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DL coaches from three NFL teams check out Illinois' Ward


Representatives from 32 NFL teams -- including defensive line coaches from the Cincinnati Bengals, Houston Texans and New England Patriots -- were on hand for the first pro day run by new Illinois coach Lovie Smith on Thursday.

There were nine prospects who participated in the pro day, which was held indoors and run on FieldTurf.

Take a look at the top 10 players from Illinois to play in the NFL.

Defensive end Jihad Ward -- 6-foot-5 1/4, 298 pounds -- ran the 40-yard dash in 5.07 and 5.1 seconds. He had a 28-inch vertical jump and 9-foot-2 broad jump. He did the 20-yard short shuttle in 4.86 seconds and the three-cone drill in 7.3 seconds. He performed 22 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press. Ward had a good pro day workout, moving very well in the position drills. He is just learning to play football. Ward was a wide receiver and safety in high school, then played two years at Globe Institute of Technology in Manhattan, before playing his final two seasons of college ball at Illinois. Ward has a fascinating backstory, and is very raw as a football player and has room to grow (for a sense of his athleticism, check out this Instagram post of him dunking).

Running back Josh Ferguson -- 5-9 5/8, 196 -- stood on his numbers from the NFL Scouting Combine. He had a very good positional workout, and caught the ball well and showed good hands in his positional drills.

Wide reeciver Geronimo Allison -- 6-0 3/4, 202 -- ran the 40 in 4.58 and 4.6 seconds. He had a three-cone drill time of 7.1 seconds and had a 34 1/2-inch vertical jump. Allison caught the ball well and showed soft hands in the positional drills. What works against Allison is he is among a great number of receivers in the 2016 NFL Draft class who runs the 40 in the 4.55-4.6 range.

Offensive guard Ted Karras -- 6-3 3/4, 307 -- ran the 40 in 5.29 and 5.28 seconds. He had a 26 1/2-inch vertical jump and 8-foot-10 broad jump. He did the short shuttle in 4.71 seconds and the three-cone drill in 8.13 seconds. He performed 32 reps on the bench. Detroit Lions legend Alex Karras is Ted's great uncle.

Follow Gil Brandt on Twitter @Gil_Brandt.



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