Pro's & Conn: Bill Belichick at UConn Pro Day

Connecticut tailback Donald Brown got another chance to improve his draft stock Wednesday as the nation's leading rusher showed off some of his skills in front of representatives of 21 NFL teams at UConn's practice facility.

Brown, who ran for 2,083 yards last season, was one of a dozen Huskies taking part in what was easily the school's largest pro scouting day ever. The event drew some big names, including New England head coach Bill Belichick and San Diego general manger A.J. Smith.

Brown caught passes and lifted weights for the scouts, completing 17 bench presses at 225 pounds. He was unable to lift during February's NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis because of a shoulder injury.

"I feel relieved," he said. "All the physical stuff is over, now I've just got some team visits and before you know it the draft will be here. I'm excited."

Brown didn't bother repeating many of the drills he performed at the combine, where he registered a 41-inch vertical leap and ran the 40-yard dash in just over 4.5 seconds.

Connecticut has never had a player taken during the first day of the NFL draft. This season, three Huskies -- Brown, cornerback Darius Butler, and offensive lineman Will Beatty -- are projected to go in the first two rounds on April 25.

The 307-pound Beatty also lifted weights for the scouts, completing 30 repetitions on his bench press, three better than his performance in Indianapolis. Beatty said he believed he helped himself with his performance, but has no idea which teams might be interested in him.

"There were so many of them here," he said. "I'm just shaking hands, smiling, hoping that I excite somebody."

Butler had a more extensive workout that included the 40-yard dash, which he ran in an unofficial time of 4.38 seconds.

"I was hoping for lower, but if that's what I ran, I can live with that," he said. "I didn't feel good running at the combine, but I felt better today. I think I helped myself."

Several other players made impressions. Quarterback Tyler Lorenzen worked out as a defensive back, hoping to show his versatility. And defensive end Julius Williams raised some eyebrows with a 41-inch vertical leap.

Connecticut coach Randy Edsall said he's sure the day and the draft will help his program.

"This is going to be the icing on the cake after being here for 10 years, knowing that we're going to have guys taken in that first day, and hopefully in the first round," Edsall said. "That's what a lot of these young kids look at. So now we can be a big player in that arena as well."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us