Strong winds and a healthy collection of NFL scouts show up just about every year for UNLV’s pro day.
The heavy winds made another appearance Thursday, but this time the annual workout at Rebel Park was light on scouts.
UNLV put on pro day as planned even though more in-demand programs Boise State and San Diego State also scheduled theirs Thursday. So with only three scouts in attendance — representing the Kansas City Chiefs, New York Giants and San Diego Chargers — it resembled more of a private workout.
At least 16 teams attended last year’s pro day to see wide receiver Ryan Wolfe and offensive lineman Joe Hawley.
There were far more players from last season’s UNLV team (nine) than scouts on hand this time. Offensive linemen John Gianninoto and Matt Murphy had the most at stake.
The 6-foot-3-inch, 297-pound Gianninoto has received much attention considering he wasn’t invited to the NFL scouting combine. His agent, Brian Adkins, said Gianninoto was tabbed as a sixth-round prospect by a Philadelphia Eagles area scout for the draft, which is April 28 to 30.
"I don’t think he’ll get drafted, but he could," National Football Post draft expert Wes Bunting said. "He has decent size. He’s experienced. He’s a high-character guy."
Gianninoto’s main objective at pro day was to show he could run, and he was clocked in the 40-yard dash in 4.98 seconds on one attempt. Only two offensive linemen at the NFL scouting combine broke five seconds.
He also bench pressed 225 pounds 21 times and had a 32-inch vertical leap and a broad jump of 8 feet, 11 inches.
"I wish I could get a couple of more shots at a couple of more events, but overall it was a good day," Gianninoto said. "There’s always something you can do better."
Adkins said most teams are interested in Gianninoto at center, but he is also being considered at guard.
"Center isn’t usually a position where many are drafted, but a lot of teams need centers this year," Adkins said.
The 6-3, 304-pound Murphy can also play multiple positions. His agent, Steve Caric, said most scouts are looking at Murphy at guard, but some like him at right tackle. Caric said 20 to 25 teams consider Murphy a draft prospect who could go between the fifth and seventh rounds.
"They’re surprised he didn’t get a combine invite," Caric said.
Murphy on Thursday posted a 5.14 in the 40, 25 repetitions in the bench press, a 33-inch vertical jump and a 9-4 broad jump. Those numbers compare favorably with linemen in the combine.
"I thought it went real well," Murphy said.
Another prospect, 6-3, 315-pound defensive tackle Isaako Aaitui, could only watch the workout. He underwent surgery on his left knee 2½ months ago and faces another six months of rehabilitation.
Aaitui is a relative newcomer to football and is expected to receive a shot as an undrafted free agent by someone willing to take on a project.
"I’m here to show I’m going to be ready to go play," Aaitui said.
Contact reporter Mark Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2914.