On March 10, in a matter of 4.5 seconds, http://www.niuhuskies.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/spann_chad01.html">Chad Spann went from likely being an undrafted free agent to a near-lock as an NFL draft pick.
The former NIU running back wowed scouts with his 40-yard dash time at NIU's pro day.
The 16 scouts in attendance at the http://dekalbparkdistrict.com/">DeKalb Recreation Center timed Spann with their own stopwatches. Times ranged from 4.47 to 4.52 seconds. No matter what time any individual scout took from that range, Spann's agent Ken McNeill was pleased.
"Everyone knew that Chad was a great player, the only thing they were unsure of was how athletic he was," McNeill said. "At his pro day, he clearly showed that he's athletic enough to play in the NFL."
In the immediate aftermath of the pro day, representatives from different teams each told Spann the same thing.
"Teams told me that I was on their board of draftable players," Spann said. "Though anything can happen now, because a lot of things can happen between now and draft day. And anything can happen on draft day."
As pro days around the country wrap up this week, teams will start to schedule individual workouts with players.
Spann has already conducted private workouts with the Chicago Bears and his hometown Indianapolis Colts. Other teams that have contacted Spann include the Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens and New York Jets.
Another team that may use a draft pick on Spann is the same team that took former NIU defensive end http://www.nfl.com/players/larryenglish/profile?id=ENG571656">Larry English with the 16th overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft.
"San Diego's general manager http://www.chargers.com/team/staff/a-j-smith/6c7c44d5-f76e-471a-85c8-439dfee97abb"> A.J. Smith was there and we got to talk for a while about a day where I can work out for them," Spann said.
McNeill has been with Spann since January, and is as optimistic as ever about his client's prospects in the NFL draft, set for April 28-30.
"I believe that Chad has done enough to get drafted," McNeill said. "After his pro day performance, I would be shocked if he does not get drafted."
If Spann is not drafted and the NFL's current work stoppage is still ongoing, no NFL team will be able to sign him as a free agent.
While Spann may have been the reason why the majority of scouts were in attendance at the March 10 pro day, there were a few of Spann's former teammates that made positive impressions.
Former NIU linebacker Alex Kube may have put on the best show, according to Spann.
"Alex Kube really surprised me," Spann said. "He transformed himself physically since the last time I saw him at the Humanitarian Bowl. He looked really good during all of the drills."