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UW safety Southward tears up pro day

Mar. 5, 2014
 

Safety Dezmen Southward had an outstanding performance in physical testing at Wisconsinís pro day today, but whether that will move him up much in the NFL draft is another matter.

Southward has good size for a safety Ė last month at the NFL scouting combine he measured at 6-0 1/8 and 211 pounds Ė and ran and jumped better than any of the safeties who participated in the physical testing at the combine. Southward didn't work out at the combine because of an injury concern.

Tony Pauline of walterfootball.com said Southward ran the 40 in 4.37 seconds, and a source who had been apprised of the results confirmed that time and said Southward had a 42-inch vertical jump.

Comparing Southwardís 40 time to players who ran at the scouting combine can be problematic because pro day workouts usually yield faster times for two reasons: the FieldTurf running surface at the combine is a little slower than many of the surfaces players run on for pro days, and the combine is timed electronically, which also usually yields slightly slower times than hand timing.

However, Wisconsinís workout is held on FieldTurf, so the only difference was Southward was hand timed. Most teams thus wonít add any time to Southwardís 40 to convert it to a scouting combine time.

The best 40 by a safety at the combine was Florida Stateís Terrence Brooks (4.42 seconds), and the best vertical was 38 inches by Brooks and Utah Stateís Mo Alexander.

Southward generally is considered a later-round prospect. In a video interview after his workout at UW and posted on Madison.com, Southward said doctors at the combine held him out of workouts because they thought he might have a cracked verterbrae in his neck.

Southward sent his X-rays to Dr. Robert Watkins, the Los Angeles spine specialist who operated on Peyton Manning's neck. Watkins said Southward had a slight herniation in the C-4/C-5 disc in his neck and should have worked out at the combine.

"I donít think there will be any red flags," Southward said. "I sent my x-rays to the best doctors out there, Dr. Bob Watkins, everyone knows who he is. Definitely cleared me, told me he didnít see very much if anything at all. Every team will get that report.Ē

In a performance at the UW workout that NFL teams were monitoring closely, inside linebacker Chris Borland failed to improve his unimpressive 40 time from the combine. He ran today in the same 4.83 seconds he ran in Indianapolis. Borland appears to be a likely second-round pick, though some teams might worry about his speed.

Receiver Jared Abredaris stood on his testing from the combine and did only position drills.

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