The hand-me-down black Dodge Neon that Bishop Sankey has been driving around campus the past four years has seen better days.
Sankey’s best days, it seems, are still in front of him, which is why he had the luxury, when asked, to ponder what new car he might soon be purchasing. The Huskies’ record-setting running back, appearing confident and relaxed at Washington’s Pro Day workout Wednesday, laughed at the question.
“I don’t know what I’ll be getting,” he said, “but it will definitely be different than that ’06 Dodge Neon.”
Sankey didn’t have much to prove, or much to do, during the workout at Dempsey Indoor Center before scouts and executives from at least 19 NFL teams, including Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and general manager John Schneider.
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After rushing for 1,870 yards as a UW junior in 2013, and after a strong showing at the NFL combine in February, Sankey is considered a top running-back prospect entering May’s NFL draft. He participated in only one timed drill Wednesday, a 60-yard shuttle run, and caught about a dozen passes from former UW quarterback Keith Price.
Many of his former UW teammates, however, did have much to prove, perhaps no one more than Price. Most draft analysts have Price projected as a late-round draft pick, at best, and some have questioned whether his size (6 feet 1, 203 pounds) is big enough and his arm is strong enough for the NFL.
Price has heard the criticism, and he tried to silence that with his first throw Wednesday — a beautifully lofted 65-yard strike to receiver Kevin Smith.
By one count, Price completed all but three of his 48 throws. He did this while wearing a black baseball cap, backward, with large white letters that read “DON’T DOUBT ME.”
Price, who threw a school-record 75 touchdown passes in three years as UW’s starting quarterback, was not one of the 350-some prospects invited to the NFL combine, a snub that confused and angered him. Wednesday was his one chance event to show he can play at the next level.
“Even when I was a kid, man, I was always having to prove myself,” said Price, who was timed by one scout at 4.99 seconds in the 40-yard dash. “In high school, we had Matt Barkley and he took all the shine. I didn’t really get any publicity — and I don’t do it for publicity; I do it for love of the game. And when I came here, they had Nick Montana jerseys being sold before he even stepped foot on campus, and I had to prove myself again. And now, after all my production here, I don’t get invited to the (NFL) combine and I have to prove myself all over again.”
Rob Rang, a senior draft analyst for NFLDraftScout.com, said Price’s workout was “very impressive.”
“I thought he entered today as a darkhorse candidate to get drafted,” Rang said. “Unfortunately, he’s going up against a really talented quarterback class, but I think he guaranteed he’ll get a shot — if not drafted — as an undrafted free agent. And I think he has enough arm talent and leadership characteristics to surprise people in the NFL.”
Smith also appeared to help his cause with a solid showing Wednesday. After suffering a knee injury in December 2011, Smith emerged as UW’s most dependable receiver as a senior last season.
Another former UW receiver, James Johnson, is trying to make a comeback from an injury. Johnson missed all of the 2012 season and then retired from the team last year because of a wrist injury, but he was one of Price’s top targets Wednesday.
“It takes a toll on a person,” Johnson said of his three wrist surgeries, “but I was able to come within myself and realize and understand that this is what I was born to do.”
• The other participants were Jonathan Amosa, Dorson Boyce, Travis Coons, Greg Ducre, Princeton Fuimaono, Sean Parker, Sione Potoa’e, Antavius Sims, Thomas Tutogi and Tre Watson.
• Tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, likely to be the first UW player drafted in May, was in attendance but did not participate as he recovers from foot surgery. He’s scheduled to be cleared by the end of April. He has visits planned with eight NFL teams, he said.
• Sophomore quarterback Cyler Miles, suspended from team activities, was one of about three dozen current UW players on hand for Pro Day.
Adam Jude: 206-464-2364
On Twitter: @a_jude