Wisconsin football has always been, and will continue to be a program which prides itself on the professional caliber of its alumni. Names like J.J. Watt, T.J. Watt and Russell Wilson all called Madison home for a time. This year, names like Jack Cichy, Garret Dooley, Nick Nelson and Lubern Figaro among other are trying to make a name for themselves. With eager scouts and coaches looking on, Wisconsin football’s most promising young prospects ran through drills and feats of fitness aimed at catching the eye of any and all teams.
Here are three key takeaways from Tuesday’s Pro Day
Lubern Figaro will get a camp invite.
Safety Lubern Figaro had been an excellent role player for the entirety of the 2017 season, but was never really thought of as a game changing talent, at least not to those outside the locker room. Tuesday, Figaro was out to dispel any notion that he didn’t belong in the NFL.
Figaro posted the fastest 40-yard-dash out of all Wisconsin players at 4.42, a full tenth of a second faster than Derrick Tindal‘s second-place mark. His broad jump was measured at 123.5 inches, well over 10 feet of leaping ability. He posted a 36.5 inch vertical, a monster number for anyone who understands basic physics and or math. He racked up 14 reps of 225 on the bench, a high mark for a defensive back. To put it in perspective, fellow safety Joe Ferguson only mustered five total reps.
In addition to all his numbers impressing, Figaro participated in every single drill, something the likes of Nick Nelson, Jack Cichy and Natrell Jamerson among others could not claim. In essence, Figaro, a lesser known name, needed to showcase his ability across the spectrum, or fall prey to becoming just another name in the crowd. From what I saw Tuesday, don’t be surprised to see Figaro on an NFL roster this fall, he deserves every bit of attention that comes his way.
Jack Cichy‘s knee is far from hindering his performance.
Coming off a devastating ACL tear before the 2017 season, questions about Cichy’s ability to return at full strength inevitably lingered, and rightly so. ACL tears are career killers, it’s a challenge for anyone, regardless of athletic ability, to return at full strength. However, from Tuesday’s showcase, Cichy is showing no signs of setbacks.
Running drills alongside a healthy Garrett Dooley and Leon Jacobs, Cichy looked right at home, easily competing at their level, if not overshadowing them. Cichy recorded a 33.5 inch vertical, a respectable if not elite number for a LB, let alone a linebacker with a less than 100 percent knee. His three cone drill matched up well with the likes of Lubern Figaro and Natrell Jamerson, highlighting the strength of his knee, and mind.
Towards the end of the day, Cichy, alongside Dooley and Jacobs, ran through agility drill with a scout from the Minnesota Vikings, a team that’s expressed interest in the likes of Cichy. If you had no knowledge of a previous injury from Cichy, anyone with serviceable vision would have been able to tell his prowess as an athlete is clear. He has a bright professional future, and we couldn’t be happier to see his injury disappear into the past.
Alec James turned plenty of heads.
DE Alec James was the lifeblood of Wisconsin’s defensive line last season. When Chikwe Obasih went down early on, James stepped up to play a dominant and productive role for the Wisconsin defense. Tuesday, his dominance as a defensive player shown through in his Pro Day performance.
He posted a 40 time well under five seconds, running a twenty-yard shuttle in just over four. His vertical measured at 32.5 inches, and any display of explosive vertical athleticism goes a long way for linemen in particular. His broad jump was an inch shy of 10 feet, further emphasizing his raw athletic ability.
This combination of speed and explosiveness, especially in a defensive lineman, are generally enough to garner the attention of scouts and coaches alike. But when James stepped up to the bench press to crank out a smooth 26 reps, there wasn’t an NFL eye not trained on him. In combination with his clear athleticism, James showcased the strength necessary to succeed at the professional level, his Pro Day couldn’t have gone better.
Photo courtesy of The Big 1070