After another great season on the gridiron for the Oregon Ducks program, several players with pro potential have entered their name into the hat for the 2014 NFL draft.
Elite college players like receiver Josh Huff and defensive back Terrance Mitchell were out to improve on their numbers posted during the NFL Scouting Combine during the team's pro day at Oregon on Thursday.
But no player in this year's class from Oregon had more to prove during his pro day than De'Anthony Thomas. The speedy running back gave a lackluster performance at the combine and needed to impress scouts on Thursday afternoon.
Thomas spoke about the underwhelming performance and how he planned to turn things around at his pro day, via Tyson Alger of The Oregonian:
"I'm not even sure (what happened)," said Thomas of the combine time. "I went out there and ran. It was whatever. I knew I could do better and stuff like that." ...
The 40 is the only event Thomas plans on doing at Oregon's pro day and he wouldn't give any specifics for how fast he thinks he can run. It's got to be faster than 4.50, right?
"A lot faster," he said, quickly.
With that confidence going into the event, Thomas put on a show for the scouts and came away feeling much better about his draft stock.
As for the rest of the results, here's a look at a full breakdown for the Ducks' pro day.
Oregon Pro Day Recap
It might seem crazy to think that one workout can completely ruin a player's draft stock at the combine, but that was exactly the case for Thomas and the 40-yard dash results.
The 5'9", 174-pound back was known simply for his explosiveness off the snap and down the field in college. When he posted a slow time in Indianapolis, scouts and coaches questioned whether he had the speed needed to survive in the NFL.
Those thoughts were shattered on Thursday when Thomas put down a staggering time of 4.37 and 4.34 seconds unofficially in the 40-yard dash, as Rob Moseley of GoDucks.com noted:
Scouts here hand-clocked DAT between 4.37-4.41 on first 40 yard dash attempt. - BJ.— Rob Moseley (@DuckFootball) March 13, 2014
Second try on 40, DAT drops down to 4.34 unofficial time. - BJ.— Rob Moseley (@DuckFootball) March 13, 2014
While he said he would only participate in the 40, the Oregon back also did the broad jump and posted nearly identical numbers with a 123-inch leap, via Alger:
DeAnthony Thomas jumps 10-3 in the broad. pic.twitter.com/LUKCr0KTK9— Tyson Alger (@tysonalger) March 13, 2014
But the story of the day for Thomas was clearly the 40 time. Regardless of whether he did better or worse, it was going to be the most notable part of the Ducks' pro day.
Thankfully for Thomas, it was a good sign for the 21-year-old back. As if any more reassurance was needed that Thomas had recovered in the eyes of NFL scouts, Moseley provides all the results for Thomas and a snippet from one that was near him during the dash:
Unofficial top times from DAT - 40 yd dash, 4.39; 20 shuttle, 4.23; 3 cone, 6.95; 60 shuttle, 11.46.— Rob Moseley (@DuckFootball) March 13, 2014
Receivers have each made it through five routes with no drops. DAT made an impressive grab on a post route, snagging an overthrown ball. -BJ— Rob Moseley (@DuckFootball) March 13, 2014
Scout next to me on DAT's second 40 yard dash, "That's the Black Mamba we know". - BJ.— Rob Moseley (@DuckFootball) March 13, 2014
As for the other pro prospects in the crowded field at Oregon, Mitchell came in with a little swagger about the time he planned on posting, per Alger:
Terrance Mitchell just walked by at pro day "I'm about to go run this 4.4"— Tyson Alger (@tysonalger) March 13, 2014
That time would have been astounding for the cornerback who ran a 4.63 at the combine. Unfortunately, he posted a time of 4.56 unofficially, which could likely round back up to an official time around what he ran in Indy.
But with a chance to run again to improve upon that time, Mitchell decided not to do so due to a hamstring issue, per Alger.
Though his 40 time wasn't quite as impressive as he wanted it to be, Mitchell did fare better in the broad jump:
Terrance Mitchell with a 4-inch improvement in broad jump from combine.— Tyson Alger (@tysonalger) March 13, 2014
Aside from Thomas, one of the other biggest offensive weapons coming from the Oregon program this year is Josh Huff. The 5'11", 206-pound receiver had a good combine performance, but wanted to show off his skills one more time at his pro day.
Among the notable 40 times, Huff came out on top, according to Moseley:
Other unofficial times on first 40 tries: Huff, 4.43; Mitchell, 4.56; Patterson, 4.56; Hawkins, 4.67; Hart, 4.89 - BJ.— Rob Moseley (@DuckFootball) March 13, 2014
With quite a few other players putting up good times in several different drills, the stars certainly shined for the Ducks' class. Both Thomas and Huff improved on their showings at the combine and Mitchell even got better despite hamstring tightness.
Whether this actually improved their overall stock in scouts' and, most importantly, coaches' minds is yet to be seen. But with the numbers getting exponentially better for the Ducks' brightest stars, many of them could have their names called earlier in the draft thanks to strong showings.