Merling shows skills for pro scouts

pstrelow@thestate.comApril 24, 2008 

CLEMSON | Washington Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell had seen this size entourage before.

Campbell stood off to the side Thursday, watching the limited pro-day workout of Clemson defensive end Phillip Merling, behind the Redskins’ brain trust.

There was owner Daniel Snyder, player personnel director Vinny Cerrato, new coach Jim Zorn and a cast of assistant coaches — all of whom arrived on Snyder’s personal jet earlier in the morning.

Campbell, tagging along for a later workout with Oklahoma receiver Malcolm Kelly, a projected second-round pick, remembered seeing such a crew the year the Redskins traded into the first-round to acquire him.

Washington owns the No. 21 pick in Saturday’s first round.

“This is usually a pretty positive sign,” Campbell said.

Merling got nothing but positive feedback from Thursday’s 25-minute workout, which included numerous position-specific drills used at the NFL Combine.

At least 11 other teams had representatives in attendance: Baltimore, Indianapolis, New Orleans, Miami, Green Bay, Carolina, New York Jets, New York Giants, Buffalo, Jacksonville and Tampa Bay.

Merling has been projected as a first-round pick.

Nonetheless, he conducted the workout to assuage concerns about his health after being unable to work out for teams the past month because of a sports hernia surgery.

Merling believes he accomplished his mission.

“I just wanted to show I’m in some type of shape and could move,” he said.

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