The top draft prospects from Oregon and Oregon State have televised job interviews this week.
Left tackle Tyrell Crosby, running back Royce Freeman and long snapper Tanner Carew, all former Ducks, and ex-Beaver running back Ryan Nall began workouts Friday at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
The NFL Network is airing all four days of the on-field drills live.
The 6-foot-5, 325-pound Crosby is projected as a second- or third-round pick after returning for his senior season with the Ducks following an injury-plagued 2016 campaign.
“You don’t have to worry about things as much, you know he’s going to take care of business,” Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert said of Crosby, who did not allow a sack last season, leading up to the Las Vegas Bowl. “It allows me to focus on my job and gives our running backs great opportunities.”
Crosby recorded a 30-inch vertical jump and ran the 40-yard dash in 5.23 seconds Friday.
Freeman considered leaving Oregon to enter the 2017 NFL draft before opting to play for coach Willie Taggart and the new staff. The 6-foot, 234-pound pro prospect led the Ducks with 1,475 yards and 16 touchdowns during his senior season.
“He’s been blocking his butt off, man,” Freeman said of Crosby after rushing for 122 yards and two touchdowns during the Ducks’ dominant win over Oregon State in the regular-season finale. “If you ask me he’s one of the best, if not the best, tackles in the country. He gives everything he has every Saturday for us.
“I’ve seen that for four years and I’m really just appreciative to have him as a teammate and a blocker for me.”
Freeman decided not to play with Crosby, who is from Las Vegas, in the bowl game. Oregon’s all-time leading rusher (5,621 career yards) is projected as a third- or fourth-round pick.
“I think there will be good depth (at running back), and you can always find that one guy who drops a lot further than they should,” ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said during a recent conference call with reporters. “Even Royce Freeman, he had a great start to his career and tailed off a little late. If people get down on Freeman because he didn’t finish strong, maybe Freeman gets into the fourth or fifth round and there’s a guy we know at a maximum level can give you a heck of a performance.”
Freeman ran the 40 Friday in 4.54 seconds — identical to former Georgia star running back Sony Michel. Freeman recorded the third-best time in the 20-yard shuttle — or short shuttle — at 4.16 seconds.
Only three long snappers have been drafted since 2010, but Carew is projected as a possible sixth- or seventh-round selection. The 6-1, 242-pound specialist will definitely be given an opportunity to make an NFL roster, even as an undrafted free agent.
Carew logged 5.0 seconds in the 40 and completed the three-cone drill in 7.26 seconds.
“That’s a huge goal of mine, I’d love to do that,” Carew said. “Just to snap a football for a living would be great. I treat it like the most important thing in the world. I treat my job like it’s everything.”
Nall was clocked at 4.58 seconds in the 40. He also proved to be just as agile as Freeman when he tied the former Duck for third best in the 20-yard shuttle at 4.16 seconds. Nall is projected as a seventh-round pick or an undrafted free agent after rushing for 810 yards and eight touchdowns for the 1-11 Beavers.
“He runs with an attitude and runs with purpose,” Oregon defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt said before the Ducks held Nall to 41 net yards rushing a year after he dominated the 2016 Civil War. “He’ll make you miss in the open field, he gets vertical, he has good vision. He’s a real force, he really is.”
The three Oregon players invited to the combine and other draft-eligible Ducks are expected to participate in the program’s annual pro day on March 15 inside the Moshofsky Center.