2007 Grand Valley State Pro Day
By: Kyle Schwerin
Today, some of the best athletes to ever grace the campus of Grand Valley State were showing off their skills for the guys at the next level. QB Cullen Finnerty, WR Eric Fowler, DE Derrick Jones, DB Buster Larkins, RB Astin Martin, FB Mike McFadden, and WR Terry Mitchell were all showcased in the Fieldhouse Arena in front of NFL scouts from all across the country. The teams represented at the pro day included: Jacksonville Jaguars, St. Louis Rams, Green Bay Packers, Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Giants, Cleveland Browns, Philadelphia Eagles, New England Patriots, Detroit Lions, San Francisco 49ers, New York Jets, Minnesota Vikings, and Carolina Panthers.
Along with the Grand Valley crew, a couple members of fellow GLIAC schools SVSU, Ferris, and Northwood were also there. Most notably, DB Joe DiGiorgio and DT Damion DeRosia from SVSU, LB Mike Klobucher from Ferris, and the workout warrior of the day as far as defensive players were concerned, LB Charleston Hughes from Northwood.
The day started with everyone getting measured for their heights and weights.
Cullen Finnerty came in at an impressive NFL size, measuring just under 6′2″ and 223 pounds, up from his season-listed weight of 210.
Eric Fowler was checked under his 6′3″ school-listed height, measuring the same as Finnerty at just under 6′2″, and also was bulked up from his listed 198 pounds, up to 210.
Derrick Jones looked the most impressive of any of the players at the workout, although he also measured in under his listed height. Jones was listed at 6′5″ but was measured at just barely under 6′4″, and 284 pounds. Not much more than his 278, but considering that he will be moving to defensive end or possibly linebacker at the next level, and the look of his physique since the end of the season, you can bet that he lost some unnecessary weight and put on muscle.
Buster Larkins was one of the few guys who actually was measured at less than his playing weight. He was measured at just under 5′11″ and 185 pounds, 5 under his listed weight.
Astin Martin came in 2 inches below his 5′9″ listed height, and at 183 pounds. He looked very small, but showed an impressive amount of muscle, evident by his numbers in the bench press.
Mike McFadden, who was first being moved from defensive end to linebacker, and is now slated to play fullback at the next level, came in at 5′10″, severely under his 6′1″ listed height. He also was at 246 pounds compared to his 255 that is listed, but that seems right for the position move.
Terry Mitchell was also under his listed height. 6′2″ on the Lakers website turned in to 6′0.5″ at the pro day, and he also weighed in at 206 pounds.
As the workouts actually started, with the vertical jumps not turning out anything too eye-popping, the attention turned towards the bench presses and that’s probably where the highlight of the day was.
First up was Cullen Finnerty (left) who ended up leading the entire field with an impressive 25 reps of the 225-lb bar, resulting in some great reactions from the scouts in attendance and putting Cullen as the #1 QB in the nation for bench reps measured this individual workout season so far. This out-dueled Derrick Jones’ 24, Mike McFadden’s 21, and also the 330+ pound Damion DeRosia from Saginaw Valley. Astin Martin, although small in stature, put up a great number at 16 reps, followed by Eric Fowler with 14 and Buster Larkins at 7. Terry Mitchell did not lift.
Next up was the 40-yard dash, where Cullen once again impressed (pictured below). Each player ran on the indoor track of the Fieldhouse arena, considered a very fast surface. Cullen ran times of 4.62 and 4.65. These numbers actually place Cullen as the #3 fastest QB of the ones who have been measured at the NFL Combine or other Pro Days. He sits behind Boise State’s Jared Zabransky and Washington’s Isaiah Stanback.
Eric Fowler also impressed scouts in the 40-yard dash, recording times of 4.53 followed by a 4.43 that drew reactions from the crowd.
Derrick Jones showed great speed for a man of his size, recording consistent times of 4.75 and 4.72 which places him in the top 15 in the country of defensive ends who have been timed so far.
Buster Larkins had times of 4.59 and 4.51, Astin Martin ran in 4.57 and 4.66, and Mike McFadden also recorded a 4.73 but pulled up at the end with an apparent quadricep injury. He would not participate in any more workout drills, but did catch passes out of the backfield from Finnerty later in the workouts, albeit while nursing his right leg.
Terry Mitchell (right) was the center of attention during the 40-yard dash though. The former all-state track performer from Port Hurton, MI recorded blistering times of 4.35 and 4.41, by far the tops of the workout.
Next, the players showed off their skills in the short shuttle, 3-cone drill, and long shuttle. The basketball arena floor proved to be mildly treacherous with multiple players losing their footing and attempting the drills a couple different times to get a clean reading on their abilities. Joe DiGiorgio from Saginaw Valley showed some great acceleration in all of these drills, impressing the most of the notable players from the attending schools. Derrick Jones showed solid initial burst and an impressive reach during the short shuttle, and each player showed great hustle when finishing out the drills, making sure they were at full-speed all the way through the finish line. Astin Martin (left) was most impressive of the Grand Valley players in the 3-cone drill which measures a player’s agility and ability to change direction. Terry Mitchell’s straight-line speed also equated to good balance and agility in the 3-cone drill as he also recorded a decent time.
After the measurable workouts were done, Cullen Finnerty had the spotlight as he exhibited his arm while throwing passes to Eric Fowler (right), Terry Mitchell, Astin Martin, and Mike McFadden. Finnerty looked very impressive on all of the short routes, and every receiver exhibited great hands. As they moved to deeper routes, Finnerty showed a small tendency to throw behind his receiver on routes around 15 to 20 yards, but still showed great velocity. Due to the workout being inside, deeper routes weren’t able to be thrown because of the low ceiling. Cullen will be showing off his deep arm strength when he attends the Central Michigan Pro Day on Thursday. Cullen also showed some very impressive velocity and accuracy while rolling to his right and left, but his receivers let him down when they dropped a couple passes that were perfectly on-target.
During Finnerty’s throwing workout, Eric Fowler and Terry Mitchell showed great cuts and aggressiveness to move upfield after the catch, along with Astin. McFadden, while laboring due to his injury prior in the day, looked somewhat slow in his routes and cuts, no doubt due to his leg, but still motored through and exhibited some good hands for a player who hasn’t been in the backfield or catching passes since high school.
The last event of the day was placing the defensive players through their own drills. Derrick Jones (above) looked solid when the NFL scouts ran the players through some high-stepping drills and then ran him through his own defensive end drills. The workouts got strenuous towards the end, but Jones powered through and showed good reaction off the snap and a good motor around the edge. He was also run through some very tough change of direction drills where he showed great balance.
Overall it was a great workout for Grand Valley in general, as this was significantly more attended than it was thought. Grand Valley was expecting anywhere between 8-10 teams to show up, but instead had 12-14 teams being represented. The media coverage was definitely up from what Kircus and Anes got to experience, which was the last time that GVSU had it’s own Pro Day. The success the Laker football team is experiencing is no doubt getting them tons of national recognition, and it’s something that the school should be ready to experience for the next couple years with guys like Brandon Barnes, Brandon Carr, and Anthony Adams expecting to make noise at a pro day next season, and Dan Skuta not far behind.
Terry Mitchell participating in the short shuttle:
Buster Larkins (in some great shoes) in the short shuttle:
Cullen Finnerty in the short shuttle drill:
Derrick Jones, 40-yard dash:
Mike McFadden, bench press: