BY JEREMY HOECK
VERMILLION — To the average person, terms like “3-cone drill” or “broad jump” or “agility drill” naturally won’t mean much.
But to Dale Moss, the basketball-turned-football-star at South Dakota State, they mean everything.
One of 11-12 players who competed at Thursday’s NFL Pro Day in Vermillion, Moss put together a performance that will be talked about for a long time and likely vaulted him into the NFL Draft discussion.
Let’s examine his numbers:
- The 3-cone or “L-Drill” is what you seen in the video above, like a shuttle drill, but an off-shoot to the right where players weave around two cones and sprint back to the start. The best times at the NFL Combine last month were in the 6.50-6.55 range. Moss clocked a 6.32 on Thursday.
- The first test on Thursday was the vertical jump, which is exactly what it sounds like. Players stand straight up and jump as high as they can to reach certain marks. Moss, using that 6-foot-3 frame, reached 41.5 inches. Again, consider the top mark at the NFL Combine — 43.5. Moss would have been second there.
- Then came the broad jump, basically a standing jump horizontally. Moss went 10-feet, 10-inches officially, though his first attempt was in the 11 range but did not count.
- When it came time for position drills, Moss was catching passes in various routes from USD quarterback Dante Warren. Sure, a few were dropped by Moss, partly (in some cases) because of throws not being on target, but Moss seemed to make up for those on deep routes.
The consensus was that Moss needed to have a breakout performance (and continue to impress from there) in order to toss his name into the NFL Draft chatter.
Thursday’s efforts seemed to do exactly that.
•• Among the other athletes on hand were Kyle Sheehan and Darryl Jackson from SDSU, as well as Tom Compton, R.J. Polley, Marquise Butler, Jeremy Blout, Dion Price and Warren from USD. There were also players from Augustana (including Dan O’Keefe), U of Sioux Falls and Dakota State.
Of all the players on Thursday, including Moss, Compton was the one whose Draft stock wasn’t necessarily going to be harmed. But judging from the scout’s impressions of his position drills, Compton may have helped his case. He also bench-pressed 23 reps of 225 pounds, which was an increase for him from the NFL Combine last month.
•• In all, I saw scouts from 7 different NFL teams — Minnesota (had a couple, including a kid I know), Cincinnati, Detroit, Oakland, San Francisco, Seattle and Tampa Bay.