LINCOLN — Former Nebraska linebacker Will Compton wore the biggest smile of all the Huskers working out at Thursday's Pro Day. He ran a 4.54 40-yard dash, jumped 32 inches in the vertical, more than nine feet in the broad jump, and finished with 24 repetitions in the 225-pound bench press. Of the 15 scouts on hand, Compton said, several had strong feedback.
“I helped myself out a lot,” Compton said. “I got a bunch of great feedback. I'm humbled and flattered. I can't wait to go call my parents.”
After the workout, a Cincinnati Bengals scout took Compton upstairs in the Hawks Championship facility and had him design and break down defenses. Compton said he'd already received feedback from NFL linebacker Lavonte David that Nebraska's defenders were ahead of the game in understanding pro schemes.
“The way Bo (Pelini) does things here, you're just so set up to succeed in the NFL,” Compton said. “Lavonte said he was teaching guys right when he walked in (to the NFL).”
Compton said he's heard he's likely a late-rounder or a preferred free agent target.
Maher impresses again
Although kicker Brett Maher already had a strong performance at the NFL Combine, hitting 14 of 15 field goals, he did nothing to hurt himself Thursday, making all 10 of his field goals and kicking off well, he said.
“I'm kicking really well right now,” said Maher, who watched other Huskers work out on one end of the Hawks, wheeled a duffel bag of footballs to the other end, and worked alone for scouts. “Kicked well today, kicked well at the Combine. Kicked off really well today. Put a couple back on the end line. Just feel good with how the ball is coming off my foot.”
Maher will meet with NFL teams soon, but declined to name them.
“A lot of people are valuing kickers at this point, which is awesome to be in the position I am at this point.”
Caputo beefs up
Last summer in an NFL minicamp, a Minnesota Vikings offensive line coach told former Nebraska Mike Caputo he had good technique and good strength. The problem? Caputo weighed just 275 pounds. And that, the Vikings coach said, wouldn't last a season in the NFL.
Caputo returned to Pro Day Thursday weighing 304 pounds — noticeably bigger up top and in his legs. He ran a 5.3-second 40, but had 35 repetitions in the 225-pound bench press, the best of any Husker who lifted.
“I was happy with the day overall,” said Caputo, who played four games for Omaha's UFL's team last fall before the league canceled the rest of the season because of financial problems.
Outside of that, he's been eating and lifting for the past year — with a heavy emphasis on squats, four times a week – preparing for another shot in the NFL.
“Eating's been a full-time job. It's been gross, to be completely honest. It's not been fun eating. It makes you real tired, kind of lethargic, but then you get excited to work out because I get to burn some calories.”
Burkhead improves 40
Former NU I-back Rex Burkhead used Pro Day to take care of his biggest regret from the NFL Combine.
Burkhead focused only on the 40-yard dash in recent weeks and took part only in that drill and some position work Thursday. It paid off as he went from a disappointing 4.73 in Indianapolis to times in the 4.5s.
“I wanted to go into the low 4.5s,” he said. “I ended up getting in there with some times down there, so I definitely did what I needed to do.”
Burkhead still found a way to be the last one out of the Hawks Center, staying later to catch some punts and kicks and work as a slot receiver for those watching.
“Just trying to show my versatility and everything I could do,” he said.
Stafford drops weight
Daimion Stafford said his regret from the NFL Combine was showing up at 221 pounds. The former NU safety said he was at 211 on Thursday and ran his 40 in the 4.5s.
“I was a little heavy at the combine, so I wanted to show that wasn't my real weight,” Stafford said. “I was eating bad and stuff like that. I wanted to just show them that I can run and I wasn't that heavy.”
Stafford said he has an individual workout scheduled for Friday with Tennessee.
— Sam McKewon and Rich Kaipust