Running back Dantrell Savage makes a cut during the shuttle run during Oklahoma State University football Pro Day in Stillwater.

STILLWATER (AP) — While recovering from laser eye surgery, Adarius Bowman chose not to participate in most events at last month’s NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis. But, because he was bored, he decided to run a 40-yard dash.

That proved to be a mistake, as his 4.74-second clocking, by NFL standards, was significantly slow for a wide receiver. Bowman subsequently dropped on most draft-projection lists from a possible early round pick to a mid-to-late-round prospect.

Bowman said Wednesday he hoped a stronger, more well-rounded performance at Oklahoma State’s annual Pro Day improved his stock for the April 26-27 draft. His 40 time wasn’t better — he ran a 4.76 on the artificial surface at Boone Pickens Stadium — but Bowman spent a lot of time working in individual drills with scouts, running routes and catching passes.

“I feel at the combine, I didn’t get to perform, and catching the ball is most of my performance,” said Bowman, who before Wednesday had spoken with state media only once since September. “I didn’t really get to do that. I didn’t do (any) shuttles or anything like that.

“I feel like today, I got to kind of show what I’m better at, running routes, catching the ball, getting up the field. I still feel like my biggest qualities are the games, but I really can’t show it until we get out there on game day. But I feel like I had a great day today.”

Bowman, from Chattanooga, Tenn., became nationally known after setting a Big 12 Conference single-game record with a 300 yards receiving as a junior in a win over Kansas. He caught 60 passes for 1,181 yards and 12 touchdowns for the Cowboys that season, then had 67 catches for 1,006 yards and eight touchdowns last season, as Oklahoma State went 7-6 and beat Indiana in the Insight Bowl.

Scouts like Bowman’s muscular 6-foot-4, 230-pound frame and his long arms and large hands. But some have questioned his ability to catch passes consistently and have noted he tends to cradle the ball.

Then there’s that 40 time.

With scouts from at least 22 NFL teams present, Bowman said a primary goal Wednesday was to erase those doubts.

“The coaches got to see me run routes,” Bowman said. “The biggest thing is they wanted to see me catching the ball and stuff, so I feel like I held up pretty good.”

Bowman also offered an explanation of sorts for his slow times in the 40-yard dash and said the decline in his draft stock mystifies him.

“It’s kind of thrown me off because I feel like make a lot of plays, man,” Bowman said. “... But it is what it is. That’s what I explained to the coaches. They said a lot of guys are not really test-takers. They’ve got more game speed. I guess I put myself in that category.”

While Bowman looked to improve his draft prospects, most of the other 11 Oklahoma State players who attended Wednesday just wanted to catch the eye of a scout.

One of the more intriguing prospects is 6-foot-1, 210-pound defensive back Martel Van Zant, who hopes to become the third deaf player to reach the NFL, following Kenny Walker, who played for the Denver Broncos in 1991 and 1992, and Bonnie Sloan, who played for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1973.

Van Zant is still recovering from an ankle injury that kept him out of the Insight Bowl and the NFL combine. He only participated in one event on Wednesday, recording 25 repetitions in the 225-pound bench press — the third-highest total, behind only offensive lineman David Koenig (30) and running back Julius Crosslin (29).

Through his interpreter, Allie Lee, Van Zant said he’s hoping a team will offer to sign him as a free agent. He said if that doesn’t happen, he would examine his options in the Canadian Football League or Arena Football League.

“I’ll kind of wait and see what they say,” Van Zant said. “I think I’ll have a few more opportunities.”

Running back Dantrell Savage, who like Bowman expects to be drafted, had the event’s best time in the 40, running a 4.40 after recording a 4.53 at the combine. Seldom-used running back Zach Carter had the highest vertical jump of 38 inches..

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