Jaron Brown walked into Clemson's indoor practice facility Thursday morning as an afterthought, not much more than a dot on the NFL's landscape map of prospective wide receivers.
He walked out several hours later as the talk of the town.
In a post-event review of Clemson's Pro Day, the website DraftInsider.com raved about the show that Brown put on for the 46 scouts, coaches and NFL administrators in attendance.
"Jaron Brown had the workout of the day," wrote the website's blogger. "Timed 4.40 in the forty, posted a 35.5-inch vertical jump, 10′ 4”-broad jump and completed 17-reps on the bench. Turned in a sensational pass catching workout. As one coach told me, “he was overshadowed by the other two guys but he’s going to play in the NFL.”
Performing in the shadows is, of course, nothing new for Brown, who during his four seasons as a Tiger has worked behind some of the top pass-catchers in Clemson history in DeAndre Hopkins, Sammy Watkins and Jacoby Ford. He redshirted his freshman year behind Aaron Kelly.
He concluded his senior season with 21 catches for 345 yards, and his career with 87 receptions for 1,186 yards and eight touchdowns. He played the 2012 season as a graduate student, earned two All-ACC Academic honors, and was named to the ACC academic honor roll four times.
When his chance came Thursday to make his case for a career in the NFL, he was well-prepared and ready to roll.
"I was a fun day, and I think I did a pretty good job," said Brown. "It was kind of nerve-wracking, getting up early, coming down for the mini-interview process and all that. But it's really all about performing."
Brown said that during his training leading up to pro day, he worked on various drills and on improving his time in the all-important 40.
"What I've been working on hardest in my training has been the L-drill and three-cone drill, and of course the 40," he said. "I'm pretty pleased, because of things I worked on in my training, and it's good to see those things pay off.
"I wanted a higher number on the bench press than I got, and was going for 37 on the vertical jump and got 35.5, but that was a PR."
Brown believes his versatility as a wide receiver will help him get his foot in the NFL's door.
"I think I can bring everything to the table for an NFL team," he said. "I feel like I'm a guy who can go up and catch it and can play multiple positions and special teams.
'Today was exciting."
Following are more thumbnail evaluations from DraftInsider.com about some of the Tigers that participated in Clemson's Pro Day:
DeAndre Hopkins/WR: Was timed as fast as the low 4.4’s on a number of watches but was later given an “official” time of 4.52. Except for two drops late in the session his pass catching workout was described as “dazzling”.
Malliciah Goodman/DL: Tipped the scale at 273lbs then ran times of 4.7s/4.65s in the forty. Posted marks of 33-inches in the vertical jump and 9′9” in the broad.
Brandon Ford/TE: Weighed in at 245lbs, timed 4.72 in the forty and completed 17-reps on the bench.
Jonathan Meeks/S: Timed 4.46s in the forty, completed 23-reps on the bench, posted marks of 33.5-inches in the vertical jump and 9′ 7” in the broad. Also weighed in at 209-pounds. Meeks has been a favorite of mine but people think he’s just very raw and makes too many mental errors.