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Maryland Draft Prospects Make Their Case

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COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Everybody had something to prove, a case to make.

Whether it was receiver Torrey Smith, who could be a first-round draft pick, or tight end Will Yeatman, who is trying to sneak into the selection process at all, everybody had something to prove.

About 20 NFL teams, including the Redskins, sent scouts or coaches to the University of Maryland's Pro Day on Wednesday, eyeballing not only the explosive Smith but speedy running back Da'Rel Scott, receiver Adrian Cannon and a host of others who could hope to become undrafted free agents who get contract offers after the draft (April 28-30). Fifteen players worked out.

Smith caught 67 passes for 1,055 yards and 12 touchdowns for a Maryland team that went 9-4. His 19 career TD catches are second-best in school history. He ran a 4.34 40-yard dash (laser timed) at the Indianapolis scouting combine and, at 6-1, 200 pounds, has all the makings of an NFL receiver and kick returner. He ranks first not only in Maryland's history in career kickoff return yardage but the Atlantic Coast Conference's as well.

"For me, no one questions my athletic ability," Smith said after the workout. "For me, it's just showing polish as a receiver and I feel like I did that today."

Others must prove they are worthy of consideration at all.

Yeatman, who transferred from Notre Dame and played one year with the Terrapins, bloomed late in the season. He had 13 receptions for 134 yards and one touchdown.

"It's important to be able to show that I'm able to be coached and that I've got potential and obviously a lot of the teams that I've talked to think that about me. I just want them to see my athleticism and show them my ability to catch the ball, run routes and block pretty well," the 6-6, 270-pound Yeatman said.

Cannon knew he also had to prove he could compete at the next level.

"There are definitely some teams that are looking at me," he said.

For Scott, a running back, it was about building on the late body of work. He ran for a career-high 200 yards (also a Maryland bowl record) in the Military Bowl win over East Carolina, and that included touchdown scampers of 91 and 61 yards. He also worked well at the East-West Shrine Game, the Senior Bowl and the combine.

In this session on campus, he said he felt he had to show his ability in the passing game.

"I think I needed to show them I could catch the ball out of the backfield and I did that," he said.

The players were weighed and measured, hit the bench press for reps of 220 pounds and then moved over to Cole Field House for testing in vertical leap, long jump, the 40-yard dash and the three-cone drill, a test of agility. Then they hit the practice field to show their positional skills.

Plenty of former Terps turned out for moral support. Among them: Current Redskins cornerback Kevin Barnes, former Redskins offensive lineman Edwin Williams, tight end Joey Haynos and receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey (a No. 1 pick of the Oakland Raiders in 2009).

Smith is the only possible first-rounder from Maryland this year and he drew on Heyward-Bey's experience to get ready for the combine and the Pro Day.

"I talked to Darrius a little bit through the process," Smith said. "It always helps to know someone that's already been throw it. I talked to him a lot today and I was glad he was here to support me."


Larry Weisman, an award-winning journalist during 25 years with USA TODAY, writes for Redskins.com and appears nightly on Redskins Nation on Comcast SportsNet. Read his Redskinsblitz blog at Redskinsrule.com and follow him on Twitter.com/LarryWeisman.

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