Six weeks ago, it looked like Florida State would have two elite selections in April's NFL draft. Now, the Seminoles could boast their best class since 1997 when Peter Boulware, Walter Jones, Warrick Dunn and Reinard Wilson went in the first 14 picks.
After Thursday's pro day elevated the stock of cornerback Antonio Cromartie, FSU could be looking at another quartet of first-round picks – Cromartie, linebacker Ernie Sims, defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley and hybrid defensive end/linebacker Kamerion Wimbley. Such a promising batch stimulated a massive turnout, with every team in the NFL being represented by over 100 scouts, coaches and personnel men. Five head coaches made appearances, including the New York Giants' Tom Coughlin, Scott Linehan of the St. Louis Rams, Lovie Smith of the Chicago Bears, Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints and Romeo Crennel of the Cleveland Browns, who also sent general manager Phil Savage.
According to one personnel source on hand for the workouts, the Browns' full-blown representation was no accident.
"They (want) Bunkley," he said, referring to Cleveland's 12th overall pick. "If he's still on the board, he's their end (in the 3-4 scheme). If he's still on the board. I wouldn't be all that shocked if he came off earlier."
The personnel source also said the Browns have strong interest in Wimbley, who apparently would be converted to outside linebacker from his college position of defensive end. That likely won't come to fruition unless Wimbley unexpectedly slips to the second round – a scenario that doesn't seem plausible after he turned in another good showing.
The personnel source's other observations from Thursday:
- Cromartie – who came out early and likely would have been a top-10 pick in next year's draft with a healthy 2006 season – gained the most out of any player. He put up very good times in the 40-yard dash (4.40 seconds) and agility drills, and effectively placed himself in "the top four" cornerbacks in the draft. Cromartie also displayed his ability to field punts. The workout apparently helped to further dispel fears about a knee injury that robbed him of his junior season in 2005. He now could be selected as high as middle to late in the first round.
- Sims shined in drills designed to test his ability in pass coverage, and he ran another 4.50 40-yard dash, despite weighing in three pounds heavier (234) than at the combine. He could go as high as the middle of the first round.
- Bunkley stood on all of his numbers from the combine, but did go through cone and shuttle drills, posting the fastest times of any defensive tackle in this year's draft. Apparently, Bunkley's agility times were so good, they would have stacked up with this year's top defensive ends, too – despite Bunkley weighing 30 to 40 pounds more than many of those players.
- Wimbley also stood on his numbers from the combine, but showcased his flexibility by doing drills at both defensive end and linebacker. He showed the ability to change direction in pass coverage and was said to have a great deal of raw potential as a possible outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme.
- Antonio Cromartie
- Kamerion Wimbley
- Brodrick Bunkley