INDIANAPOLIS — Bishop Sankey’s college production figured to mean his place among the running backs available for the NFL draft was pretty safe.
But Sankey, already generally considered one of the top five running back prospects, took no chances Sunday when running backs participated in drills at the NFL combine, turning in one of the best overall performances of the day.
Sankey, who had already finished second in the 225-pound bench press with 26 reps, then ran an official 40-yard dash time of 4.49 that ranked tied for ninth and surprised some analysts who have pegged him as more of a pound-and-slash type of back.
Sankey’s time, in fact, was ahead of the likes of Oregon’s De’Anthony Thomas (4.50), Baylor’s Lache Seastrunk (4.51) and Arizona’s Ka’Deem Carey (4.70).
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Sankey then pretty flawlessly ran through the rest of the workouts, including pass-catching drills, catching the eye of at least one draft analyst who had wondered ahead of time about his hands.
“I thought the Sankey kid caught the ball well, which I wanted to see him do,” said NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock, who mentioned Sankey as one of the better running back performers on the day.
When he met the media Friday, Sankey said if he turned in good workout numbers, he might not do much at Washington’s Pro Day April 2. At first glance, it appears he may be able to rest on what he did in Indy.
Sankey was the only player with local ties who participated in workouts Sunday.
Auburn star a Sherman fan
Auburn cornerback Chris Davis found himself honored recently by the Cartoon Network for his return of a missed field goal against Alabama that sent the Tigers to the BCS title game.
One person he met during the show was Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, who was receiving and presenting an award, and Davis said the two hit it off well.
“He’s a great person,” Davis said. “Obviously on the field you get people trying to judge you one way or the other. But after sitting down and talking to him, he’s a good man. I really respect him.”
Davis said he asked Sherman how to prepare for life in the NFL.
“He said it’s going to take a lot of film work,” Davis said. “You’ve got to know your opponents.”
Davis will be a limited participant at the combine after recently hurting his hamstring.
Va. Tech player inspired by Chancellor
One particularly intriguing player here is Virginia Tech cornerback Antone Exum, who played just three games in 2013 due to injuries. He had been considered potentially one of the better defensive backs in the nation before being hurt.
Exum, though, is healthy now, and while he’s generally projected as a mid-round pick, he confidently told reporters he doesn’t want to play safety because “I think I’m the best corner in the draft, to be honest. That’s just the way I feel about it. So I don’t know why I would play safety.”
In fact, at 6 feet, 213 pounds, Exum more closely fits the mold of the bigger cornerbacks that many teams are searching for to replicate the success of the Seahawks, and a few others.
Exum knows the Seahawks well, saying he has followed them the past few years due in part to his relationship with Seattle safety Kam Chancellor. Chancellor was a senior at Virginia Tech in 2009 when Exum was in his first year there.
Exum credited Chancellor with helping prepare him for college football.
“Just basically preparation and how to be a professional on the field and in the meeting room,” Exum said. “Just how he handles things, how he focuses going out to practice.”
Report: Bryant to be released
According to a tweet from Alex Marvez of Fox Sports, the Seahawks are expected to release defensive end Red Bryant to free up salary-cap space to re-sign free agent Michael Bennett.
The move would save $5.5 million in cap space. Bryant was also due a $3 million roster bonus March 14. Bryant is one of the leaders of the defense, voted this year as a team captain by teammates. He also is one of just three members of the team who predate coach Pete Carroll, having been drafted in 2008.
Muema abruptly leaves combine
Well, file this one under the strange-but-true category. San Diego State running back Adam Muema abruptly left the NFL combine without working out Sunday, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune. That’s strange but definitely not the strangest part of the story.
According to the Union-Tribune, Muema said he was “following God” because God told him if he skipped the combine, he would play for the Seahawks. He went on to say that playing for the Seahawks is his “dream.”
“God told me to sit down, be quiet and enjoy the peace,” Muema told the Union-Tribune from the Indianapolis airport.
Muema is generally considered a late-round pick, but it’s unlikely the Seahawks would have much interest in him with a roster containing Marshawn Lynch, Christine Michael and Robert Turbin.
Staff reporter Jayson Jenks contributed to this report.