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What we learned about defensive prospects at pro day-workouts

The pro-day circuit ran a little longer than usual thanks to the 2014 NFL Draft being moved back a few weeks but that only meant more time for teams to get a look at potential picks around the country. With most of the school-scheduled pro days wrapped up, College Football 24/7 decided to take a look back at the prospects who really helped -- or hurt -- their draft stock.

On Thursday we highlighted offensive players -- here are a few standouts at each defensive position and what we learned about them.

Defensive tackle

Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh:Donald was already considered a likely first-rounder, but he blew up at the NFL Scouting Combine to jump into the conversation as a potential top-15 pick. His pro day solidified his status and likely alleviated any concerns teams might have about what he lacks in size.

Khyri Thornton, Southern Miss:One of the few NFL prospects on the Golden Eagles' roster the past two years, Thornton had a great workout for scouts that might have moved him from a third-day selection (Rounds 4-7) to somebody that goes at the end of the second day (Rounds 2-3).

Defensive end

Demarcus Lawrence, Boise State:There aren't many pass rushers who can get after the quarterback like Lawrence available this year, and he showed he can be a fit in any base defense by going through linebacker drills at the Broncos' pro day. It's possible he will even sneak into the first round as teams look to grab him before the second day starts.

Dee Ford, Auburn:Ford was unable to work out at the NFL Scouting Combine so his pro day offered all 32 teams a chance to see him participate in drills. He tested well, including a 4.59 40-yard dash, and had a good day running through end and linebacker drills.

Michael Sam, Missouri:His stock slipped considerably with a disappointing showing at the combine, but he improved his 40-yard dash time by nearly two-tenths of a second to 4.71 at his pro day. He didn't have a super workout at linebacker but looked good enough to alleviate some concerns about him.

Jeremiah Attaochu, Georgia Tech:Another player who didn't workout at the combine, Attaochu was the star attraction at Georgia Tech's pro day and ran a great 40 time of 4.57 seconds at 249 pounds. In addition to showing off his speed, he ran through a number of drills that showed how well he could move in space.


Ryan Shazier, Ohio State:He ran a blazing 40-yard dash that some scouts had in the 4.3 range. It helped fuel his rise from fringe first-rounder to likely first-rounder.

Anthony Barr, UCLA:A subpar 40 time at the combine caused a few folks to move him down on the board, but he bounced back with a blazing 40 in Westwood. There were some concerns the reported time of 4.44 seconds was inaccurate, but the official times came back at 4.41 and 4.49 seconds on his two runs. Most agreed that Barr looked plenty fast to be a top-12 pick.

Terrance Bullitt, Texas Tech:He had a good day despite windy conditions at the Red Raiders' pro day in early March, but he really got onto the radar of teams thanks to his performances at NFL Regional Scouting Combines.

Carl Bradford, Arizona State:It seemed like Bradford was always overshadowed by others while playing for the Sun Devils but he stated his case to be a second-day pick at his pro day. He hit 4.68 on the stopwatch in the 40 and had a good positional drill workout.

Max Bullough, Michigan State:With so many teams in to see star CB Darqueze Dennard, Bullough had a very good day, turning heads for the first time since he was suspended for the Rose Bowl. He turned in a solid 4.70 time in the 40, but really shined in the short shuttle, three-cone and on-field drills.

Jordan Tripp, Montana:Fellow linebacker Brock Coyle also had a good pro day, but Tripp solidified himself as a second-day pick with a great workout while only doing position drills.


Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech:Bradley Roby is one of the top risers at the cornerback position, but Fuller has been making waves with teams ever since he looked very fluid at Tech's pro day in late March.

Jason Verrett, TCU: Verrett's size (5-foot-9, 189 pounds) has always been a concern for some teams, but he helped his case by looking very smooth during drills at his pro day. He's bulked up since the end of the season and went through shoulder surgery after the workout in order to be ready for camp.

Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State:Trying to create separation from other top-ranked corners, Gilbert showed up and impressed at OSU's pro day. He stood on most of his numbers from the combine but nailed the on-field workout to solidify himself as a possible top-10 pick.

Phillip Gaines, Rice:Although he gets overshadowed by some bigger names, Gaines is moving up boards to the point where he could be a second-day pick. He looked very sharp during drills but didn't do much testing.

Lamarcus Joyner, Florida State:He's been knocked for his size (5-foot-8, 184 pounds), but wowed those in attendance at Florida State's pro day with his ability to make cuts and his overall quickness. It wasn't an A-plus workout (he dropped some passes) but he did impress with his quick hips and ability to cover.


Jimmie Ward, Northern Illinois:Ward did his best to insert himself into the conversation as one of the top safeties in the draft with a top-notch workout in front of most of the league. It was likely the last time teams were able to get an up-close look at Ward in a workout before the draft -- he had surgery after the event.

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama:He was already one of the top two safeties in the draft, but likely nailed down being the first taken with his workout in Tuscaloosa. Several scouts raved about Clinton-Dix's workout to NFL Media draft analyst Mike Mayock afterward.

Daniel Sorensen, BYU:He's not an upper-tier prospect, but he improved his stock in front of scouts by possibly moving into the fourth round with a good day at BYU. In addition to putting up some good testing numbers, he displayed good ball skills and moved well during drills.

*Follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter **@BryanDFischer.*

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