MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Having worked through the scrutiny of Senior Bowl week and the full-fledged cavity search that was the NFL combine, running back Charles Sims was prepared for his latest pre-draft testing at West Virginia’s pro day.
“It was like an SAT,” he said Friday after running through drills for NFL scouts on campus.
“It’s a long process, but you’ve just got to enjoy it. I think I performed my best.”
Mock drafts project Sims to be a second- to fifth-round pick. His 4.48 combine time in the 40-yard dash ranked among the upper half of running backs, many of whom don’t posses his pass-catching skills.
“You want to be able to stay on the field all three downs,” said Sims, who said his transfer year at West Virginia helped his draft status despite the team’s losing record. “It showed me being able to be versatile, catching the ball out of the backfield, lining up as a receiver.”
Sims declined to reveal which teams have scheduled him for workouts, just like he offered no guess at how high he might be selected.
“You’ll never know,” he said. “You’ve just got to work hard, stay focused.”
Sims was joined at pro day by ex-WVU running back Noel Devine, who burned through a hand-timed 4.25-second 40. Sims said he remembered watching Devine in college and being impressed. “I didn’t know he was that small, though,” Sims said. “I just knew he was fast.”
CLARKE UP OR DOWN?
After spending his entire college career at defensive end, 6-foot-7 Will Clarke has heard buzz he could shift to outside linebacker at the next level.
“It depends on the scheme,” he said. “I’ve heard 3-4, gain weight, play that defensive end. And I’ve heard some teams in the 3-4 where I’m standing up and moving some.”
On Friday, scouts wanted to see him ranging 30 to 40 yards downfield in pass coverage—the first time he has done that since playing safety as a ninth-grader.
For a while the past two weeks, Clarke said he attempted to follow NFL free agency in hopes of seeing which teams might be in the market to draft a defensive end. “I had the app, but it got too confusing,” Clarke joked, “so I’m just leaving it alone.”
COOK’S HIP RECOVERS
Safety Darwin Cook’s hip injury that flared up against Kansas and forced him to sit out the Iowa State senior day game wasn’t fully healed until two weeks ago. He said it prevented him from even running and doing sit-ups until January.
By Friday, however, he said “I felt loose in my position drills, moving my hips.”
A three-year starter at West Virginia, Cook speculated at times last season that he would aim to make an NFL roster as a special-teams player.
I”ll probably watch Day 3, because that’s where they’ve got me projected right now,” he said.
Other players who worked out at pro day included offensive linemen Pat Eger and Curtis Feigt, receiver Ivan McCartney, linebacker Doug Rigg and nose tackle Shaq Rowell.