Shirtless despite relatively chilly temperatures Wednesday, Towson pass rusher Ryan Delaire displayed his chiseled physique and crisp mobility for scouts during a series of outside linebacker and defensive end drills.
Delaire and cornerback Tye Smith drew a crowd of NFL personnel that included Ravens coach John Harbaugh, to Johnny Unitas Stadium for their Pro Day workout where both players improved upon their disappointing NFL scouting combine performances.
Healthy again after pulling his groin in February while running the 40-yard dash in 4.97 seconds at the combine and undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery in December, Delaire drew praise from scouts for his natural pass rushing ability. An AFC scout timed Delaire, 6 foot 4, 257 pounds, in 4.8 seconds with some scouts clocking him in the 4.7 range.
"He looked athletic and fast and ready to go," Harbaugh said of Delaire. "He's a pass rusher. We always need pass rushers. He'd be a good fit for us."
With former Towson star running back Terrance West, now with the Cleveland Browns, cheering him and Smith on, Delaire drew a lot of attention from NFL scouts. That included a meeting with the Philadelphia Eagles afterward.
Twenty-five scouts from 23 NFL teams attended the workout on the Towson campus. That included representatives from the Eagles, Ravens, Arizona Cardinals Washington Redskins, Denver Broncos, Buffalo Bills, St. Louis Rams, Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, Jacksonville Jaguars, San Diego Chargers, Seattle Seahawks, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, Cincinnati Bengals, New England Patriots, Houston Texans, Kansas City Chiefs, Tennessee Titans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, San Francisco 49ers, Oakland Raiders and the Miami Dolphins.
Following the workout, Delaire made it a point to head over and shake hands with Harbaugh with the Ravens coach congratulating him on his effort. Delaire has been projected as a middle-round to later-round prospect.
"A lot of teams said, 'Great job,'" said Delaire, who had a 33.5-inch vertical leap Wednesday. "I was able to speak to Harbaugh and he said I looked really good out there. I feel really good. I was able to show a lot and get more attention from teams. It was a very positive day.
"I feel like I did way better in my 40-yard dash. I heard 4.67 and some people said 4.7, so along those lines. Next stop, NFL, I'm coming."
Growing up in Connecticut, Delaire played basketball until his senior year of high school before earning a scholarship to Massachusetts-Amherst. After transferring to Towson, Delaire emerged as a third-team All-American who finished with 22.5 career sacks.
Delaire had 11 sacks, 14.5 tackles for losses and forced three fumbles last season before having to decline invitations to all-star games because of his knee surgery.
"Ryan brings something a little bit different because normally with someone that long, you don't associate speed and quickness, but he has it," Towson coach Rob Ambrose said. "His former days as a basketball player have served him quite well. There aren't that many guys that big and and tall that are physical and quick. He has the ability to get low and bend.
"You usually only see that from a guy like Elvis Dumervil, who's, sorry, 5-11 in cleats and Ryan is 6-4, flat-footed. He's been a complete sponge as a player. He can't learn enough. The fact that he still has room to grow at the next level is exciting."
Meanwhile, Smith drew good reviews from scouts after running an unexpected slow 4.6 at the scouting combine. His 40-yard dash times ranged from 4.47, 4.51 and 4.61 on Wednesday, according to scouts. The 4.61 was into a strong headwind, a scout noted.
A bigger cornerback at 6-foot tall, 184 pounds, Smith lost nine pounds from the combine when he admittedly bulked up too much and was 25 pounds heavier than he was listed during the season. Smith had a dinner meeting Tuesday night with the Saints and talked extensively with the Eagles on Wednesday.
"It went pretty good, I felt faster," Smith said. "I'm way faster than I was at the combine and I'm more fluid in my hip changes. I feel more explosive at this weight even though I dropped a couple of pounds. I'm hearing it was a positive, good day. I felt way more comfortable because this is where I played and all my brothers are here."
A Football Championship Subdivision All-American and all-conference selection, Smith played in the East-West Shrine all-star game. The three-year starter finished his career with 312 career tackles, six interceptions, six forced fumbles and 25 passes defended. Smith is projected as a late-round draft pick.
"Size is huge for him," Ambrose said. "He proved he's quick in a short area, is long and strong. He had to tackle Terrance West for a couple of years, so he's not shying away from anybody. ..
"These two guys have high-end skillsets. It's more their personalities, though. Each has talent, but they're both humble and hungry. They're playing at the next level, there's no question."
At the combine, Smith had the sixth-fastest 20-yard shuttle with a 3.96 time. He also had a 36.5-inch vertical leap, a 10-4 broad jump, bench pressed 225 pounds 15 times and had a 6.97 three-cone drill.
"He's long with good hands, runs well," Harbaugh said of Smith. "Good change of direction, good hips, all the things you look for in a corner.
"Both those guys worked really hard. They were ready and performed really well. I think Rob's done a phenomenal job. They've got a good-looking team. Towson is on the rise."
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