The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

March 18, 2014

PSU's Brown bids to sell his services to next level

PITTSBURG, Kan. — A smiling and confident John Brown certainly didn’t seem overwhelmed by the pressure of having several NFL scouts run him through drills.

After all, the Pittsburg State wide receiver had already earned favorable first impressions after strong performances at the East West Shrine Game and the NFL Combine. Interest for Brown increased when he posted the second fastest 40-yard dash (4.34 seconds) among wide receivers at Indianapolis.

So having representatives from the St. Louis Rams, Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans Saints, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Indianapolis Colts and Green Bay Packers in attendance at Pittsburg State’s pro day on Tuesday morning was nothing new to Brown.

Linebacker Nate Dreiling, defensive back James Caine and Brown all worked out for the NFL scouts. All three are hoping to receive invitations from NFL training camps. Brown, who expects to be drafted, participated in receiving and kick return drills, but he didn’t run the 40-yard dash after already showcasing his speed at the combine.

“The combine was a great experience being around some of the top players in the whole division of college football,” Brown said. “I stepped up to the plate, and I think I competed well and better than a lot of them. There was no need for me to run the 40 (at PSU), because I had one of the best 40s at the combine.”

Brown, a three-time All-American wide receiver and return man for the Gorillas, recorded 61 receptions for 1,198 yards and 14 touchdowns as a senior. He leaves PSU holding many of its receiving records.

Brown’s accomplishments at PSU put NFL teams on notice, but his performances since then are what have helped him climb draft boards.

“He’s helped himself as much or more than probably anybody in this whole draft class,” said NFL agent Dave Butz, who is representing Brown with SPORTSTARS, Inc., out of New York. “Obviously, he’s had a great collegiate career. Being able to go down to the East West Shrine Game and show his talent on the field against some of the best competition in the country obviously helped boost him big time. Then he was able to go to the combine and show he’s one of the fastest football players on earth. But what a lot of the scouts told me that the thing that set him apart wasn’t just his speed, but that he had one of the best position drill workouts … He’s going to be one of the fastest players in this draft, but he’s not a one-trick pony. He’s a very talented receiver and return man on top of that.”

Brown (5-10, 179) completed eight repetitions of 225 pounds on the bench press before catching passes from former Pittsburg State quarterback Zac Dickey and taking part in return drills. Representatives from the Saints, Bengals and Colts appeared to show the most interest in Brown on Tuesday. However, Brown said the New York Jets and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are two more teams that have pursued him.

“(Teams) are interested in me,” Brown said. “They like what they see on film. I turned a couple of heads at the combine, so I think they’ll be knocking on the door trying to bring me in.”

Dreiling, a four-time All-American, finished his PSU career with the most tackles in school and MIAA history.

The 6-4, 226-pound linebacker tried to show scouts he has the speed to play at the next level.

“I just wanted to run a good 40 time,” Dreiling said. “That was the biggest question on me going in to today. I haven’t heard any times, but hopefully it was good enough to keep them interested.

“I’m not much of a combine or a shorts guy. I’m more of an on the field guy. Hopefully, you just get them interested enough that they keep turning on your film.”

Dreiling said he is healthy for the first time since injuring his ankle and shoulder against Missouri Southern. He was knocked out early of the East West Shrine Game after re-injuring his ankle.

“It was about 90 percent going into the all-star game,” he said. “I made it through practice and then about the seventh play of the actual all-star game, it got rolled up. That set me back three or four weeks again, but it’s finally all healed up and I’m excited to keep working hard and hopefully get a chance.”

Caine, a 5-11, 185-pound cornerback, played one season at Pittsburg State after transferring from Missouri State. Caine posted 27 tackles and five pass breakups his senior year.

All three of the Gorillas have been training in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Caine said he was hoping to impress scouts with his speed. He also achieved nine reps on the bench press.

“At Florida, I was clocking 4.4 40-yard dashes,” Caine said. “I got word today that I was kind of on that same mark. So I just really wanted to show speed today … I weighed in at 185, so I just wanted to show with me being fast that I also have strength to go along with it. I think I did both of those things today.”

The NFL Draft is May 8-10.

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