Defensive backs Chykie Brown and Aaron Williams silenced critics Tuesday with a pair of impressive 40-yard dash times, putting to rest questions surrounding their draft status.
The two turned in a pair of lackluster performances at the NFL scouting combine in February, but made up for it Tuesday. Brown confirmed his time in the 40-yard dash at 4.35 seconds and Williams said he ran a 4.36 as each prospect displayed the necessary agility to play at the next level. But Brown’s mark could have been slightly faster.
“The one I ran at 4.35 I kind of swerved on it so I was looking to run a 4.2, but Coach says it’s good enough,” Brown said, grinning. “My film spoke better than my combine workout and today brought everything together.”
The Longhorns’ pro timing day certainly went a long way in improving the stock of Brown and Williams with draft day approaching on April 28. Coaches and scouts from all 32 NFL teams attended the workouts.
“It gives the guys that went to the combine an opportunity to come back and improve on what they did there,” said head coach Mack Brown. “The guys got a lot of attention and hopefully they helped themselves.”
Brown said he wasn’t satisfied with his combine results and focused his training in Orlando on his hands, footwork, explosiveness and, most importantly, his speed. The senior also attributed his improved workout to a change in scenery.
“In front of my fans and family I felt more comfortable,” he said. “My old teammates had me pumped on the sideline. They were cheering me on and all that. I just felt like I was at home.”
Former Longhorn defensive backs Michael Griffin, Michael Huff, Aaron Ross and Tarell Brown watched as the younger DBs took turns running drills, offering their support when they could. All four played at Texas in 2005 when the Longhorns won the National Championship, and Griffin, Huff and Ross were first-round draft picks.
“I know what they went through,” Huff said. “When I was coming out, Quentin Jammer, Rod Babers, Nathan Vasher; all those guys came back to watch me.”
The alumni’s presence was felt throughout the practice bubble, from the sidelines to the playing field.
“We had a pretty good secondary standing on the side out here today,” Mack Brown said. “All the coaches were saying, ‘My gosh what about these guys.’ It’s so much fun to see them come back and support our current guys because somebody came back for them.”
Williams, who proved himself worthy of a first-round pick, also welcomed the sight of Huff, an old and close friend.
“This is really what it means to have that family atmosphere,” Williams said. “All the old guys, all the alumni coming out here, it shows the actual brotherhood that we have here.”
That brotherhood will grow in the coming weeks as a new crop of Longhorns rises to the professional ranks. Like those who came before, expect the 2011 draft class to turn heads along the sidelines of next year’s pro day.