Pitt's Graham takes run at higher draft spot
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Plenty of people were surprised at Ray Graham's 40-yard dash time at the NFL Scouting Combine recently in Indianapolis, but perhaps none more so than Graham himself.
This former Pitt running back clocked in at 4.8 seconds, the third-worst time among running backs at the combine, and took the field at Pitt's pro day Wednesday trying to improve his standing with scouts.
Graham did know his exact time Wednesday, but was confident that it was much better than what he showed at the combine.
"I ran a 4.8 [at the combine], I know that wasn't me at all," Graham said. "Anybody [who] knows me knows that I'm more quick than fast. I just wanted to show them I can get out of holes quick [and] I can move. I just wanted to step up to the challenge."
Graham also improved his vertical jump to 32 inches from 31 at the combine.
Graham wasn't sure what caused the slow time in Indianapolis. In his training before the event, he regularly clocked unofficial times of 4.5 or 4.6 seconds.
He said a hamstring injury that kept him out for the BBVA Compass Bowl in January still bothered him at times, but that it definitely felt better than it did.
"The week after the all-star game [the Jan. 19 East-West Shrine Game], it felt better," Graham said. "I felt myself opening up a little bit more. It definitely felt better. As far as me, I'm just getting ready, trying to stay healthy and come camp, have no worries at all."
When he met with teams and scouts at the combine, Graham said his 40-yard dash time came up, but teams told him just to improve it at the pro day.
"I'm not disregarding, not trying to make up for what I ran," Graham said. "I ran a 4.8. That's dead set in stone. But I play football. This is what I love to do. Put me on the field against anybody, and I'm going to try and out-[compete] the hardest person on that team."
Graham figures to be the first, and perhaps only, Pitt player taken in the April draft. He said he wasn't sure where he would be picked, but would meet with his agent over the next few weeks to get a better idea.
"[My job is] just to train, stay in shape," he said. "The draft will be here right around the corner, and the season is just around the corner. My job is to just stay in shape for whatever the next level has in store for me."
Graham was one of 12 former Pitt players to work out for the pro scouts.
Former Panthers receiver Mike Shanahan said he has put on about 10 pounds since the season ended, currently weighing in at 241 pounds, and plans to try and make the NFL as a tight end. Shanahan said he ran a 4.69 40-yard dash and did 18 reps on the 225-pound bench press.
The other Pitt players who worked out were quarterback Tino Sunseri, wide receiver Cam Saddler, offensive linemen Ryan Turnley and Chris Jacobson, tight end Hubie Graham, safeties Andrew Taglianetti and Jarred Holley, defensive ends Shayne Hale and Kris Wildman and kicker Kevin Harper.
• What: NFL draft.
• When: April 25-27.
• Where: New York.
• The skinny: The No. 1 pick belongs to the Kansas City Chiefs. ... The Steelers select 17th in the first round.
First Published March 7, 2013 12:27 am