Barkley doesn’t work out
UNIVERSITY PARK — Saquon Barkley did not work out during Penn State’s pro day Tuesday, but a number of other Nittany Lions posted impressive numbers for NFL scouts.
Barkley, a projected top five draft pick, excelled at the NFL combine but still had planned to work out on pro day. He said he changed his mind when he saw there were no running backs coaches on hand.
“I’m over this stage, running in shorts and sweatshirts,” Barkley told reporters, via ESPN.com. “That’s cool and all, but I’m not a combine guy. I want you to throw on the film, and I want to show that I’m a football player.”
Penn State coach James Franklin told NFL Network this about Barkley not working out: “I think everybody’s kind formed their opinion on him at this point, so why do it?”
Barkley’s combine numbers included 29 reps in the 225-pound bench press, a 41-inch vertical leap and 4.40 time in the 40-yard dash.
Franklin said Monday that Barkley “had a very average combine.”
“And he finished No. 1 across the boards,” the coach added. “I know his start wasn’t what he wanted it to be. I was very confident that Saquon was going to run a low 4-3, and I thought with training, you never know, he may run a high 4-2. I know that sounds crazy. I’ve seen him bench press 225 34 times before. So his numbers were solid, but it wasn’t like — I think he even thought he would do a little bit better.”
Instead of trying to better his numbers at pro day, Barkley decided his stock is already high enough that it wasn’t worth it.
Tight end Mike Gesicki had a 41.5-inch vertical leap at the combine, while safety Troy Apke came in at 41 inches. During pro day, cornerback Christian Campbell also had a 41-inch leap.
On having four players jump at least 41 inches, noted college football writer Bruce Feldman tweeted, “I can’t ever recall hearing anything like that from one program in a given year.” Feldman also noted the Lions had 11 players with a broad jump of 10 feet or more.
Receiver Saeed Blacknall ran the fastest 40 time of any PSU player Tuesday, clocking in at 4.39 seconds. He also had 24 reps on the bench press. Cornerback Grant Haley ran a 4.44 and running back Josh McPhearson a 4.45. Apke ran a 4.34 at the combine.
Receiver DaeSean Hamilton’s stock has risen since the end of the season after a good showing at the Senior Bowl and combine. He ran a 4.52 in the 40-yard dash Tuesday.
“His testing numbers are not going to be freakish, but they’re good,” Franklin, on the NFL Network, said of Hamilton. “And his workouts, his production in college and what he was able to do at the Senior Bowl, I think he was probably the most polished college wide receiver at the Senior Bowl, and people were raving.”
With so many players testing so well, it gave Franklin an opportunity to boast about the Lions’ strength and conditioning program, led by Dwight Galt.
“I wasn’t surprised that our guys tested really well,” Franklin told NFL Network. “Our whole strength staff has done a great job, and obviously Dwight Galt is the leader. … He’s been a superstar for me since I got really going in this profession. People say your most important hire in college football is your strength coach, so he’s been huge.”