Nutter Field House on Wednesday wasn't quite as packed as it was last spring, when hordes of NFL personnel gathered to get an up-close look at a University of Kentucky senior class that included six players currently on NFL rosters.
But there were still representatives from 18 teams looking at the 2008 and 2009 senior classes.
The highest-ranked Wildcat on draft boards is defensive tackle Myron Pryor. Pryor chose not to run the 40-yard dash at Pro Day after running a 5.01 at the NFL Combine last month, but he did lift weights and do position drills. Pryor said he's projected as a middle-round pick with the potential to go as high as the third round.
Pryor says he boosted his stock at the Combine.
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"I went up there focused and had a mind-set that I was better than anybody else out there," he said. "The main thing I'm working on now is getting in shape. The rest of it I think I have pretty much down."
Each scout had his own stopwatch, so it was hard to pin down official times on the 40. Cornerback David Jones posted the best time among the 2008 seniors, clocking a 4.34. Tailback Alfonso Smith was the fastest junior in 4.27, consistent with his previous times in the 4.2 range.
Safety Marcus McClinton said he ran it in a shade under 4.5, which is considered a good time for his position. McClinton hopes to be a late-round pick.
Several other Wildcats have an opportunity to become late-round selections or free-agent picks, including linebacker Johnny Williams, who ran in the high-4.6 to low-4.7 range. Other seniors who worked out included offensive lineman Garry Williams, a three-year starter at left tackle, and Liberty Bowl hero Ventrell Jenkins.
UK Coach Rich Brooks pointed out that linebacker Wesley Woodyard became an impact player with the Denver Broncos after signing as an undrafted free agent.
"I think a lot of people will be surprised, when draft day comes around and free agents are signed, how many of these guys are going to get an opportunity," he said.
Scouts were also eager to look at three UK juniors who had considered entering the NFL Draft: defensive end Jeremy Jarmon, cornerback Trevard Lindley and linebacker Micah Johnson.
Jarmon ran in the 4.7 range, a good time by defensive end standards. Lindley was timed in the neighborhood of 4.5, although he did stumble out of the gate on one of his runs. Johnson did not run after straining his back last week. He will be ready for the start of spring practice on April 1. Brooks said Jarmon, Lindley and Johnson, along with junior defensive tackle Corey Peters, should give the Cats a strong 2009 draft class.
"Corey will definitely be in the conversation in next year's draft," Brooks said. "He's a big guy that plays at a very high level and can run. He's only going to continue to get better."