By David Seigerman
A couple of tight ends did what they came to Indianapolis to do -- keep themselves relevant.
Colt Lyerla, who left Oregon two games into the 2013 season, validated his athletic credentials on Saturday, running the third-fastest 40-yard dash among tight ends (4.61 seconds). He finished behind only North Carolina's Eric Ebron (4.60), widely considered the top tight end prospect available, and Tennessee State's A.C. Leonard (4.50).
Lyerla and Leonard have some baggage they'll need to overcome before teams are willing to judge them solely on the merits of their football skils. Lyerla was suspended for an undisclosed violation and was later arrested on charges of cocaine possession. Leonard left Florida for TSU after pleading no contest to a misdemeanor battery charge.
Both showed the kind of athleticism that will tempt coaches and GM. Lyerla posted the best vertical by far (39 inches), and he and Leonard tied for the best broad jump (10 feet, 8 inches). If they made equally convincing statements in whatever interviews they had with teams on site, then the trip to Indianapolis would have paid off. They did not get themselves eliminated from consideration.
Another tight end had a curious Saturday. Washington's Austin Seferian-Jenkins, my top-rated tight end, wasn't able to participate in the positional drills. Reportedly, a foot injury was identified during his physicals in Indianpolis, which kept him from running the 40 or doing the other tests.
ASJ told the NFL Network that he "didn't get cleared medically," which won't impact the way too many coaches and scouts view him. More alarming was the hint that Seferian-Jenkins might not be ready for his Pro Day, which isn't until April 2nd -- six weeks from now.