Utah defensive back Eric Rowe put a solid finishing touch on the appearances of six locals at the NFL Scouting Combine, finishing as a top performer among safeties in all seven events he competed in Monday at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Rowe finished first among all safeties in the three-cone drill with a time of 6.7 seconds, and he was also tops in the 20-yard shuttle (3.97).
In last year's three-cone event, BYU safety Daniel Sorensen was the top performer among all participants with a time of 6.47 and parlayed that into a roster spot with the Kansas City Chiefs.
The 6-foot-1, 205-pound Rowe also turned in a strong 40 time, finishing second among safeties with a 4.45-second effort. His 39-inch vertical jump was second-best for safeties as well.
Rowe is making strong impressions among NFL analysts in the lead-up to this year's draft.
"Just watched tape on Utah S/CB Eric Rowe," tweeted NFL Network's Charles Davis prior to the combine. "If I’m Press/Man team I want him."
Rowe finished in the top five among safeties in the broad jump (10 feet, 5 inches; tied for third), bench press (19 reps; tied for fourth) and the 60-yard shuttle (11.48 seconds; fifth).
Rowe is seen as an NFL prospect at both the safety and cornerback positions — he played free safety his first three years at Utah before switching to cornerback his senior season.
Rowe, who also had two tackles during the Senior Bowl last month, realized the significance of the day, tweeting "just one step closer to childhood dreams" after he wrapped up his combine performance Monday.
Here's a look at how the other five locals fared at the combine:
Nate Orchard, DE, Utah
40: 4.8 seconds
Vertical jump: 31.5 inches
Broad jump: 115 inches
3-cone drill: 7.28 seconds
20-yard shuttle: 4.43 seconds
60-yard shuttle: 12.06 seconds
Orchard has been projected as high as a second-round draft pick and burst on to the scene his senior year at Utah with 18.5 sacks in 2014. The 6-foot-3, 250-pound Orchard told ESPN he is comfortable with switching to outside linebacker if asked to.
“Throughout my career I did a good bit of dropping (into coverage),” Orchard told ESPN. “I’d say probably a good 10 to 15 times a game.”
Kansas City Star reporter Terez A. Paylor said he "would sign off on the pick" if the Chiefs went with the former Ute in the second round of this year's draft.
"Orchard ... is one of my fastest risers in the draft. I really liked his speed off the edge at the Senior Bowl, which matched up with his impressive 18.5-sack senior season," Paylor wrote.
NFL Network also compared Orchard's measurables to those of veteran defensive end DeMarcus Ware.
Ware has 127 sacks and 34 forced fumbles in his 10-year career that's included nine years with the Dallas Cowboys and last year with the Denver Broncos. He is an eight-time Pro Bowler and four-time first-team All-Pro.
Alani Fua, OLB, BYU
40: 4.73 seconds
Bench press: 18 reps
Vertical jump: 34.5 inches
Broad jump: 118 inches
3-cone drill: 6.83 seconds
20-yard shuttle: 4.15 seconds
60-yard shuttle: 11.54 seconds
Fua, whose brother Sione plays for the Cleveland Browns, finished in the top four among linebackers in three different drills at the combine.
His 6.83 time in the three-cone drill was third among linebackers, and his efforts in the 20-yard shuttle and the 60-yard shuttle were fourth among his position group.
The Detroit Lions talked to the 6-foot-5, 238-pound Fua prior to his on-field workouts. If he joined the Detroit roster, Fua would be reunited with former BYU teammates Ezekiel Ansah and Kyle Van Noy.
"He's a student of the game. I learned a lot from him, just technique and everything," Fua told the Lions about Van Noy. "I try to play the way he played; definitely good to have him as a mentor."
Jeremiah Poutasi, OG, Utah
40: 5.32 seconds
Bench press: 26 reps
Vertical jump: 26.5 inches
Broad jump: 95 inches
3-cone drill: 8.09 seconds
20-yard shuttle: 4.89 seconds
Poutasi is the lone early entrant among the six locals, leaving Utah following his junior year to pursue an NFL career.
Tony Pauline of draftinsider.net compared the 6-foot-5, 335-pound Poutasi to Mike Iupati, the three-time Pro Bowler with the San Francisco 49ers.
"I graded Poutasi as an early third round pick and have been told scouts rate him much higher than those on the outside (media)," Pauline wrote.
Bench press: 13 reps
Anderson's combine experience was limited to the bench press and interviews as he continues to recover from a knee injury. According to CBS Sports' Brugler, the 6-foot-1, 187-pound Anderson will run the 40 at Utah's pro day on March 26.
40: 4.51 seconds
Bench press: 10 reps
Vertical jump: 33 inches
Broad jump: 113 inches
3-cone drill: 6.97 seconds
20-yard shuttle: 4.26 seconds
Clay was hurt by a slower-than-expected time in the 40, and that will put added pressure on his performance at Utah's pro day.
"A 40 time doesn't defy (sic) you as a player disappointed but it'll get better y'all see what I do on the field," the 5-foot-10, 195-pound return specialist Clay tweeted, showing the positive attitude he displayed during his short, one-year Utah career.
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