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Orlovsky, King Fincher Impress

March 9, 2005

By TERRY PRICE, Courant Staff Writer Dan Orlovsky feels he made a comeback recently at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis.

"I did real well. I'm happy," he said. "I'm very happy."

Orlovsky's experience at the combine - the NFL's invitation-only workouts before the draft - was in contrast to a disappointing showing at the Senior Bowl in January.

Orlovsky ended up not playing in the Senior Bowl because of illness and struggled in some practices the week of the all-star game.

Orlovsky, UConn's starting quarterback for the last 31/2 seasons, needed a solid showing at the combine.

"He looked good," said one NFL executive who wished to remain anonymous. "With him it's going to depend on the need of the team. But he's got the tools."

Two other former UConn players, linebacker Alfred Fincher and defensive end Tyler King, also helped themselves at the combine. The NFL draft is April 23-24.

King (6 feet 5, 271 pounds) demonstrated he is on the way back from a broken leg and ankle surgery that curtailed the end of his senior season. Fincher (6-1, 238) had a good practice week and a good game at the Senior Bowl, and carried that momentum into the combine. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.67 seconds.

"[uConn] has three guys that are going to be drafted," said John Dorsey, director of college scouting for the Green Bay Packers and a former UConn and Packers linebacker.

Fincher could be drafted ahead of Orlovsky. NFLDraftScout.com projects Orlovsky as a third- or fourth-round pick. The site has Fincher going in the second or third round and King in the third or fourth.

"From the day [Fincher] stepped on the field the very first game of the season, his stock has done nothing but steadily increase," Dorsey said. "His performance at the Senior Bowl did nothing but enhance his position in the draft. He came [to Indianapolis] on a mission and he proved he can compete with any of these guys in the country."

King also got a good review from Dorsey, who played at UConn in 1980-83.

"He's got great intestinal fortitude," Dorsey said. "He's got a great first step off the ball. He showed he can play with leverage."

King was timed at 4.87 seconds in the 40-yard dash. He hopes to improve his time when NFL scouts come to UConn March 24.

"I think they liked my toughness, the fact that I came back," King said. "There were a lot of [draft prospects] who chose not to run because they didn't want to hurt their draft stock or they weren't ready to run yet. I really pushed myself to be ready for the combine."

King said some teams talked to him about moving from defensive end to tackle.

"I'll do whatever I have to do to play in the NFL," he said.

King said he came away from the combine convinced he can become an NFL player because of how he compared with the top defensive ends in the country.

Georgia's David Pollack, LSU's Marcus Spears, Wisconsin's Erasmus James, Oregon State's Bill Swancutt and Iowa's Matt Roth were the top defensive ends at the combine.

"My numbers were right up there with [Roth's]," King said. "I'm thinking I can run with these guys. I can play with these guys."

Orlovsky (6-5, 230) met with a majority of NFL teams. The only teams he didn't talk to were the Patriots, Eagles, Steelers, Bucs, Colts and Chiefs.

"They possibly might not like me or they're not taking a quarterback," he said.

Orlovsky said he went to the combine determined to stay relaxed and just be himself.

He ran the 40 in 4.93. He had a 30-inch vertical leap and a 9-foot standing broad jump. He said he threw only 10 passes (he completed nine). The most important aspect of his testing was probably dexterity. He was timed in 4.3 seconds in the 5-10-5 (yards) back-and-forth drill and 7.3 seconds in the 20-yard three-cone shuttle.

Orlovsky said he got too caught up in competing with the other quarterbacks at the Senior Bowl.

"That's one thing I didn't want to do [at the combine]. That's one thing that got me in trouble at the Senior Bowl," Orlovsky said. "I went down and tried to be so perfect. If a quarterback threw a good ball, I wanted to throw a better one, instead of just being myself and knowing I could compete and not worrying about what I do and what I could control."

Dorsey said Orlovsky came out of the combine in good shape.

"Athletically, he moved around as well as you would expect a big guy to do," Dorsey said. "I think he answered some questions for people in terms of his ability. He threw some nice accurate balls. The timing was there."

Orlovsky said he left the combine relieved.

"It was an important weekend," he said. "I didn't go to the Senior Bowl and do as well as I wanted. I think I needed to come in and have a strong weekend to get myself back in the running and I think I did."

Orlovsky, Fincher and King have returned to UConn to resume classes.

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