Vince Magri knew Tevaun Smith was quick, he just didn't realize the Iowa Hawkeyes receiver was lightning fast.
The Toronto-born Smith raised eyebrows Monday at Iowa's pro day with a 40-yard dash time of 4.33 seconds. That would've left Smith tied for third at the NFL combine — Georgia running back Keith Marshall's 4.31 seconds was tops — and would've made him the fastest player at this month's CFL combine, topping the 4.51-second mark recorded by Queen's receiver Doug Corby.
"To be honest, the 4.33 surprised me," said Magri, the Toronto Argonauts' Canadian scouting co-ordinator who attended the Iowa session. "We knew he was quick, we anticipated him being a 4.40 guy but 4.33 is elite.
"He definitely helped himself in the NFL. I know a lot of teams there definitely sat up and took notice after they checked their stopwatches."
Smith wasn't invited to the NFL combine in February and didn't attend the CFL combine.
In December, the CFL scouting bureau ranked the six-foot 205-pound Smith as the top prospect for the May 10 draft. His performance Monday should have enhanced that standing but Canadian teams can only wait and see if Smith — who battled knee injuries last season — heads to the NFL as a player taken in the April 28-30 draft or a priority free agent afterwards.
Gil Brandt, the former Dallas Cowboys vice-president of player personnel now working as the NFL Media senior analyst, wrote "Smith had a great workout, and will be a drafted player. "
Smith showed Monday he's more than just a speed merchant.
With all 32 NFL teams as well as the Argos, Montreal Alouettes and Ottawa Redblacks present, Smith registered a 38-inch vertical jump, 3.94-second shuttle and 6.56-second three-cone, bench-pressed 225 pounds 13 times and had a broad jump of 10 feet two inches.
Smith would've finished second in the three-cone drill and third in the shuttle at the NFL combine.
"His numbers were very impressive," Magri said. "He looked the part, he looked like he belonged.
"I think he may have helped himself get drafted. With his body of work, his hands and route-running and now you add those measurables that I believe would have put him in the top three in almost every category in the NFL combine ... he ran very well, jumped extremely well, looked explosive."
Smith was Iowa's second-leading receiver last season with 563 yards on 32 catches (third-most on squad) with three touchdowns in 12 games, 10 as a starter. He was one of seven true freshmen to see action in 2012 and finished his college career with 102 receptions for 1,500 yards (14.7-yard average) and seven TDs.
Earlier this month, he received a coaches appreciation honour at the Hawkeyes' annual awards banquet.
"He's had a lot of production at a top school in a top conference that won 12 games last year so I think that (40-yard) time does nothing but help his body of work during the past four years," Magri said.
Magri downplayed the significance of Toronto's presence at Iowa's pro day, saying the Argos make it a point to attend those NCAA workouts featuring Canadian-born players. The CFL club also was at Boston College's and Michigan State's pro days this month as Canadians Mehdi Abdesmad and Arjen Colquhoun both worked out.
Abdesmad, a six-foot-seven 286-pound Montreal-born defensive lineman at Boston College, and Colquhoun, a six-foot-one 202-pound native of Windsor, Ont., who was a cornerback with the Spartans, were rated fourth and fifth, respectively, by the CFL's scouting bureau.
The Argos also attended Virginia's pro day where Trent Corney of Brockville, Ont., put on a show. The six-foot-three 255-pound defensive lineman, ranked No. 8 by the CFL scouting bureau, had 34 reps in the bench press — which would've tied for first at the NFL combine — a 38-inch vertical jump and broad jump of 10 feet six inches while posting a 40-yard dash time under 4.7 seconds.
"Those numbers were right up there with anybody at the NFL combine," Magri said. "He helped his stock."
Corney is a social media star for his amazing athletic feats. Videos on YouTube and Instagram show the burly lineman landing front flips in a sand pit, jumping out of a pool on to a deck and dunking a basketball standing on one foot and jumping vertically.
Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press