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Senior wide receiver, others impress at pro day

By Ben Warwick
On March 8, 2012

  • Senior wide receiver Patrick Walker makes a broad jump attempt Wednesday in Butler-Hancock at UNC’s pro day. Walker leaped 10 feet and 3/8 inches in his final attempt. Ben Warwick/The Mirror


Roughly an hour before his pro day workout started, UNC senior wide receiver Patrick Walker stepped into the Champions Room of Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion calm, cool and collected.
When he walked onto the field to perform in front of an NFL scout, that calm turned into absolute domination.
Walker, along with offensive lineman Amal Gumbs, defensive tackle Marcus Felker, cornerback Brandon Owens and safety Chuks Nweke all showcased their skills in front of a member of an NFL scouting service Wednesday afternoon.
Offensive lineman Lee Barbiasz also had his moment in front of scouts but took part in Colorado State's pro day, held in Fort Collins the Wednesday morning.
The highlight of Walker's day was the 40-yard dash, which he finished in 4.38 seconds. That's a faster time than those from all but five players who participated in the 2012 NFL Combine, which was held in Indianapolis in February.
Owens and Nweke also impressed in the 40-yard dash, recording times of 4.44 and 4.47 seconds, respectively. Felker added 24 reps in the 225-pound bench press.
Walker was scheduled to run routes and catch passes from UNC sophomore quarterback Seth Lobato, but that plan was cancelled, however, due to cold temperatures.
Walker, who recorded a 37-1/4 inch vertical jump, a 10-3/8 broad jump and 14 full reps with a 225-pound bench press, credited strength and conditioning coach Lavell "Dinky" Williams for his training.
"I've been working out with Dink as well," Walker said. "He's really been helping me a lot. I feel like he's one of the main reasons why I feel so good today."
Williams came to UNC from Alcorn State, having worked with football head coach Earnest Collins Jr. 
Williams was with Walker every step of the way Wednesday, giving reminders to stay focused on goals set when training began two months ago.
"It's like I tell him when I tell you to visualize something," Williams said. "You've got to visualize yourself getting above what you need and getting it. He has in his mind, you've got this one goal, you've got one thing to do right now — focus on it and do it."
Collins also watched his top wideout from 2011 work for a shot at the next level.
"I told him, ‘Just run it like there's a million (scouts) here, and you run it your best,'" Collins said. "He grabbed pretty good numbers in everything he did today. I was proud of him."
UNC alumnus and current Washington Redskins safety Reed Doughty was also on hand to see current Bears workout for the scout, and he said he's excited to see more professional prospects come from his alma mater.
"I think Northern Colorado, for being a smaller school, has produced," Doughty said. "Today is all about Patrick and the other guys working out, and hopefully they can put their best foot forward and feel good about what they did."
The next step for Walker could come in late April in the NFL Draft. If he is not taken in any of the seven rounds, he can sign with any interested team via free agency. If he is given an invitation to an NFL training camp, he'll have a chance to impress and secure a contract.
Walker, however, is not focusing on any of that. He said he's taking it all in stride and taking advice from former Bears like Doughty who have already been through the process.
"I can definitely learn from him," Walker said. "You're at a smaller school, so you have to work 10 times harder than the next guy. Being under the radar, I feel, helped me because I performed better and I feel like I had to prove a lot to everyone in the NFL."

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