Eight former Boise State football players try to impress scouts on pro day

The Colts and head coach Chuck Pagano keeping a close eye on Demarcus Lawrence.

ccripe@idahostatesman.comMarch 18, 2014 

— The Broncos' top NFL prospect and their most noteworthy prospect each capitalized on the chance to perform in front of scouts Monday at the Caven-Williams Sports Complex.

Defensive end Demarcus Lawrence, who expects to play outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme, vastly improved his time in the 40-yard dash and endured a grueling workout staged by the obviously interested Indianapolis Colts at Boise State's annual pro day.

Quarterback Joe Southwick, who missed most of the final seven games of his career because of a broken ankle and bowl suspension, proved he's healthy and claimed increased velocity from a tweak to his throwing mechanics.

They were among eight of last year's seniors who worked out in front of representatives of 31 NFL and two Canadian Football League teams, including Colts head coach Chuck Pagano and Chargers defensive coordinator John Pagano.

Lawrence left Boise State a year early after receiving an NFL evaluation that projected he would land in the first through third rounds.

"It's always been a childhood dream, and now the time is coming," he said, "so it's crazy right now."

Lawrence wanted to show he could run better than he did last month at the NFL Combine. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.8 seconds there; he shaved that time down to 4.65 Monday.

Lawrence also needed to demonstrate he could handle the lateral movements and pass drops required of linebackers. He was disappointed he dropped some passes, but he moved reasonably well through the drills directed by Colts linebackers coach Jeff FitzGerald.

Lawrence also showed quickness in the 60-yard shuttle, which he didn't run at the combine.

Southwick competed in the public eye for the first time since Nov. 30, when he played the first series on senior day and threw a touchdown pass. He was expected to play extensively in the Hawaii Bowl but was sent home for a team rules violation.

Between the injury, sustained on the first snap Oct. 19 against Nevada, and the suspension, he fell off the NFL radar.

"We were watching film the other day - my last two games, I was starting to take off," Southwick said. "Fresno, we lost by a point, I still had an outstanding game. Southern Miss, had a great game. And Utah State, even though we had two picks, was by far my best game of the year - by far. And then I felt really good going against Nevada, too. I felt like we were going to keep climbing, I felt like the offense was really starting to jell and click."

Instead, he broke the lower portion of his fibula and needed surgery. He finished with a 17-4 career record as a starting quarterback (counting his two brief appearances in wins) and a career completion rate of 69.4 percent, second only to Kellen Moore (69.7) in school history.

But he also was at the helm for three games in which the Broncos failed to score an offensive touchdown (two in 2012, one in 2013) and went on KTVB during Hawaii Bowl week to say he was wrongfully accused of urinating from a hotel balcony.

He would not comment on the Hawaii incident Monday.

"I'm proud of what I did here," he said. " … Obviously last season was underachieving for multiple areas, but even my junior season, that was tough. We went 11-2 and that wasn't good enough for people. And I was really proud of it - first Mountain West championship, and we won a bowl game against a quality opponent (Washington), as we found out this past year. … It's unfortunate that it got cut short due to an injury, but that's life I guess."

Southwick didn't expect to put up flashy numbers in testing at pro day because he's still regaining his strength after the ankle surgery. He ran the 40 in 4.73.

But it was important for him to throw well to former teammates Geraldo Boldewijn and Aaron Burks. Southwick left with the impression a couple teams were interested in scheduling private workouts.

He prepared for pro day at home in the Bay Area, where he worked with a QB coach.

"Some scouts came to me and said, 'Wow, you were really popping the ball today. We didn't expect your arm strength to be like that.' Because that was a big question for me," Southwick said. "… I've always felt like I was an accurate quarterback, so I was trying to get more pop. By changing a few things in my throwing mechanics it just kind of came naturally."

NOTES: Burks ran the 40 in 4.46 and soared 40 inches in the vertical jump. Boldewijn ran 4.49, jumped 34. ... Charles Leno posted a 31.5 in the vertical and 9 feet, 4 inches in the broad. ... The other participants were center Matt Paradis, defensive tackle Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe and punter Trevor Harman.

Chadd Cripe: 377-6398, Twitter: @IDS_BroncoBeat

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