D.J. Moore and JC Jackson headlined Maryland football’s pro day Wednesday, but it was the undercard performers who made the most noise.
Moore and Jackson, who ran 4.42 and 4.46 40-yard dashes at the NFL Combine, elected not to do any testing prior to on-field drills. Instead, NFL personnel from 30 teams watched as Josh Woods, Cavon Walker, Jermaine Carter Jr. and Will Likely—yes, that Will Likely—ran and jumped their way into NFL consideration.
Woods had arguably had the biggest day of any Terp in attendance. He started the morning off with a 10’1 broad jump and followed it up with a 4.46-second 40-yard dash, much to the delight of his now-former teammates, who lined the concourse of Cole Field House and shouted words, or at least noises, of encouragement at his every move.
In defensive back drills, Woods was first in line at every turn. He was smooth, looked quick and showed loose hips and sure hands. With this pro day performance, there were some whispers that he could have moved himself into a position where a team feels like taking a late-round flyer on him. Even if he doesn’t get drafted, he’s almost certainly solidified a spot in an NFL camp.
Carter, who led the team in tackles each of the last three years, but wasn’t invited to the NFL Combine or any collegiate showcase game, may have entered the day with the biggest chip on his shoulder of all participants. Like Woods, Carter looked smooth in a variety of drills and tested well, including posting a 4.6-second hand-timed 40.
Low 4.6 40— 1 (@JERMA1NECARTER) March 28, 2018
11.55 60 yard shuttle
Walker—the only Terp who attended a postseason showcase—made some noise, literally, in defensive line drills. His quick, heavy and violent hands could be clearly heard from the concourse above the opposite sideline as he repeatedly and consistently knocked tackling dummies all the way to the ground. He looked quick in small spaces as he made his way through the gauntlet of drills.
The surprise of the day was last year’s showstopper, Will Likely, who wasn’t a pre-announced attendee. Likely spent time with the New York Jets and New England Patriots last summer, but wasn’t on a regular season roster. He only ran one 40, but looked just as fast as he did in a Terps uniform. He didn’t get to do any testing at last year’s pro day, instead focusing on defensive back drills. This year, he made all the rounds.
“I felt like this was my real pro day,” Likely told the assembled media after the workout.
Likely, who said he didn’t watch any football last season, has spent the last nine months training and finally felt 100 percent Wednesday. It showed during position drills, where he exhibited the same fluidity that made him a star at Maryland and earned him a roster spot in the NFL, even if it was only for a summer.
Moore, as he’s been throughout his entire collegiate career, was quietly exceptional in receiver drills. Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Norv Turner put Moore through his own personal set of routes, and the Philadelphia native executed each with ease, catching every ball thrown his way.
“It just showed that I got quicker out of my breaks,” Moore said. “That was one thing I was working on.”
It’s that kind of skill that has Moore projected to go somewhere in the first round of the draft in late April. He’d be the first first-round pick out of Maryland since Darrius Hayward-Bey in 2009.
Jackson, who started his college career with DJ Durkin at Florida, enjoyed working out in front of scouts in Cole Field House.
“I’m just happy to have the opportunity to come back to my own school that made me who I am today,” Jackson said.
Jackson, like many of his other teammates, completed position drills with ease. His two years in College Park and solid workout performances at the combine and pro day have him projected to be drafted somewhere in the third or fourth rounds.
Even though they were rooting each other on Wednesday, Moore and Jackson competed against each other every day in practice, each helping the other mold himself into a future draft pick.
“Every day in practice, D.J. and I, we were going at it. I would call him out and he would call me out and we would compete,” Jackson said. “He made me who I am today. We made each other better.”