LSU's Daniels getting up to speed for scouts
Cornerback runs 4.45 for 40 yards during pro day
Thursday, March 10, 2005
By Benjamin Hochman
Staff writer
BATON ROUGE -- Wednesday's pro day at LSU was an undercard of sorts.

While the big three prospects decided to rest lingering injuries and set their sights on the next NFL workout at LSU later this month, Tigers cornerback Travis Daniels took full advantage of the spotlight.

Daniels, not nearly as heralded as cornerback Corey Webster, center Ben Wilkerson or defensive end Marcus Spears, ran the 40-yard dash in 4.45 seconds and showed off a 37-inch vertical leap.

"I was strong out of the blocks," Daniels said of his footwork drills. "And I ran a lot better than the combine."

Two weeks ago in Indianapolis, Daniels had an average workout for NFL personnel. His 40-yard dash time at the RCA Dome was 4.59 seconds. But he ran better in the friendly confines of LSU's indoor practice facility.

"And," Daniels said, "I think I can get my 40 time down. I want to show the clubs that weren't here what I can do (at the March 31 pro day)."

Daniels doesn't have the credentials of Webster, but he started in the secondary for two years, finishing his career with 110 tackles, two interceptions and two sacks.

Webster is second in LSU history with 16 interceptions, and he was selected first-team All-Southeastern Conference three times. He is considered one of the top cornerbacks in the draft.

Daniels was penciled in as a potential second- or third-round draft pick entering the combine, but he slipped, said his agent, John Hamilton. But Hamilton said his client is a potential third-rounder following Wednesday's workout.

"I consider myself as a cornerback who can play safety like a safety," Daniels said. "My versatility is a strength for me. I have the ability to play both. Whenever you can get a guy that can play five positions as opposed to one, you always make yourself more marketable."

And coming from a Nick Saban defense has its benefits. Just ask Randall Gay.

Gay broke his arm during the 2003 season, which opened the door for Daniels to play. Despite running 4.33 seconds and 4.36 seconds during his pro day, Gay didn't have much game experience to fall back on, and his draft stock plummeted. He went undrafted. But Gay signed as a rookie free agent with New England. After a couple of teammates' injuries, he started in the Super Bowl.

"I know what kind of a guy he is, and you could see he had it in him," Daniels said. "Even while I was starting at corner -- and he was playing the inside -- I always went to him for advice. I knew if they gave him a shot in the NFL, he'd step up to the challenge. He and I are real close. I talked to him a lot throughout the season."

All I can say is Randall Gay played himself to stay in the starting lineup with the PAts and this guy, Daniels, can play both safety and corner and probably special teams. I hope this kid gets some consideration if he is available in the 3rd round.