Without an invitation to the NFL Scouting Combine earlier this month in Indianapolis, and no offers to play in a major college football all-star game, former Boise State wide receiver Thomas Sperbeck wanted to make the most of pro day.
The Broncos’ all-time leading receiver did just that Thursday, joining 11 other players from last season who worked out for NFL and CFL scouts on campus.
Sperbeck posted the top 40-yard dash time with an unofficial 4.47 seconds, a mark that would have been among the top 20 at the combine.
“I hit most of the times I wanted to get,” Sperbeck said. “... I think I did good, think everyone looked good out here. It was very important (for me). Most of the drills, you only get one shot at it, so you can’t slip or anything.”
Boise State reported that 30 scouts, coaches or personnel were in attendance, representing 26 NFL teams and two CFL teams. Sperbeck — who finished his career with 3,601 yards, 538 more than anyone else ever at Boise State — could be a fringe draft prospect next month or a high-priority undrafted free agent. His marks in the 20-yard shuttle, 60-yard shuttle and 3-cone drill were also tops Thursday.
“Hopefully someone gives me a shot and I’ll be able to prove I’m good enough to stay on the team,” Sperbeck said. “I think especially today I surprised some people with my times.”
Only two Boise State players were invited to the combine — linebacker Tanner Vallejo and running back Jeremy McNichols — and both performed well, finishing in the top 10 at their positions in the 40, vertical and broad jumps. Vallejo did not take part in those events Thursday, but did do everything else.
Vallejo did not perform the bench press in Indianapolis, but did at pro day, producing 19 repetitions on the 225-pound lift. He had been cleared just before the combine after November wrist surgery. His goal was 20, but he was happy with it since he had only benched a few times in recent weeks.
“I think I’m helping myself with these workouts and all that, just trying to make one team fall in love with me and take the shot,” Vallejo said.
In the coming weeks before the draft, which begins April 27, Vallejo said he has workouts lined up with the Falcons and Panthers.
“I’m feeling good right now. This is the best shape I’ve ever been in. ... I can only imagine once I get pads on how I’ll be playing,” he said.
Sitting on the sidelines, watching the likes of Sperbeck and Vallejo go through their drills, McNichols was very much at peace. His combine showing was one of the strongest among running backs, and he had surgery earlier this month to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder which he played with all last season. He joked that, “I think I could’ve done better with a healthy shoulder, which is kind of crazy.”
“I’m glad I did good at the combine, or I probably would’ve been dreading not being able to work out today,” McNichols said.
McNichols said he will be 100 percent by the time training camps start in July. He has a few teams that will work him out, but declined to say which ones. He said there is not much concern about his shoulder because it is expected to be healed by the preseason and that being part of one of the deepest running back classes in nearly 20 years has only motivated him more.
“I’m not nervous at all. Everything’s out there: my resume’s out there, my film’s out there, my times are out there. There’s nothing else for me to stress about,” McNichols said. “Everything is out of my hands at this point.”
NEWS AND NOTES
Offensive lineman Mario Yakoo said he has a workout with the Chargers on April 13. ... Safety Chanceller James checked in at 6-foot-2, 215 pounds and ran the 40 in 4.54 seconds while also putting up 21 reps in the bench press. Wide receiver Chaz Anderson had a 35.5-inch vertical and also ran a 4.54. ... Kicker Tyler Rausa and punter Sean Wale initially planned to work out on the Albertsons Stadium turf, but inclement weather forced them indoors.
Boise State pro day results
Unofficial marks provided by Boise State
40-yard dash (top time first): WR Thomas Sperbeck, 4.47 seconds; CB Raymond Ford and CB Jonathan Moxey, 4.53; WR Chaz Anderson and S Chanceller James, 4.54; LB Ben Weaver, 4.8; DE Sam McCaskill, 4.85; OL Travis Averill, 5.31; OL Mario Yakoo, 5.34.
60-yard shuttle (alphabetical): Anderson 11.3 seconds; Ford 11.48; James 11.68; McCaskill 11.77; Moxey 11.39; Sperbeck, 11.06; Vallejo 12.12; Weaver 11.62.
Pro agility: Anderson 4.15 seconds; Averill 4.6; Ford 4.09; James 4.22; McCaskill 4.28; Moxey 4.11; Sperbeck 4.03; Vallejo 4.22; Weaver 4.16; Yakoo 4.65.
L-drill: Anderson 6.95 seconds; Averill 7.61; Ford 6.98; James 7.00; McCaskill 7.28; Moxey 6.88; Sperbeck 6.73; Weaver 7.06; Yakoo 7.81
Vertical jump: Anderson 35.5 inches; Averill 24.5; Ford 32.5; James 31; McCaskill 33.5; Moxey 33; Sperbeck 32; Weaver 29.5; Yakoo 25
Broad jump: Anderson 9-foot-11; Averill 8-4; Ford 9-11; James 10-1; McCaskill 9-10; Moxey 10-1; Sperbeck 9-4; Weaver 9-1; Yakoo 8-4
Bench press (225 pounds): Anderson 19 reps; Averill 23; Ford 4; James 21; McCaskill 14; Moxey 17; Sperbeck 10; Vallejo 19; Weaver 16; Yakoo 18.