Three Flashes’ shine at pro day

Lance Lysowski

Kent State defensive back Brian Lainhart did not have to be invited to the NFL Scouting Combine to catch the eye of pro scouts.

Lainhart, who was not one of 300 players invited to the event on Feb. 24, stood out at Kent State’s Pro Day.

Scouts from nine NFL teams that included the Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Jets, Baltimore Ravens and Miami Dolphins, were on-hand to watch 13 Flashes go through the same rigorous physical testing that takes place at the combine.

Lainhart, who graduated in December 2010, did not let the pressure phase him.

The 6-foot-1, 212 pound safety recorded 28 reps of 225 lbs., a 37.5-inch vertical jump, 10.5-foot broad jump and ran 4.25 seconds in the short shuttle.

His weight lifting mark would be top at the combine among defensive backs, while his other numbers rank him as one of the best safeties entering the 2011 NFL Draft.

When asked about his numbers compared to the players who were invited over him to the NFL Combine, Lainhart knew exactly where he stood.

“I would have been tops at everything at the combine, except for the vertical and the (40-yard dash),” Lainhart said. “I have everybody’s numbers. I printed out everybody’s numbers to see where I stacked up.”

While overall, Lainhart was impressive, he was disappointed in his time running the 40-yard dash. He was unofficially clocked at a 4.53 seconds, but the scouts added a tenth of a second to his time because Lainhart mistakenly wore track shoes. Scouts believe track shoes give an athlete the competitive advantage over a player wearing tennis shoes.

“I should not have wore those track shoes,” Lainhart said while shaking his head. “I should have worn tennis shoes. It would not have made much of a difference at all.”

Following the physical testing, players ran through positional drills where Lainhart continued to impress. The ball-hawking safety showed quick lateral movement, an ability to change direction quickly and displayed the ability to catch the football, which made him the Football Championship Series’ active leader in career interceptions.

“I thought my position work was the best part of my day,” Lainhart said. “That’s playing football, and that’s what I can do best.”

While scouts watched and recorded every move the players made, they kept a watchful eye on two additional Kent State players — linebacker Cobrani Mixon and defensive end/outside linebacker Monte Simmons.

Mixon wowed scouts with 39 reps of 225 pounds — which would be the best at the combine — but they were particularly impressed with Simmons’ performance in the weight room. While the defensive end/outside linebacker only recorded 22 reps, scouts complimented Simmons on fully extending his 48 inch wing span for every rep.

Mixon and Simmons also recorded 4.6 seconds in the 40-yard dash, which would have placed them fourth among draft-eligible linebackers.

“(The scouts) were just talking to me a little bit, telling me I did good in the position drills,” Mixon said. “We’ll just have to see what happens.”

The draft does not take place until April, but all three will have a busy month ahead. Lainhart is scheduled to have private workouts with several undisclosed teams, Mixon will likely draw similar interest and Simmons has another pro day to attend next week where he will work out in-front of additional scouts.

“I’ve got some thing set up so I’m excited about that,” Lainhart said. “It’s not bench pressing or running the forties, it’s a football workout. That’s what I do best.”

Contact Lance Lysowski at [email protected].