SEATTLE — Even with top Dawgs Vita Vea and Dante Pettis sidelined with sore paws, it was a packed house at the Dempsey Indoor facility at the University of Washington Pro Day with an estimated 20 NFL teams represented.
Vea, the reigning Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, pulled a hamstring running the 40-yard dash at NFL Scouting Combine. All NFL 32 teams were notified that he would not be participating in timed or positional drills during Saturday’s workout.
However, before hurting himself at Indy, Vea managed to live up to the pre-Combine buzz as one of the most explosive players in the draft, registering a speedy 5.10 seconds in the 40-yard dash after weighing in at 6-foot-4, 347 pounds and benching 225 pounds 41 times.
Several scouts stopped and visited with Vea as his teammates competed. The Los Angeles Rams and Miami Dolphins had formal visits with Vea, who currently tops NFLDraftScout.com’s defensive tackle rankings, checking in at No. 9 overall.
Pettis, who left Washington with 24 receiving touchdowns and set an NCAA record with nine TDs on punt returns, is still recovering from a severely twisted ankle from the rivalry game with Washington State. That kept him out of drills at the Combine as well.
The 6-1, 195-pound Pettis will hold a personal Pro Day workout April 2, but members of the Indianapolis Colts and Dallas Cowboys groups took time to talk with him after Saturday’s workouts. When healthy, Pettis shows excellent lateral agility and smooth acceleration, which should translate into impressive workout numbers. He checks in ninth among receivers on NFLDraftScout.com’s board and 80th overall, projecting as a Day 2 pick.
Two other Huskies who were invited to the Scouting Combine last week did compete Saturday, with tight end Will Dissly and running back Lavon Coleman leaving the best impressions.
Dissly gained three inches on his vertical jump, topping out at 31 inches Saturday. The former defensive end also showed off the core strength and balance during his positional workout that have earned him kudos from scouts as one of this year’s best blockers at the position. Dissly also caught the ball very well, making a couple of impressive fingertip grabs.
Coleman competed sans shirt for most of the workout, letting scouts see his chiseled 216-pound frame. Scouts on hand for the workout had hand-held times on him ranging from 4.62 to 4.66 in two attempts at the 40-yard dash, and he looked quick in running back drills, similar times to the ones he posted in Indianapolis.
Coleman also showed fluid acceleration, tracking skills and soft hands in Saturday’s workout, notably hauling in a pretty wheel route down the right sideline by former Washington quarterback Jake Heaps that initially looked out of the big back’s reach.
One player not invited to the Combine who helped his cause Saturday was safety Ezekiel Turner, a 6-1, 212-pound safety who was clocked at 4.62 with a 30.5-inch vertical jump and 19 repetitions of 225 pounds.
The University of Washington does not provide identities of the NFL personnel invited to their Pro Day. Judging by the hats, coats and clipboards being used by the scouts, however, it appeared that the Atlanta Falcons, Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, Rams, Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks and Washington Redskins were all represented Saturday.
The hometown Seahawks were particularly well represented, with head coach Pete Carroll, general manager John Schneider, co-director of player personnel Scott Fitterer and defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. among the top brass on hand for the workout.