Young works out for NFL scouts
AUSTIN, TEXAS -- Depending on whom you asked, quarterback Vince Young's first public workout since the Rose Bowl was somewhere between outstanding and ordinary Wednesday.
But after two months of hearing about how his poor test scores and choice of agents might have affected his draft stock, Young stepped onto the indoor practice field at the University of Texas and reminded everyone of why they fell in love with him in the first place.
The Saints did not have a significant presence in Austin, other than their scouting department. But former LSU coach Nick Saban and former Saints coach Jim Haslett were among those chatting it up on the field.
"He had a hell of a workout," said Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson, who gave the most glowing review of the day when asked if he would consider drafting Young with the fifth pick in next month's draft.
"I go back to the Sam Bowie thing," Thompson said, referring to the former Kentucky basketball star who was drafted one spot ahead of Michael Jordan. "If you have a chance to take Michael Jordan, you take Michael Jordan."
An estimated 130 scouts, coaches and NFL executives and 85 media members attended the Texas Longhorns' pro workout day to see Young and several of his national championship teammates Wednesday.
Young threw 55 passes, then caught another on a trick play, all the while keeping a calm and loose demeanor. Earlier in the day, he made a game-time decision to run the 40-yard dash, which was timed by most scouts at or near 4.58 seconds. He also scaled in at 6 feet, 4 ÃƒÂ‚Ã‚Â½ inches and 228 pounds.
"I feel like I did a good job," said Young, who referred to himself as "a different breed of quarterback" when asked about how he seemed to be having fun on the field, making occasional comments to his mom and grandmothers on the sideline. "I feel I went out there and stayed relaxed, poised, had a good time.
"I wanted to show I could make all the throws, that I could throw from a three-, five- and seven-step drop. I thought I showcased my talent. And I want to show them that I'm coachable."
Young had four receivers on the field with him -- three Texas teammates and one former high school teammate. He simulated taking each snap from the center, which was important since he worked almost exclusively out of the shotgun in college.
He simulated some scrambling and throwing on the run, with his passes ranging from quick outs to 55-yard deep patterns. He threw five incomplete passes, two of which were drops.
"It was a good workout, just about what we expected, I think," said Tennessee Titans general manager Floyd Reese -- a review that was echoed by most of the NFL personnel in attendance. "I thought they did a nice job putting it on, they showed you a little bit of everything. We've seen great variety and great athleticism, all the goods and pluses."
New Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak said Young did "everything you could possibly ask a quarterback to do under this situation."
"I love the guy," Kubiak said. "He's got a big arm. He was very impressive. People gravitate toward him, and you could see that today. You could see he was having fun, and that's important in this league. He showed accuracy, a very strong arm. He was always in control. He made every throw."
Young did not run or throw at the NFL combine last month, so this was an important day for him. He has at least four individual workouts scheduled before the draft -- with the Texans, Titans, Jets and Ravens.
Houston, which has the No. 1 draft choice, is expected to select Southern California tailback Reggie Bush, but they still are looking hard at Young, a local superstar. The team had 10 officials on hand Wednesday, including owner Bob McNair, McNair's two sons, Kubiak and general manager Charley Casserly.
The Titans, who pick third, had seven people on hand, with Coach Jeff Fisher expected to arrive Tuesday night. They will remain in Austin through today to conduct their individual workout and interviews with Young.
Tennessee is expected to decide between quarterbacks Young, the Trojans' Matt Leinart and Vanderbilt's Jay Cutler with their draft pick. But if they covet one of those guys above all others, they might need to consider trading up with the Saints, who have the No. 2 pick.
Young's agent, Major Adams, said he believes some team will probably trade up with the Saints if they want a quarterback, and he said he believes Young's draft status is the same as it was after the Rose Bowl -- somewhere between the No. 1 and No. 3 pick.
"We didn't concern ourselves with (speculation about his stock falling). We stayed focused and got ready for this event right here," Adams said. "This should be a good upswing for him. Football-wise, you saw what he did last year and the year before that in the Rose Bowl. So I think along with this, they got a chance to see him personally up close. Put that together, he's just a dynamic player."
Texas coach Mack Brown expressed his frustration Wednesday with all the negative reporting that surrounded Young's low score (reportedly a 15 on his second try) on the NFL's pre-draft Wonderlic exam.
But Brown said that once someone gets a chance to meet Young, any questions or doubts are erased.
"The thing today will do is give people that haven't seen him in person a better feel of his size, because it's hard to tell on TV, and the power that he has, his ability to throw, his accuracy," Brown said. "But they'll also see his interaction with the other players and his leadership skills. They'll be able to sit there for an hour with him and put him on a board and talk about protections. And they'll see how bright he is.
"And what I think it does, I think it just shoots him back to the top."
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