFL roster next season but both have the potential to be late-round picks. Seisay definitely capitalized on his opportunity to win over a few teams.
The 2014 NFL draft is still more than two months away, but there's no doubt that Thursday's pro day in Lincoln impacted the stock for a handful of hopeful prospects.
The big names, including Martinez, Jean-Baptiste and Long all took advantage of their opportunity and have left scouts with plenty to consider between now and May.
Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter.
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