Graham bounces back in front of NFL scouts
He ran for 3,271 yards, scored 32 touchdowns and recovered from a crippling knee injury sooner than anyone expected.
Yet four years after arriving at Pitt, Ray Graham is still proving himself.
The process resumed Wednesday at Pitt's UPMC Sports Performance Complex when 12 seniors worked out for scouts from 17 NFL teams. Graham, who ran a miserable time of 4.8 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine last month, improved to a range of 4.58 to 4.62, according to times from three NFL teams.
Graham said his NFL hopes should rest on more than those few seconds.
“I'm not disrespecting the 40, but people play football,” he said. “Not disregarding or trying to make up for what I ran because I ran a 4.8.
“But I knew that wasn't me at all (at the combine). If anybody knows me, I'm more so quick than fast. I wanted to show them I can get out of holes quick. I play football. That's what I love to do. You can put me on the field with anybody.”
The theme of Pitt's pro day was players reinventing themselves.
Aside from Graham trying to show he is faster than the perception:
• Guard Chris Jacobson put his surgically repaired knees to the test after losing nine pounds.
• Center Ryan Turnley lost 10 pounds to 304 in an attempt to showcase his athleticism.
• Mike Shanahan checked in at 241 pounds, 11 over his playing weight, while he makes the transition from wide receiver to tight end.
“Everything you are doing is geared for today,” Turnley said.
Jacobson, Turnley, Shanahan, tight end Hubie Graham and quarterback Tino Sunseri worked out the past two months in Buffalo with former Pitt strength coach Buddy Morris.
“When I first got there, I couldn't even jump,” Jacobson said.
“But today I jumped 27 inches (vertically). My broad jump was 8 feet. I was broad jumping 3 feet.”
He said he was pleased with his unofficial 40 time of 5.1 at 302 pounds.
“I haven't run that in a while,” he said.
Turnley said his vertical jump was 30 inch and his broad 9 feet, 1 inch. He lifted 225 pounds 15 times — kicker Kevin Harper did 12 — but Turnley said there is more to his game than strength.
“I'm not one of those big, burly offensive linemen,” he said. “They'll see. They'll turn on the film and see me getting after guys.”
Shanahan's training took an opposite turn.
“I just tried to eat a lot more than usual, and I drank a lot of water before I jumped on the scale,” said Shanahan, who noted that a Steelers representative clocked him at 4.69.
Jacobson, who was on a strict diet, said he planned to celebrate the end of his intensive training by going out to eat with former Pitt teammate John Malecki. Then it's just a matter of staying sharp and waiting for the draft at the end of April.
“I'll be nervous to see what happens,” he said.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pitt’s Wright excelling in classroom
- Panthers still clinging to hope entering home finale
- Pitt’s McConnell-Serio nominated for Naismith award
- Safety Vinopal, former teammates perform for NFL scouts at Pitt’s Pro Day
- Pitt’s weakness ‘pretty obvious’ to all
- Defensive woes resurface for Pitt men’s basketball team
- At Pitt, a chance to make early impression under Narduzzi
- Pitt women end regular season with win over Clemson
- Role change suiting Pitt’s Jones just fine
- Improved play against zone keys Pitt’s turnaround
- With redshirt season over, Shady Side Academy grad Briggs looks to contribute for Pitt football team