- David Ubben, College Football
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It had been five months since we've seen the FBS career leader in receptions (349) take the field and catch a pass.
That ended on Thursday when Oklahoma's Ryan Broyles stepped on the turf for 13 NFL scouts at the Sooners' Everest Indoor Training Center.
Broyles weighed in at 188 pounds, ran a 4.57-second 40-yard dash and showcased a 32.5-inch vertical leap in his first showcase for scouts since tearing his left anterior cruciate ligament late in a November victory over Texas A&M.
"I feel like today I showed up and showed I've been working hard. I have definitely been timing well. The scouts said the same thing," Broyles told reporters. "They don't expect me to be full speed and I don't expect the same. Being competitive, I wish it was in the 4.3 range. That's not the scenario. It just shows that I am working hard. I am getting my lateral movement back as well."
Typically it takes six to nine months to recover fully from a torn ACL.
Broyles should get faster as his recovery progresses, but as a fan of the game of college football, it was great to see video of one of the smartest receivers to come through the Big 12 back on the field running routes. Scouts cut his workout short, too, after seeing him cut and catch just a handful of passes.
They'd seen enough.
"I wanted to keep going. I have been working for months doing all my routes. So for them to cut it short shows that they have respect for me as a ball-catcher. I have been working for it," Broyles said. "I have been working hard these past few months just to show that I am a competitor. I am going to compete. I am going to be ready for camp. I am on my way."
The knee injury virtually assures that Broyles won't be going in the second round of the draft, as he might have if he were healthy. Instead, he projects more likely as a middle- to late-round pick.
That said, whichever NFL team selects him will be getting a steal. He's undersized, sure, but guys as quick as Broyles can come back and be the same player after knee injuries these days, and there's no question his work ethic will allow him to do that.
I'll be looking forward to seeing him back on the field soon.
3dDavid M. Hale