NFL scouts and a handful of coaches and front-office personnel will descend on Austin on Tuesday as the graduating Texas Longhorn senior football players participate in the annual Texas Pro Day in preparation for April's 2012 NFL Draft.
Former 'Horns like linebacker Keenan Robinson, linebacker Emmanuel Acho, and defensive tackle Kheeston Randall are the headlining names as participants assured of hearing their names called at some point during the draft. For others, like fullback Cody Johnson and offensive lineman David Snow, will hope to vault onto a few radars with strong performances.
A Pro Day for the Combine participants -- Robinson, Acho, and Randall -- may not entail going through every workout, but may instead focus on improving in specific areas such as running a faster 50 time or throwing up more reps on the bench press.
The other, will participate fully, though impressive athletic feats don't always result in a great NFL life expectancy. Former offensive lineman Charlie Tanner, much maligned in his time on the 40 Acres, had a 36-inch vertical and a strong 10-yard split in the 40 two years ago, but suffered an injury and never made the roster for the New York Jets following a free-agent deal.
Other surprising Pro Day stars include former safety/linebacker Drew Kelson (he of the fumble recovery to seal the game against Ohio State and the crush blow to the head of Colorado quarterback Joel Klatt) after blasting off a 4.45 40 and a vertical of 41.5 inches and the infamous Extra Blocking Surface, Greg Smith, who may have used his nearly 40-inch vertical and sub-4.8 40 time to eventually earn some interest and a spot on the practice squad for the Carolina Panthers.
The player with the most to prove may be Robinson, who would surely like to improve upon the 4.79 he ran at the Combine. Those times can sometimes be overrated, but while Robinson improved upon his ability to beat blockers in the middle, he still doesn't project there at the next level and needs to show he has the speed to run with running backs and tight ends.
Add to it the fact that Robinson was always thought to have better football speed than he showed on the track in Indy and a shuttle time that failed to rank in the top 15 at his position and Robinson could make himself some money on Tuesday. Or solidify whatever concerns about his athleticism NFL teams took away from the Combine.
Acho and Randall both had solid efforts at the Combine and may elect to forego some of the testing drills like the the 40.
Texas fans will also get a snapshot of safety Blake Gideon's much-maligned athleticism as he seeks to latch on somewhere as an undrafted free agent.
Players more likely to put themselves in a position to make a roster are Johnson, who could sneak into the draft and is rated the sixth-best fullback by CBS, and offensive lineman David Snow, who showed well at times during the East-West Shrine Game, but failed to secure an invite to the Combine based on that work.
Another storyline to watch? Who throws to Cody Johnson and whoever else ends up working out running some routes (Malcolm Williams, perhaps?). It could be a former 'Horn quarterback like Colt McCoy if he's around town or even former walk on John Paul Floyd a year after Sherrod Harris had to fly in at the last minute because of rule instituted last year that limits players throwing to those who are draft eligible and the lack of a CBA that disallowed NFL players from participating. A few years ago, it was legendary former 'Horn James Brown who loosened up his arm.
Please also use this as your open thread as reports about the workout emerge.