<H1>UT pro prospects say they measure up
By Suzanne Halliburton
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Roy Miller acknowledges he's got a lot of time on his hands as the days creep up to this weekend's NFL draft.
"There's only so much you can do in a day besides work out," the former Texas defensive tackle said.
So he watches draft shows and reads scouting reports. They make him mad enough to body slam the hard-liners who quote NFL prototypes.
Those prototypes suggest he's too short at a shade over 6 feet, 1 inch — that's after he gained 25 pounds to 315 so people would not categorize him as too small.
"I've seen all kinds of stuff, and I refuse to believe I'm not the best defensive tackle in the draft," said Miller, who was an All-Big 12 Conference selection and the defensive MVP of the 2009 Fiesta Bowl.
If Miller wants to vent, he can chat with his former teammates who also have been classified as undersized by these same scouts.
Cornerback Ryan Palmer, a two-year starter, was the shortest cornerback invited to the NFL scouting combine in February. He's 5-8. The NFL benchmark is 5-9.
"I was the shortest, but I was bigger (heavier) than any of the other guys there," Palmer said.
"My motto has always been to shut people up. Nobody thought I'd be a starter for two years."
Scouts Inc. is projecting Palmer as a sixth-rounder.
Receiver Quan Cosby, who dropped only four passes in three seasons as a starter, stood taller than only one wide receiver invited to the combine. He's 5-9. The NFL will spend big money on those wideouts who are at least 6 feet.
Cosby said teams haven't brought up his height in interviews he's done with coaches and scouts. Instead, he said "they've been really intrigued" that he's already been through the pro process, playing minor league baseball for three years.
Cosby said he signed a baseball contract in 2001 with a bonus of $950,000. In order to return to Texas to play football, he gave up $500,000.
If he makes an NFL team, he'll earn a minimum of $310,000 this year. Scouts Inc. is saying Cosby is a seventh-rounder.
"Quan Cosby is one of the smartest guys I've ever talked to at the wide receiver position," said Gil Brandt, a draft analyst for nfl.com and the former director of player personnel for the Dallas Cowboys.
"He's going to be governor some day."
Middle linebacker Rashad Bobino, who started at UT for four seasons, was too short at 5-97/8 to get a combine invite. He's in grad school now and said he's heard from a number of NFL teams this week. He says they're asking him about his play on special teams.
While former Longhorns defensive end Brian Orakpo is projected as a top-10 overall pick, other Texas standouts have no idea when they'll hear their name called.
Running back Chris Ogbonnaya could be a late-round possibility.
Defensive end Henry Melton, who has minimal experience at the position, turned in an excellent pro timing day in March and could get on someone's draft board. Offensive guard Cedric Dockery, whose older brother Derrick is one of the highest-paid lineman in the league, is a possible pick.
Aaron Lewis, who has played defensive end and tackle, also has worked out for scouts.
All but one draft-eligible Horn already has graduated. Melton is a semester away.
Mel Kiper, the ESPN analyst, lists Miller as the 59th pick in his latest mock draft. That's bottom of the second round. Scouts Inc. says fourth round.
Defensive tackle isn't loaded with stars this year, with only two potential first-rounders. Coincidentally, both those players — B.J. Raji and Peria Jerry — have questions about their size.
"This game isn't about height," Miller said. "This game is about being a man. Be a man, do whatever you've got to do to win.
"And that's me. I'm going to do whatever I need to do to beat the guy in front of me."