Draft: Seminoles Do Work At Pro Day
Updated: March 19, 2013.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — E.J. Manuel couldn't have had a better birthday.
The former Florida State quarterback threw a variety of passes with near perfect precision in front of dozens of NFL scouts and coaches on his 23rd birthday Tuesday as he continued his bid to improve his stock for next month's NFL draft.
"I don't think he hurt himself here one bit," Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said. "He made all the throws. You saw the athleticism."
Using handful of former Seminole teammates as receivers, Manuel worked close to an hour, showcasing his ability to throw on the run as well as drop back and throw long.
"I've always had a strong arm, but when you put your hips and the right kind of stuff in to it, the ball comes out great," said Manuel, who has been training almost non-stop since the end of Florida State's regular sseason. "And I feel like I did that today. That's really what I wanted show the scouts I've been working on."
The 6-5, 240-pound quarterback, who was 25-6 as a starter at Florida State, said he's talked to about two dozen NFL teams and has been invited asked for private workouts by several. He has also been invited to attend the draft in New York next month along with teammates Bjoern Werner, Xavier Rhodes and Menelik Watson, who are regarded as possible first-round picks.
"When I got the invite, I was about to cry, really," said Manuel, who was MVP of the Senior Bowl earlier this winter and among players who improved their status as the NFL combine in Indianapolis.
Manuel also was quick to inform reporters after Tuesday's workout that his mother is on the way to a full recovery from breast cancer. Manuel says he was off to celebrate his performance and birthday with his family before getting back to his training.
He was among more than a dozen Florida State players and a handful of Seminoles who ran, jumped, lifted weights and competed in versatility drills for a throng of NFL coaches and scouts as Florida State's annual pro day.
Running back Chris Thompson, who had knee surgery less than five months ago, decided against running the 40-yard dash on a slick, dew-covered field that greeted players on a cool, overcast morning that turned into a humid, sunny afternoon by the time Manuel began throwing.
"I didn't want to take any chances," said Thompson, who did have a 35-inch vertical jump indoors Tuesday. "I should be ready to go full speed in another month."
Former Seminole Greg Reid, who was kicked off the team a year ago and like Thompson is also rebounding from a knee injury, was thrilled to be back on the Florida State field for the first time since his dismissal from the school.
"It was a blessing," said Reid, who said he was troubled by a sore hamstring Tuesday. "It's about patience right now. I'm almost there."
Reid knows the pro teams have some questions about his past troubles, but claimed those are behind him.
"I thought about a lot of stuff and how crazy it was," said Reid, who was the nation's leading punt returner his freshman year at Florida State. "I had to change my ways a lot. I think I've learned my lesson."
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