Football players measure up on Pro Day

Defensive lineman Shawn Oakman has his arm span measured by NFL scouts during the Pro Day college football workout at Baylor, Wednesday, March 16, 2016, in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero) Photo credit: Associated Press

A total of 57 scouts and coaches from all 32 NFL teams filed into the Allison Indoor Facility on Wednesday to watch 16 Baylor football players display their skills and abilities.

“Everyone that is concerned about pro-football is concerned about Baylor football, so that’s a great branding tool for us, and I think our brand is in really good shape,” head coach Art Briles said. “We didn’t come here to dream small.”

Among the 16 athletes were wide receiver Corey Coleman, defensive back Xavien Howard and defensive lineman Andrew Billings, who highlighted Baylor’s Pro Day with top performances while improving on their NFL Combine numbers.

Coleman, named top receiver in the nation, ran an unofficial 4.37 according to scouts, while Baylor clocked an unofficial 4.41.

At the combine, Coleman earned the No. 1 wide receiver performance while producing outstanding numbers in the vertical jump of 40.5 inches and 129 inches in broad jump.

“I feel like I’m the best receiver in the draft,” Coleman said. “I can do pretty much everything; punt return, kick return. I can play the inside receiver and outside receiver.”

Briles supported this argument, agreeing that Coleman should go as the No. 1 receiver in the draft, if not, No. 2.

Howard, remaining ungraded in the NFL Combine, exploded in improvements from his previous numbers. In the 40-yard dash, an unofficial 4.38 was clocked, taking .20 his NFL Combine time of 4.58. Howard also impressed scouts and coaches with a 38.5 vertical jump compared to 33.0 at the Combine.

“At the combine, I wasn’t feeling good but I got back to work and rested and did better here,” Howard said. “Being home and surrounded by family helped a lot.”

Despite suggestions to remain in school, Howard believes he is in the best corner in the draft and the work he has put in at Baylor has made him ready for his decision to enter.

Billings, who earned the number four top defensive tackle performance at the Combine, recorded a personal-best 4.92 in the 40, shedding .12 of his Combine time.

“He’s unbelievable. It’s who he is,” Briles said. “He’s extremely talented.”

Baylor also showcased other talents projected as lower draft picks, including defensive end Shawn Oakman, offensive tackle Spencer Drango, deep snapper Jimmy Landes and lineman/tight end LaQuan McGowan.

Oakman, standing at 6-foot-8, 289 pounds, also improved on his 40 time from Combine, running a 4.84 on his first attempt and then improving to a 4.78 on his second.

“There’s always standards for what round you think you should go, but that’s not up to me,” Oakman said. “Being able to help my family and prove for them is a goal I can control myself.”

Drango, surrounded by other defensive lineman prospects including Jarell Broxton, Desmine Hilliard, Blake Muir and McGowan, ran over a trainer during drills to leave an impression. He said it’s still early and there is time to find a fitting team.

Wide receiver Jay Lee, linebacker Grant Campbell, defensive backs Terrell Burt and Miles Johnson, defensive end Jamal Palmer and tight end Gus Penning also took the field to display Pro Day numbers.

The NFL Draft will take place April 28-30 in Chicago, Ill.

Baylor football will have its showcase scrimmage 7 p.m. on Friday at McLane Stadium.

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