COLUMBIA, MO. • Luckily for defensive tackle Dominique Hamilton, his future NFL employment doesn't depend on a crisp 40-yard dash time.
Good thing, because Hamilton's 40 on Monday at the NFL scouting combine could've been timed with a sundial.
"I stumbled coming off the start, and I just finished it through," he said Thursday at the University of Missouri pro day.
His official combine time was 5.54 seconds, but one scout had him as high as 5.7 seconds. But at 6-5, 313 pounds, Hamilton won't get paid to chase down running backs from behind; he'll make his money by stoning them at the line of scrimmage, or stacking up blockers long enough for a linebacker to get there.
"Those guys, you're not as concerned about how fast they run," Mizzou coach Gary Pinkel said. "You're concerned about their strength, and also their quickness in the box. They don't have to run 30 yards to make a play. ... I think he'll do well."
Hamilton is the first to admit he's not much of a "tester." But his game film should give him a chance to be a late-round draft pick in April.
"He made a lot of plays for us," Pinkel said. "He made some huge plays for us."
Like the fourth-down pass he batted down in overtime against Texas A&M, giving the Tigers a 38-31 victory this past season. Or later in 2011, his tipped pass that was intercepted by teammate Michael Sam with 32 seconds remaining to preserve a 31-27 victory over Texas Tech.
Known more for his run defense, Hamilton led all Big 12 defensive tackles in tackles (56), with seven for loss, and three sacks last season.
"He's come along," Pinkel said. "It's hard to get guys his size that move as well as he does. They just don't make that many of 'em."
Forty time notwithstanding.
"I really didn't like that 40 time at all," Hamilton said. "That kind of made me mad. But everything else, I was pretty happy with. And the position work, I killed it. All the scouts were complimenting me on the position work."
The Rams are showing some interest; Hamilton said he met with Rams defensive line coach Mike Waufle at the combine.
Hamilton planned to do some position drills Thursday at Mizzou's pro day, but changed his plans after seeing teammate and fellow defensive tackle Terrell Resonno suffer a quadriceps injury running the 40-yard dash. That ended Resonno's day.
Unlike many schools, Missouri always has a second pro day — it's March 15 this year — and Hamilton plans on doing position drills that day, as well as trying to lower that 40 time.
Hamilton was one of four Tigers to take part in the combine in Indianapolis. Defensive end Jacquies Smith also decided to stand on his combine results. So like Hamilton, he talked to scouts Thursday but otherwise was a spectator. At the combine, Smith did drills both at defensive end and linebacker, and seems to be drawing the most interest as a 3-4 outside linebacker.
Wide receiver Jerrell Jackson ran routes and caught passes Thursday, but otherwise stood on his combine numbers as well. But tight end Michael Egnew couldn't help himself. Projected as a mid-round draft pick, Egnew ran routes and caught passes, and looked good doing it Thursday. But he also participated in the broad jump and vertical jump.
On Thursday, he posted a 37 1/2-inch vertical and went 11 feet 3 inches in the broad jump. Both bested his combine numbers; the broad jump was a personal best and drew applause from scouts and spectators. It's the norm for participants to get only two turns at such drills at pro days. But the NFL scouts were impressed enough that they asked for an encore in the broad jump. Egnew went 11-5 on the extra jump, but lost his balance, so the distance didn't count.
A lot of draft prospects get stressed out by the combine and pro day routine, but not Egnew.
"Well, I work out every day," Egnew said. "One day at the combine is not too much. It's just awesome. You get to come out here and someone's watching you work, you've just got to have fun with it."
Egnew, by the way, met with Rams tight end coach Rob Boras at the combine.
Even though the Tigers don't have a first-rounder such as Aldon Smith, Blaine Gabbert, or Jeremy Maclin this year, scouts from 16 teams — or half the NFL — were on hand in Columbia. (Smith, who had a standout 2011 season as a rookie with San Francisco, was on hand Thursday cheering on his former teammates.)
The Rams sent two scouts; Super Bowl participants New England and the New York Giants had representatives there, as did playoff participants Atlanta, Green Bay, and San Francisco among others.
About a dozen Missouri players participated, with the non-combine invitees hoping to get noticed. Offensive guard Austin Wuebbels (Triad High) did just that by posting 40 repetitions in the 225-pound bench press. (Anything in the 30s is considered good for a lineman.) He met with a Carolina Panthers scout at the end of the pro day.
Place-kicker Grant Ressel, who had a tough, injury-plagued 2011 season, drew perhaps the largest applause of the day when he booted a 60-yard field goal.