A gaggle of scouts and NFL front office personnel filled the bleachers inside of Yeoman Field House on Monday to see what this year’s crop of UH seniors had to offer to their respective teams.
Quarterback Case Keenum and receiver Patrick Edwards were on draft boards for most of last season, but the Cougars’ under-the-radar players also impressed.
Running back Michael Hayes doesn’t have a stat line with counting statistics busting at the seams like Keenum or Edwards, and he might not be drafted on the first or second day, but according to a source close to him, multiple scouts are very interested in him as a late-round pick and he will find a home in the NFL.
After rushing for 727 yards and 11 touchdowns on 138 carries and catching 44 passes for 483 yards, Monday’s drills were another opportunity for Hayes to show off his myriad abilities and versatility.
Hayes ran a 4.55 in the 40-yard dash, did 23 reps on bench press and registered a 35-inch vertical — all second best on the team.
“It was very big for me,” Hayes said. “Just for people that haven’t seen me play or haven’t seen me at all, just to come out and see what I can do.
“There were a few things that I would like to change, but overall as a whole, I think I did pretty (well).”
In addition to splitting carries in the backfield with Charles Sims and Bryce Beall, Hayes also was a key special teams player, a role that will make his resume more attractive to NFL teams.
“It actually helped me a lot and I thank coach Levine for giving me the opportunity to play on special teams,” Hayes said.
“It just shows that I can do more than run the ball. I can go down and tackle somebody and I’m more than just a running back, I’m a football player.”
Hayes’ speed and toughness has one unnamed NFL scout looking at him as a “gunner” on special teams.
Hayes said that after Monday’s workout he was approached by the Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Kansas City Chiefs and San Diego Chargers.
Saenz breaks out, Edwards overcomes injuries
Despite saying he was only at “70 or 80 percent” because of a quad injury, Edwards still managed to run a 4.59 in the 40-yard dash on Monday.
“When I’m running, I can’t accelerate or kick it in gear because my quad is still messed up,” Edwards said. “I feel like I could do way better than that, but it’s just a matter of me focusing on one thing and getting it back 100 percent.
“I’ll be in somebody’s camp playing slot receiver or outside receiver.”
In preparation for Pro Day, Edwards has been running routes with quarterback Case Keenum.
“It was real cool because over the whole process, we got to work on timing and everything,” Edwards said. “We’ve just been playing pitch and catch the whole time. He made me look good; I made him look good.”
Safety Nick Saenz made some noise on Monday, running a team-best 4.46 in the 40.
Keenum threw the ball well and said the hamstring injury that affected him at the NFL Combine was no longer an issue.
Pro Day top performers
40 Yard Dash
Nick Saenz, DB 4.46
Mike Hayes, RB 4.55
Patrick Edwards, WR 4.59
Sammy Brown, LB 4.63
Bryce Beall, RB 4.64
Bench Press (225 Pounds – Reps)
David Hunter, DL 32
Mike Hayes, RB 23
Marcus McGraw, LB 22
Chris Thompson, OL 21
Sammy Brown, LB 20
Case Keenum, QB 18
Sammy Brown, LB 37.00”
Mike Hayes, RB 35.00”
Patrick Edwards, WR 33.12”
Nick Saenz, DB 33.00”
E.J. Smith, WR 33.00”
E.J. Smith, WR 10’2”
Patrick Edwards, WR 9’10”
Mike Hayes, RB 9’9”
Justin Johnson, WR 9’8”
Bryce Beall, RB 9’6”
Sammy Brown, LB 9’6”
3 Cone drill
Case Keenum, QB 6.89
Marcus McGraw, LB 7.08
Mike Hayes, RB 7.10
Nick Saenz, DB 7.11
Patrick Edwards, WR 7.12
Sammy Brown, LB 7.13