Monday, April 7, 2003
Updated: April 10, 6:51 PM ET
Leftwich's workout should keep him in top 10
By Len Pasquarelli
In his first workout since the end of the 2002 college season, and with his draft status and perhaps millions of dollars on the line, Marshall quarterback Byron Leftwich performed well in front of NFL scouts on Monday morning and likely solidified his status as a top 10 choice.But likely not well enough, most scouts acknowledged, to catapult himself into the top overall spot in the April 26-27 lottery. "I thought he handled the pressure well," said the personnel director of a team with a selection among the top 10 picks, and interested in Leftwich. "More important, he moved well, (and) did the things he had to do to really show people that he was (healthy) again." Leftwich checked in at 6-feet-5 3/8 and 242 pounds, a pound more than he had weighed at the combine sessions at Indianapolis in February. According to the stopwatches of three scouts who attended the workout at a Sarasota high school in Florida, he ran the 40 in times between 4.84-4-90 seconds. Not surprisingly, he demonstrated very good accuracy, one of the hallmarks of a college career in which he passed for nearly 12,000 yards. Most important for Leftwich, who was unable to audition before Monday because of a fractured left tibia sustained last November, was that he did not limp during the workout. He rolled to both his left and right, showed solid movement skills, and displayed no ill effects of the injury. Under the direction of former NFL quarterbacks coach Larry Kennan, who has been working with Leftwich for several weeks now, the quarterback also took all his snaps from under center. That was also considered a key by NFL scouts, since Leftwich operated most of his career from the shotgun. Teams have been concerned with Leftwich's ability to avoid the pass rush and, while his 40-yard time on Monday was not scintillating, it surprised a few scouts and is considered adequate for a quarterback of his size. Still, the prevailing opinion was that, in his 70 snaps, Leftwich probably wasn't quite impressive enough to significantly improve his draft standing. "I think he kind of held serve," said one scout. "He didn't drop but he didn't jump up, either, with this workout." The former Marshall star is scheduled to travel to Cincinnati on Tuesday to meet with club officials and, while the consensus is that the Bengals remain more fixated on Southern California star Carson Palmer, the performance on Monday morning may have helped Leftwich narrow the gap a bit. Sources continue to insist, though, the Palmer remains the favorite of the Bengals. And if the Chicago Bears do not select Leftwich with the fourth choice overall, he could slide to the bottom of the top 10. It is not certain yet if Leftwich will have any workouts for individual teams.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer for ESPN.com.