Even without a fully healed right knee, former UCLA linebacker Myles Jack has vaulted toward the top of many NFL teams' draft boards. It now appears that Jack might stay there without running a timed 40-yard dash for NFL clubs.
When Jack declined to run the 40 at UCLA's pro day two weeks ago, there was talk of him doing so at a personal pro day this Friday (April 1). On Tuesday, however, NFL Media learned that a second workout before a mass audience won't happen -- and that Jack quite likely will elect not to run a 40 before the draft (April 28-30).
"He's close, but he's not totally ready, and I'm not gonna let him go out there and run an average time," Jack's agent, John Thornton, said Tuesday. "He's going back to Indy for a medical recheck on April 14th and 15th, so he won't be doing anything before then. If there's time -- and if he can prepare the way he needs to prepare -- he might run for a specific team in a private workout. But I feel like most of them have seen what they need to see."
Numerous NFL front office and coaching sources agreed with Thornton's assessment that Jack, projected as a top-10 pick, would not be hurt by his failure to run a 40.
"I don't think it will affect anything," said the head coach of one team with a top-10 pick. "He's doing a ton of great movement stuff."
Said another team's top personnel executive: "It won't hurt him at all. He's so good it doesn't matter."
However, the general manager of another team with a top-10 selection cautioned, "It could hurt him. And if it's because he isn't 100 percent off a September scope, that brings another whole set of questions."
After tearing his meniscus during a late September practice only three games into his junior season, Jack, who underwent season-ending arthroscopic surgery, elected to end his college career and prepare for the pros -- a decision that was publicly questioned by Bruins coach Jim Mora, much to Jack's surprise.
At the time, Jack cited Gurley as an inspiration, and he's still hoping to emulate the former Georgia running back. Last year, despite the fact that Gurley -- coming off a torn ACL suffered in November of his junior season -- did not run the 40 or participate in other drills, the Rams selected him 10th overall. In February, Gurley was voted the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Thornton, who estimated that Jack was "80 percent" at the Bruins' pro day earlier this month, said the versatile linebacker insisted on participating in the event.
"He was upset he couldn't compete at the combine, and if I hadn't let him get out there for his pro day, he would've been going crazy," Thornton said of Jack, who played inside and outside linebacker, cornerback, safety and running back during his collegiate career. "So we basically showed teams, 'Here's Myles Jack at 80 percent.'
"The main issue was fatigue. He did linebacker drills, and then he started doing defensive back drills, too. I had GMs texting me, 'What is he doing? Stop. He's shown enough. We want him healthy.'"
Jack registered a 40-inch vertical jump and a 10-foot-4 broad jump at the UCLA pro day, marks that Thornton believes were not indicative of his client's talents. "Fully healthy, I would expect him to run a 40 in the high 4.4/low 4.5 range," Thornton said of the 6-1, 245-pounder.
Jack, who has been training with Bills running back LeSean McCoy, Cardinals defensive back Tyrann Mathieu and others at the Fischer Institute in the Phoenix area, has conducted private workouts for three teams. He is scheduled to visit five teams between Wednesday and the medical recheck in mid-April, and Thornton said other workouts or visits are possible in the latter part of the month.
"The knee is structurally fine -- he got cleared fully on March 7," Thornton said. "I think he's about 85-90 percent right now, and I'm telling teams, 'My goal is to have him at 100 percent for the first (rookie) minicamp.' He's trying to get his explosion back, but in the meantime he's showing everybody what they want to see."
And if a certain team, or teams, insists upon seeing him run the 40 during the latter half of April?
"If we have time to do it, we'll do it," Thornton said. "But if he's flying around and not able to train for it, then it probably won't happen."