FOOTBALL

UA football: Rain, sleet - so what?

Wildcat seniors strut their stuff for NFL scouts despite it all
2012-03-20T00:01:00Z 2013-11-13T19:32:51Z UA football: Rain, sleet - so what?Ryan Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
March 20, 2012 12:01 am  • 

Mother Nature and the football gods conspired to ruin Nick Foles' pro day.

The Arizona Wildcats' all-time leading passer wouldn't let it happen.

For three hours Monday, Foles ran, jumped and - when the time came - went outside to the Jimenez Practice Facility and threw passes in a driving hailstorm.

"It's rainy, it's sleeting, it's everything - but it's fun," Foles said. "I'm going to play in this environment."

This from a Texas guy who admitted a few years ago that he transferred from Michigan State to Arizona because of the weather: "I just didn't enjoy being cold."

Foles apparently forgot that Monday.

"When it comes down to it, we're throwing the rock around and doing what we've always done. It's a little slippery, but I thought the guys did a great job catching the ball."

Foles' willingness to brave the weather, coupled with his improvement in the 40-yard dash, should only help his stock in the upcoming NFL Draft. Foles was timed at between 4.95 and 5.05 seconds in the 40 on Monday, still sluggish but faster than his 5.15 time at last month's NFL combine. His vertical leap, measured at 30 1/2 inches at the combine, improved by a few inches.

Foles' trademark accuracy stayed the same. Wearing a Polo baseball cap, long-sleeved T-shirt and shorts, Foles zipped 70 passes to a half dozen receivers. He "probably missed three or four," Foles said. Former UA quarterbacks coach Frank Scelfo put Foles through his paces in front of 36 scouts from 26 NFL teams.

Analysts have listed Foles as the seventh-best quarterback available in this year's draft, though his ranking could change based on Monday's results.

The 6-foot-5-inch, 240-pound Foles was one of about a dozen Wildcats seniors who performed for scouts Monday. Wide receiver Juron Criner improved his 40 time incrementally from the combine, but showed enough body control and soft hands during the workouts to make him an early- to mid-round selection.

Criner, who has been training in his hometown of Las Vegas since January, said he "came out here and did my best."

"No pressure - we do this day in and day out," he said. "This is stuff that you have to do unconsciously."

Cornerback Trevin Wade participated in a few drills, but chose not to run the 40-yard dash.

David Douglas blew his teammates away. The wide receiver ran a 4.39-second 40-yard dash and had a vertical jump of 36 1/2 inches.

"David did what we asked him to do while he was here. I think he showed today that we didn't ask him to do enough," Scelfo said. "David made some money today."

Foles will spend the next month working out for teams, though it remains to be seen which ones are most interested in him.

Denver Broncos executive John Elway attended Arizona's loss at Colorado last November, and visited a Wildcats practice a week later. It's unclear whether the Broncos' pending acquisition of free agent Peyton Manning will affect their interest in the UA passer.

Foles said Monday that he'd welcome a chance to learn under Manning, a future Hall of Famer.

"Whatever the situation is - if Manning was there, that'd be a great guy to learn from," Foles said. "That guy's amazing. He's one of the best quarterbacks to learn from. Last year, I was watching his tape. To (possibly) tutor under a guy and learn and pick his brain and see how he does … If I can take any bit away from that, that would be awesome."

Based on how he played Monday, Foles would also be a good fit in Green Bay, Buffalo or any other cold-weather city.

"All that matters is one team falling in love," Foles said. "All I can do is the best I can do."

Up next

• What: UA spring game

• Where: Glendale Community College

• When: Noon Saturday

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