National Football League
Phillip Dorsett's blinding speed has NFL scouts drooling
National Football League

Phillip Dorsett's blinding speed has NFL scouts drooling

Published Apr. 1, 2015 4:37 p.m. ET


University of Miami pro day participants wore charcoal gray T-shirts bearing the slogan "Speed Rich."

In that regard, nobody in the 2015 NFL Draft class is wealthier than Phillip Dorsett.


The wide receiver's latest blazing performance in the 40-yard dash was the highlight of drills held Wednesday at the Hurricanes practice facility. It also helped solidify Dorsett's projected standing as a player who probably won't slip past the second round.

Dorsett's two runs were hand-clocked by scouts at 4.25 and 4.27 seconds, which were slightly better marks than his official NFL Scouting Combine finish of 4.33 seconds. That computerized time from February earned Dorsett a $100,000 bonus from Adidas as being one of the combine's three fastest athletes who had a signed endorsement deal with the company (Michigan State cornerback Trae Waynes and West Virginia wide receiver Kevin White were the other two).

Dorsett's latest demonstration of quickness wasn't a surprise to the throng of NFL head coaches, general managers and talent evaluators in attendance. They were just as impressed by Dorsett's willingness to showcase his athleticism once again despite having no need to improve upon any of the numbers he posted in combine drills.

"It shows he's a competitor," one general manager told FOX Sports.

While Dorsett allowed that he was trying to display that trait to interested suitors, there was personal motivation as well. Dorsett felt he was capable of beating his combine time and didn't want to let the opportunity pass.

Dorsett said the key to his improved Wednesday showing was getting off to a better initial start than in Indianapolis.

"This was my decision," Dorsett said afterward. "A lot of people told me, 'Don't run and just do position drills.' But I knew I could do better, so I just did everything."

One of Dorsett's main goals during the pre-draft process was showing he could do it all as a wide receiver. His gaudy statistics as a senior -- a 24.2-yard average and 10 touchdowns on 36 catches -- were the result of being used almost exclusively as a deep threat with a limited route tree.

"I didn't really get a chance to show things like releases and route running," Dorsett said. "I didn't get pressed a lot. We didn't run as many routes in our playbook. That's something I've been working on a lot, and I think it showed out here."

Dorsett struggled with drops early in his college career but received praise from one general manager Wednesday for his "clean" catches during drills. Another long-time NFL scout told FOX Sports that he believed the 5-foot-10, 184-pound Dorsett would make an ideal slot receiver. That makes sense considering Dorsett idolizes Santana Moss, another former Hurricanes wide receiver with similar size and athletic gifts who prospered in the NFL for more than a decade.

"He's tough to handle in space," the scout said of Dorsett. "He can work in a short area and probably run right by you."

Dorsett also comes to the NFL with no off-field baggage. Dorsett is juggling three classes this semester between his football training so he can graduate in May with a sociology degree.

"My mom wanted me to get it," Dorsett said.

Dorsett had dinner Tuesday night with Saints officials who included head coach Sean Payton. He approached Dorsett and offered praise after Wednesday's workout ended. Dorsett also has visits set with Carolina and Atlanta as well as his hometown Miami Dolphins, who had their top three football executives (Mike Tannenbaum, Dennis Hickey and head coach Joe Philbin) among a large contingent at the "U."

The Dolphins made a bad decision in the 2012 draft by failing to select another South Florida native and local college standout in Florida International wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, who instead became a fourth-round steal by Indianapolis. Dorsett said he hopes the Dolphins choose him.

"It would be a dream come true," said Dorsett, whose mother was among the family members he had in the stands watching him perform at pro day.

Dorsett said the last time he wasn't the fastest player on his team came as a sophomore at Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas, which is a national high school powerhouse. Dorsett, though, still has humility that should help him avoid shell-shock in the NFL, where he will need more than just straight-line speed to flourish.

"You get beat every now and then," Dorsett said. "It's Florida. Everybody is fast around here."

The only speed question about Dorsett now is how fast his name will get called at the draft.


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