PITTSBURGH — Representatives from 10 NFL teams gathered at Rooney Field on Duquesne’s campus on Wednesday for the Dukes’ annual pro timing day, and the star attraction was wide receiver Nehari Crawford.
Crawford turned in his second straight all-NEC performance as a senior in 2018, finishing his collegiate career sixth in program history with 4,274 all-purpose yards.
A pro prospect as both a receiver and a kick returner, the big event for Crawford was the 40-yard dash, and despite a 25-degree temperature and frost on the field, he turned in a 4.46-second time, according to this reporter’s stopwatch.
Crawford also ran a 4.37-second short shuttle, a 6.91-second three-cone and an 11.39-second 60-yard shuttle. He had a 10-foot-3-inch broad jump and a 33-inch vertical jump and did 11 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press.
All in all, Crawford was pleased with his day of work and said he got positive responses from the scouts in attendance.
“It was a great day,” Crawford said. “Overall, I feel good about my performance.”
MAKING AN IMPACT
The 10 teams represented at the pro day were the Pittsburgh Steelers, Arizona Cardinals, Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, Green Bay Packers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Oakland Raiders, New York Jets, New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers.
That’s a good level of attendance for an FCS school, which attests to the desirability of Crawford, and also the rising profile of the Duquesne program, which has put several players into pro football in recent years, including current Denver Broncos long snapper Christian Kuntz and Birmingham Iron offensive lineman Larson Graham.
“Knowing those guys see interest in me and my teammates is a great feeling,” Crawford said. “It’s showing the young guys. They guys came to see us doing it. Now they know that it’s possible.”
AROUND THE FIELD
Though Crawford was the star attraction, some of his Duquesne teammates drew complimentary evaluations.
Offensive lineman Matt Fitzpatrick showed his athleticism with an 8-foot-11 broad jump, a 28.5-inch vertical jump and a 4.87-second short shuttle. He was also the top man on the bench, putting up 23 reps.
Corner Jonathant Istache (5-foot-8, 180 pounds) matched Crawford with a 33-inch vertical, had a 9-foot, 10-inch broad jump and ran an unofficial 4.62-second 40-yard dash.
The underclass Dukes have had four of their 15 spring practices and are working toward their spring game, which will be April 13 at 3 p.m. at Rooney Field.