Baton Rouge – It wasn't a walk-off single for Jamal Adams; more, a run-off homer.
The LSU safety likely didn't need to do anything at LSU's pro day Wednesday, but after he scorched a 4.33-second time in his only 40-yard dash, he possibly locked up a position as a top five pick in the upcoming NFL Draft. The draft will be held April 27-29 in Philadelphia.
Adams (6 feet, 214 pounds), who finished his three-year career at LSU with 209 tackles and five interceptions, skipped a second chance to run the 40. But he'd accomplished what he'd wanted: lowered his time from the NFL Combine and likely ensured that he'll be the first safety drafted, possibly becoming the first top-five safety pick since Eric Berry went No. 5 overall to Kansas City in 2010.
"I sure hope so," Adams said. "I definitely feel like I had something to prove for myself in the 40, and that was to come out and run a faster time. I know at the combine, a 4.5 wasn't me."
A 4.56, to be exact. And it appears Adams was right, he's not a 4.5 – or 4.56 – player.
What he is, is a player who said he has Hall of Fame aspirations, and who takes elements of the best players in the game at his position and adds them to his own repertoire.
Adams was one of 17 former LSU players to participate in pro day. However, 18 did so overall, the 18th being former LSU track All-American Cyril Grayson. All of the players went through drills under the evaluation of NFL coaches and front office personnel, including Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis.
Saints assistant coaches conducted several of the drills.
"I think all of them performed well," Loomis said of the players. "We'll go back and analyze the numbers and talk about what we've seen at each position.
"I think more than anything else, at these pro days, it's a chance for our coaches to see the players but unique to this pro day (at LSU), all of our coaches are here and they get to run the workouts. There's an interaction that occurs so I'm anxious to hear our coaches talk about (the players)."
Grayson, who also ran a 4.33-second 40, may be an athlete who triggers discussion for NFL teams.
The former Rummel High track standout hasn't played football since high school. He went to LSU to run track and became a four-time NCAA champion, seven-time All-American and five-time All-Southeastern Conference performer.
"The experience today was unreal," Grayson said. "It was just a great feeling to be here, and I'm so appreciative for the opportunity. There are a lot of question marks raised because I haven't played football since 2011. So why should I even be here? But it's always been a passion of mine."
Grayson said he missed football while running track, and that it was difficult to watch LSU football games inside Tiger Stadium. But, he said, "People take different routes to get different places."
There's a possibility his will lead to the NFL. His chance is less of a surety than that of receiver Malachi Dupre, the former John Curtis High star who caught 98 passes for 1,609 yards and 14 touchdowns in three seasons at LSU.
Dupre, who ran a 4.52 at the combine, lowered his time to 4.46 on Wednesday. He has been asked about the moderate production he posted at LSU.
"I think the biggest question mark is the lack of production in the passing game as a whole, not just specifically me," he said. "So (I'm) just showing them that I can run every route and catch the ball. I think I did a good job of that.
"We had a great team filled with great players. Everyone had the ball. Obviously, we had a great running game. We just were a team that ran the ball more than we passed it, coaches felt like that was the best thing for us to do to win football games. You can't question that. I don't question that at all. I just tell them that I tried to do the best with every opportunity I was given."
The Saints have five picks in the first three rounds of the draft, and are continuing to do their due diligence in attending pro days and hosting potential draft picks at the team's practice facility.
"We can really do some good for our franchise if we do a good job this year," Loomis said. "So in that sense it's more critical simply because of the volume of picks that we have. But I think every year is critical for you to have success in the draft. We understand the history of the draft, we understand that you're not going to hit on every one and yet, we're trying to."
McCOWN RELEASE: Loomis also addressed the pending release of quarterback Luke McCown. Former Saints quarterback Chase Daniel rejoined the team via a one-year deal as an unrestricted free agent last week, and McCown will be released to make room. "We've got Chase Daniel and obviously Chase has been with us before," Loomis said. "We love what Luke did for us. This isn't anything critical about Luke, it's more about having the opportunity to have Chase back in our program."