Pro Day Recaps

 

 

Georgia Pro Day Wrap

By: Sanjay Kirpalani

 
Athens, GA – Despite tearing the ACL in his left knee less than five months ago, Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray had his throwing session in front of NFL scouts this morning in unusually chilly temperatures. He made it look as if they were similar to the hundreds of practices he led as a four-year starter for the Bulldogs.
 
While Murray skipped the drills, his teammates participated in them inside the Butts-Mehre building.
 
Several former Bulldogs worked out, but Murray and tight end Arthur Lynch—who also skipped the drills choosing to rely on his strong times from the combine—were the main attractions for the 20-plus NFL teams in attendance. Among the contingent that did a full workout and drills, offensive linemen Kenarious Gates and Dallas Lee stood out.
 
Unofficial Testing Results (data courtesy of Gentry Estes of Dawgs247)
 
OL Chris Burnette:
 
40-yd dash – 5.47
Broad Jump – 7’11”
Vertical Jump – 28
Bench Press – 24
 
OL Kenarious Gates:
 
40-yd dash – 5.26
Broad Jump – 8’2”
Vertical Jump – 31
Bench Press – 23
 
OL Dallas Lee:
 
40-yd dash – 5.18
Broad Jump – 8’2”
Vertical Jump – 27
Bench Press – 28
 
TE Arthur Lynch:
 
Vertical Jump – 29
 
DL Garrison Smith:
 
40-yd dash – 5.23
Broad Jump – 8’2”
Vertical Jump – 24
Bench Press – 23
 
LB T.J. Stripling:
 
40-yd dash – 4.69
Broad Jump – 9’6”
Vertical Jump – 30
Bench Press – 18
 
WR Rantavious Wooten:
 
40-yd dash – 4.57
Broad Jump – 9’10”
Vertical Jump – 36
Bench Press – 12
 
Observations
 
While Murray was the headliner, I thought Lynch acquitted himself nicely in the passing drills.
 
After posting solid times in Indianapolis at the combine in February, Lynch backed it up with a strong workout today.
 
At 6’5”, 258 pounds, Lynch is a versatile tight end who was productive in college (54 receptions for 890 yards and eight TD’s over the last two seasons). Today, he displayed soft hands and quick feet when getting in and out of his routes.
 
“Overall, I thought I showed good discipline on my route-running ability,” Lynch said afterward. “I got depth on my routes and ran them pretty crisp. I also caught every ball and that’s the most important thing.”
 
As for Murray, he wasted little time in answering the foremost question on the minds of NFL personnel present: is he fully recovered from ACL surgery on his left knee last November?
 
Judging by the plyometric drills he started off his pro day with—ones that relied heavily on movements such as sprinting and cutting—his display was a stunning and decisive ‘yes’ to the above question.
 
“I think everyone saw that today between all the movement I was doing—the cutting, the sprinting, we put a lot of throws on the run to the right and the left,” Murray said. “I wanted to demonstrate my ability to cut off my leg and show everyone that I’m healthy and show these teams that they don’t have to worry about my health if they draft me.”
 
As for the passing portion of his workout, Murray completed 48 of his 54 attempts with his misfires having more to do with drops by his receivers in favor of his accuracy.
 
I thought his passes on bootlegs and rollouts were precise and had the proper amount of zip necessary on those types of throws. While he was solid on short throws for most of the day, one critique I would have is that he did lead his receivers too far on out routes toward the sidelines on multiple occasions. Nothing too alarming, but definitely an area he could improve upon.
 
His accuracy and touch on throws of longer than 15 yards was impressive. Whether it was the post, post corner, seam or go routes, Murray flashed the kind of arm strength necessary to complete those passes in the short windows he will see at the next level.
 
Whether it was throwing over the middle to Lynch, or 50-yard bombs to the likes of Rantavious Wooten, Murray was consistently on the money when throwing deep.
 
Overall, I thought it was a solid showing and a remarkable effort considering how fluid he looked less than five months removed from ACL surgery. I think Murray definitely opened some eyes today, and moving toward the draft, expect him to be a player mentioned as a riser up draft boards.
 
They Said It
 
“I thought Aaron did a good job. Obviously, there were some drops out there, but I thought all the balls were on the money. For a guy that had surgery four months ago, he showed that his knee was strong. He didn’t lose any athleticism. If anything, he probably got stronger. He’s in really good shape.  So I think Aaron proved to everyone what he needed to prove, and I think the future is bright for him.” Lynch on how Murray looked today.
 
“Nothing Aaron really does surprises me because of how hard he works. I remember seeing him the day after surgery, and he wasn’t groggy. He was just sitting up and saying how he felt great and was ready to go and start rehab.  I was like, ‘you gotta get out of the hospital bed first!’” Lynch on if he was surprised at how quickly Murray recovered from ACL surgery.
 
“Especially because I come from a program that runs a pro-style offense, I don’t think there’s a tight end in this class that was asked to do the things I was asked to do schematically. I played fullback, tight end and flexed out as a wide receiver. I played special teams for four years as well. There’s some guys that do things extraordinarily well, but I think I’m not necessarily the guy who wows you, but I’m definitely the guy that does things consistently and does everything fairly well.” Lynch on the advantages of playing in a pro-friendly offense at UGA.
 
“I think today showed these teams that they don’t have to worry about the knee. They don’t have to worry about drafting someone who is not going to be able to participate in OTA’s, preseason and the season. I’m ready to go. I’m ready to compete. I’m ready to play. I think that should help come draft time, but we’ll see what happens. I’m excited to figure out what new team I’m going to be a part of.” Murray on whether he’s at 100-percent.
 
“A lot of the teams in the NFL play outdoors, so you have to factor in the weather. I felt like it was a good day to show my arm strength. The wind was coming in from the left, so being able to make those throws left against the wind on a cold day, that demonstrated a lot to those teams today.” Murray on the windy conditions today.
 
“Oh yeah. If you go back and watch the film, I got my head decapitated a couple of times. I’ve definitely taken some hits from some of the best guys that now play in the NFL, so I can handle it. I’m ready for that new challenge.” Murray on questions about his durability and whether or not he will hold up in the NFL.
 
Faces in the Crowd
 
According to Hannah Chalker of CSS Sports via Twitter, 23 NFL teams were represented during today’s pro day.
 
While Chalker reports multiple head coaches were in attendance, the only one I spotted was Gus Bradley of the Jaguars.
 
A notable contingent of former and current Georgia players took in the festivities in the waiting area with family and friends of the players. The biggest and most notable name out of that group was former UGA star and current Cincinnati Bengals all-pro wide receiver AJ Green.
 
 
 
**** Transcriptions ****
 
TE Arthur Lynch
 
Anytime you get to throw with a guy you’ve been with for four-and-a-half years, you are going to have an advantage over other tight ends or receivers who are going through this process.
 
QB Aaron Murray
 
It was a great day. We had a lot of fun. The receivers, running backs, Arthur at tight end all made some great plays. I think everyone was excited. They have been waiting for this day because we had to push it back a little bit because of my injury and I’m thankful for the cooperation from my coaches and teammates to allow it to be pushed back a little bit. I think everyone had a great day.
 
No. Today was actually less than what I normally do. We usually do a lot more. Usually I do a workout and running session for about two hours before coming out here and doing this program, so this is actually a light day for me.
 
There are absolutely no limitations. Doctors are giving me the green light to do everything full go. As I showed today: running, cutting, doing plyometrics, jumping off boxes, hopping and all kinds of other stuff. I’m fine. I’m good. There’s absolutely no hesitation in my mind when I’m running and cutting. No favoritism at all. Its just go out there at full speed and have some fun.
 
I think we were able to talk to our coaches after the surgery and just hoping we could push pro day back, and everyone was like don’t worry about it. You have 52 games under your belt so don’t worry about it. There was still some uncertainty of whether I was going to come back or not. I pretty much just worked my tail off every single day.
 
Nope. I’m 6-foot and one-half inch. I made it over that six-foot barrier, so I’m good.
 
Nothing too much yet. Hopefully after today, we will start hearing some more noise after showing everyone here today that I’m healthy.
 
I’ve talked to a lot of teammates who are in the league. One good thing for us is coming out of the SEC. Obviously, it’s not the NFL, but it’s the closest thing to it in college football. That’s one thing that helps us heading into the NFL, playing against top guys week in and week out, I think that gets us ready for the NFL.

 

 

 

South Carolina Pro Day Wrap

By: Sanjay Kirpalani

 
 
Columbia, SC – After a subpar junior season and an offseason filled with more questions than answers, South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney set out to make a statement during the Gamecocks heavily anticipated pro day.
 
While Clowney was the headliner, several other Gamecocks—including receiver Bruce Ellington, defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles and quarterback Connor Shaw—got a chance to make an impression in front of the legion of NFL personnel on hand at Williams-Brice Stadium.
 
The main focus for the Gamecocks draft class came in individual position drills since standouts such as Clowney and Ellington chose to rely on their strong testing numbers posted at the combine in February.
 
Unofficial 40-yard dash times
 
Victor Hampton – 4.43
 
Kelcy Quarles – 5.01
 
Ronald Patrick – 5.03
 
Observations
 
With representatives from all 32 NFL teams on hand, Clowney wowed the fans, scouts and media members in attendance by showing off his freakish athleticism during drills that were led by the likes of Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley and Texans defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel
 
Houston—the team that holds the No. 1 pick in May’s draft—was also represented by head coach Bill O’Brien
 
The coaches who led the defensive line drills, including one assistant from the Falcons, ran an up-tempo workout for Clowney, Quarles and Sutton. 
 
Clowney showed off his quick-twitch ability to move in explosive bursts, but what really got the attention of scouts was the way he flipped his hips and got into his drops as if he were a natural linebacker or defensive back.
 
Simply put, Clowney was able to reaffirm the belief that he is an athletic freak of nature.  Simply put, he is a rare breed that doesn’t come along too often.    
 
Quarles was having a solid day, but you could tell that he was wearing down toward the end of the workout. However, afterward he confirmed that he pulled his hamstring in the middle of the drills—but chose to finish the workout anyway. 
 
At 297 pounds, Quarles is a stout interior linemen with a good initial burst and some pass-rushing skills to boot—as evidenced by the 13 sacks he produced over his final two seasons in Columbia.
 
Chaz Sutton also appeared to be gassed at times during the drills.  While he moved well and showed off decent athleticism, he didn’t look as fluid in his movements when compared to Clowney—although that’s somewhat of an unfair comparison since few actually can measure up to him in that category.
 
While I didn’t get to observe much of corner Victor Hampton in drills, he did appear to look more comfortable running his 40 in the friendly confines of Williams-Brice Stadium. I clocked him unofficially at 4.43 and 4.53 on his two attempts.
 
On offense, a trio of players impressed me with their individual workouts. 
 
Ellington may not be the biggest receiver, but he is extremely quick and he displayed great short-area burst and the tendency to get in and out his breaks smoothly.
 
He did have one drop on the day, but overall, I feel like he helped himself by having a strong performance that highlighted his strengths. 
 
The man who was throwing him the ball, Connor Shaw, also enjoyed an impressive showing.  While his lack of elite arm strength was apparent on some of the more difficult throws—such as deep outs and post corner routes—I thought he was accurate and delivered a great ball on shorter throws. 
 
He’s also a natural passer on rollouts and his ability to make plays with his legs give him a chance to hear his name called in the later rounds of this draft. 
 
Finally, offensive lineman Ronald Patrick displayed great versatility by working at center and snapping the ball to Shaw in drills. Patrick, who played guard during his career at South Carolina, also displayed nimble feet and decent athleticism in drills.
 
They Said It
 
“Y’all want me to do another workout? I’m just getting my second wind.” Jadeveon Clowney addressing the media after his pro day presser. 
 
“I’ve seen guys do the things that he did today, and do them as well as he’s done—but not at that size. Not with that type of size and body type bringing that and the fact that he can play defensive end and outside linebacker and drop back into coverage and do so many things at 6’5”, 266. Turn in the card now to the commissioner. Just turn it in because he should be Houston’s No. 1 overall pick.” ESPN analyst Tedy Bruschi.
 
“That work ethic deal is garbage to me. It’s just a smoke screen.” Fox Sports NFL Analyst Donovan McNabb speaking on questions surrounding Clowney’s work ethic.
 
“I thought he had a good day. He looked good in all of the drills. He’s an impressive guy. We were able to meet with him last night.  Just a really good young man, and it’s been good to get to know him.” Texans head coach Bill O’Brien.
 
Faces in the Crowd
 
According to the Twitter account for South Carolina athletics, all 32 teams were represented.
 
In addition to the aforementioned head coaches, Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie was also present for today’s festivities.
 
Finally, former Gamecocks standout and current Texans safety D.J. Swearinger came back to support his former teammates during the workout.  Also, South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier and rising senior quarterback Dylan Thompson were spotted speaking with Shaw before his portion of the workout got underway.
 


 

Fresno State Bulldogs Pro Day
March 20th

 
By: Alex Khvatov
 
Notes and Observations
 
There were 23 NFL teams in attendance at Fresno State’s pro day on March 20th.  Some notable people in attendance were Oakland Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie, Raiders head coach Dennis Allen, Vikings GM Rick Spielman and Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner.  12 Fresno State’s players participated in the pro day activities.
 
The most notable participant was QB Derek Carr.  He fought off a stomach virus, was given an IV by the trainer and participated in the pro day.  He stood on his numbers from the Scouting Combine.  Carr had a good overall workout.  He completed 56/63 passes in a scripted throwing session on Thursday.  He was extremely impressive in the first half of the workout.  Carr threw 40 passes before the first ball hit the ground.  He looked sharp and decisive with his throws.  He demonstrated his chiseled physique, a strong arm and a quick release.  At times, he was throwing lasers out there.  He threw a tight spiral and was terrific on his three, five and seven step drops.  All seven of Carr’s incompletions were on deep balls.  From what I saw, his receivers were responsible for three out of the seven incompletions.  His older brother David Carr helped him with the workout.  I think that Derek has solidified a spot in the first round of the NFL Draft. 
 
WR Davante Adams improved his 4.56 forty time from the Combine by running an unofficial 4.45 at the pro day.  He also caught the well away from his frame during Carr’s throwing session.
 
Some other notable times from the pro day were TE Marcel Jensen running an unofficial 4.79 forty and CB L.J. Jones running an unofficial 4.42 forty. 
 
 

Interviews

 
QB Derek Carr
 
How do you feel after that bug put you in the hospital this morning:
 
Not too good.  It was Tony’s ER.  It was here on campus.  I didn’t go to the hospital.  We definitely had doctors here.  I got the IV and good medicine.  I tried to calm that down a little bit.  Don’t worry about me.  Our receivers really had to run their tails off.  I give them the credit.  Coach Sullivan is a great man.  He came out here to help us.  He has helped me get better since the Combine.  I can’t say enough good things about my brother.  He has helped me my entire life. 
 
Did the pro day go exactly as you wanted it to:
 
Absolutely, I gave it everything that I had.  I tell you that after every one of my games.  I will always give it everything that I got to try and win the game.  Whatever happens is God’s will.  I wanted to hit every pass.  But guys get tired, and routes are different.  We came out here and we executed it at a high level.  Two thumbs up.  It was good. 
 
Your brother said that your biggest weakness is being ugly, what do you think your biggest weakness is:
 
I don’t think that my wife would say that.  I am just kidding.  It is not really a weakness.  Sometimes I am overly competitive.  It doesn’t really hurt me.  It is something that I need to control.  I am always trying to make that play.  I just need to relax and let my teammates do their job.  It is something that I learned this year.  Today was about my teammates and not about me.  It has been a great day for them so far. 
 
Your brother said that there is only one throw that you wished to have back:
 
Yeah, it was just one throw.  I landed the other throws in the spot where I wanted them.  But I put that ball behind Burse.  Of course, he will tell you that he needs to catch it.  The other passes weren’t overthrows.  I was throwing it to a spot.  We were happy with those.  I can go through each one of the incompletions. 
 
You were at the Senior Bowl, and then you took a rest from throwing at the Combine, how did you feel today despite being sick:
 
It felt great.  I felt 100 percent.  The part that didn’t feel great was between the reps when I was jogging.  My stomach just didn’t feel good today.  But you are never going to be 100 percent when you are paying football. 
 
What was this experience like:
 
I love doing things for other people.  I love being out here.  I want to see my teammates succeed.  My teammates were running their forties, and the fans were cheering them on.  I love that all of the teams were out here.  My teammates were able to show what they can do in front of them.  That is what fires me up more than anything.  To me, I am just going through another workout with my receivers.  I just get so fired up when they make a great catch.  I love watching my teammates succeed.  As a QB, I just want to get better.  The more effort you put into anything, the better you will be.  I am trying to be better than I was yesterday.  If you don’t look at it that way, you won’t achieve the goals that you have set out for yourself. 
 
Did you notice the Silver and Black (Raiders) GM, scouts and coaches out here today:
 
Yeah, I did notice it.  I have talked to a couple of teams that had the heavy hitters.  I wish that I could tell you guys everything.  It has been good. 
 
What was the biggest advice that your brother ever gave you:
 
The biggest advice he gave me is that you will get praised and criticized.  Ignore both because neither matters.  Just continue to be yourself.  Outwork everybody.  I am not going to run a 4.3 and I am not going to be 240.  But I will outwork anybody. 
 
David (older brother) did mention that your biggest weakness is your lack of experience at the next level, do you agree with it:
 
I can’t wait to get on the team and learn from the veterans.  I am not going to come in and pretend that I know everything.  I can’t wait to get in there.  I am going to be a leader and be myself.  But at the same time, I need to learn.  I have to carry the veterans’ pads. 
 
Will you be in Bakersfield, CA or in New York for the draft:
 
I will let everybody know the week after today.  It will be sometime within the month.  I wanted to wait in order to make my decision.  
 
David Carr (NFL QB, Derek’s older brother)
 
You were there the whole time, how do you think Derek did today:
 
He did great.  There is probably one ball that he would like to have back.  It was a step behind Isaiah (Burse) on the in route in terms of placement.  Other than that, it went exactly how he has been throwing it the past month.  I think that our guys got a little tired.  It is very warm out here.  He competed and threw the ball well despite getting the IV.  He was impressive.  It was fun to watch. 
 
How do you think he did since the Combine and despite everything that he has been through the past 24 hours:
 
People (coaches and GM’s) have gotten to know him a lot better since the season ended.  It was good to see a lot of those guys out here today.  They have gotten a better feel for the type of player and person that he is.  He ripped the ball out here today.  I told him to throw it hard, look strong and confident.  I think that his first 40 passes were completions.  Then I think that he got a little tired. 
 
Along those lines, do you prefer him overthrowing some of those long balls:   
 
It is not really an overthrow.  He is throwing it to a spot.  In the NFL, you are always throwing it to a spot.  You are throwing it 47 yards and about five yards from the sideline.  It is all right if the receiver isn’t there, you don’t want to give him an underthrow.  You don’t want to give the DB a chance to tip in the air.  I thought that they all did a great job.  I am glad that they finished.  Isaiah (Burse) was cramping there at the end.  He ran a 70-yard route and made a play on it.  They did phenomenal. 
 
What was it like to see all of these coaches and GM’s here:
 
It is worlds colliding type of deal.  I have seen these coaches and scouts for the last 12 or 13 years.  It was neat to see them all here at Fresno.  I remember when I was kind of going through the same process.  I just wanted to be here with Derek to encourage him. 
 
Did they give you insight that Derek can be a first round pick:
 
(Bill) Musgrave gave me a hard time.  He said that Derek throws a lot better than me.  I told them that I was the first pick, so you have to pick him pretty early.  You work your tail off for this moment.  Then the morning off, you catch a bug.  It didn’t deter Derek at all.  I am not surprised.  That is how he has always been. 
 
Would you give him an A grade for his performance:
 
He did exactly what he was supposed to do.  The one throw that he would like to have back is the in throw.  He threw it a step behind him.  Other than that, the deep balls landed where they were supposed to.  He looked really good.
 
You and Eric Mahanke (trainer) have been there every step of the way for Derek, what will you be telling him through this phase (from now up until May 8th):
 
A lot of what I have been preparing him for is not just the pro day.  Honestly, they are irrelevant.  I have been preparing him to play QB in the NFL next year.  I have been doing that since he has been a young kid.  All of this is nice.  He looks really good in shorts.  He has been running around at the Senior Bowl and the Combine.  He is an impressive athlete.  The ball jumps out of his hand.  I am getting him ready for Sundays. 
 
What is Derek’s biggest weakness:
 
He is really ugly.  He can’t do anything about it.  He doesn’t shave sometimes.  He kind of covers it up a bit.  He doesn’t really have a tan.  He was thinking about throwing with his shirt off today, but he shot that one down.  Physically, he doesn’t have a weakness.  His weakness is his lack of experience.  He is a rookie QB now.  Wherever he gest drafted, he has to realize that he is behind the eight ball.  It is a grown man’s game.  You got to step up on the learning curve.  You have to be the guy for the team.  You have to be ready when they are ready.  He has a long way to go, but he is more than capable.            
 
He has been training with Eric (trainer) for a long time, what happens between now and May 8th:
 
It is the same type of stuff.  Eric does a great job breaking it up into tiers.  He has done a really job of having Derek ready for all of these different segments.  Now he is kind of an NFL player.  It is go time.  He will have to be taking snaps in August in the preseason game. 
 
Are you still personally looking to make a comeback:
 
Unfortunately.  Derek has brought me out to the field, and we started training.  He moved in with me three months ago.  It has been great.  We have been competing with each other.  There has been some talk about us being on the same squad.  That peaked my interest.  It is fun.  I want to be in the situation where I can be of some help and not just holding the clipboard.  I want to make a difference and help the kid out.  I got a lot of experience in games.
 
Is there a scenario of where you see Derek getting drafted:
 
It is great to be drafted at the top of the draft, but I want him to go to the best possible scenario.  There are a lot of good coaches.  But there are some teams and some coaching staffs that are better.  I just want him to get into a good situation.         
 
WR Davante Adams
 
Comment on your Pro Day performance:
 
I feel like I did pretty well.  I didn’t have any drops.  There were a couple of them that got by me.  I had a good day.  I had a lot of fun out here.  We have been putting a lot of work in.  We have been working out here with Derek (Carr), David (Carr), Isaiah (Burse) and Marcel (Jensen).  It is good to finally come out here and showcase it. 
 
You talked to a lot of teams at the Combine, was this still a showcase for you in front of scouts today:
 
Of course with Derek, you will have a lot of teams here.  I am glad that they recognize the talent that we have.  Some people might think that some scouts wouldn’t come because of where Fresno is. 
 
You decided to come out early, what has this process been like for you including the Combine:
 
It’s been good.  It is so demanding having to wake up early every day.  You are doing the same things.  It has been a lot of fun.  I will have the same type of schedule in the NFL.  Michael Johnson’s Performance Training Facility has helped me a lot because I have never ran track.  They have definitely helped me with the forty.  The Combine was really tiring, but I loved the experience. 
 
How different was it running routes out here as opposed to Indy:
 
It is a lot more tiring here because there were a lot of receivers and less routes at Indy.  You run a route and then you sit for awhile as opposed to me and Burse being the only outside guys here.  We are running and then we are back up. 
 
When you woke this morning, what was on your mind:
 
No balls on the ground.  I also wanted to run faster than at the Combine.  I was trying to run a 4.4 at the Combine.  I ran a 4.50 unofficial at Indy.  Here, I ran a 4.4 unofficially.  That is what I have been told.  I was able to execute and do exactly what I wanted to do here. 
 
Have there been any specific teams that have shown the most interest in you:
 
This is way too early to know.  There are teams that have contacted me.  Plus if you wanted a guy early, why would you tell other people about it and make it known.  You would keep it quiet, and I don’t blame them. 
 
What is your biggest strength as a player:
 
It is my playmaking ability.  I have the ability to score from anywhere on the field.  I feel that yards after the catch are a critical thing in the NFL.  You want to not only secure the catch, but also make things happen after the catch. 
 
Was it more comfortable for you at the Pro Day than at the Combine because you are working with Derek:
 
We got a chance to bond and get to know each other more than anticipated going into the Combine.  It was less stressful as a result of that.  Definitely being around my teammates was great. 
 
What is your plan for the draft:
 
I am not sure yet.  We will see.  I probably will be back at home with my family.                  
 
WR Isaiah Burse
 
How was your Pro Day:
 
I thought that it went well.  We have been practicing for a few weeks.  The plan was to come out here and do what we did before.  I wanted to run routes and catch balls.  I wanted to be smooth in my routes.  I wanted to tuck the ball and finish.  We did a pretty good job of that today.
 
Is there anything different that you wanted to do today than in Indy:
 
You always want to run faster.  I feel like I showed a little speed today.  I was overthrown a few times in Indy.  The routes went much smoother today.  DC (Derek Carr) put them on the money like he always does.  We were just comfortable with each other. 
 
How would you describe this entire process of you playing in the postseason, going through the Combine and being here at the Pro Day:
 
It’s a journey.  Honestly, it was an honor to be selected to the Combine.  It is a stepping-stone.  You check things off.  It is a waiting game now.  Just enjoy your time with your teammates who are going through the same things that you are going through.  People pray for these opportunities.  Just be relaxed and don’t think about it as much.  Take advantage of the private workouts if you do get them.  When your time comes, be ready. 
 
Being at the Combine around the other prospects, did you get the feeling that you belonged:
 
Of course.  I always think that I belong.  I never think that anybody is better than me.  Obviously, those dudes are good.  I am not going to take anything away from them.  Every time I step on the field, I feel that I am the best.  I don’t worry about anyone’s game, but mine. 
 
Are you focusing on being a receiver/kick returner/punt returner lately:
 
The more you can help a team, the better.  I am not taking anything away from the other guys, but I feel like I have a bit of an advantage.  I can play running back, outside as a receiver, the slot and I can do the return game.  I can help teams in more ways than one. 
 
What is one thing about this process that has caught you by surprise:
 
My agent prepared me for this type of stuff.  But you do get caught off guard sometimes.  You get asked to meet with the Patriots in the morning at the Combine.  They take you to the board.  They watch film on you and ask you what were you thinking right here.  This stuff catches you off guard sometimes.  Obviously, you always have to be yourself.  You just have to answer honestly and just enjoy it. 
 
What was the craziest question that you got asked at the Combine:
 
The Cleveland Browns scout asked me.  Name all of the things that you can do with the paper clip.  I named a couple of things, but it was a weird question. 
 
Do you have a feel of where you would get picked up in the draft:
 
You never know what will happen in the draft.  It is so unpredictable.  You can control your work ethic and getting better every day.  Whenever your phone rings and it is your time, be ready.  You never know who will pick you up.  You just have to work hard and give it your all.  It is a blessing for you to get picked by a team. 
 
What is your preparation plan between now and the draft:
 
It has been a rough two weeks getting prepared for pro day.  I plan to relax for a few days and get back out there. 
  
OL Austin Wentworth
 
What were your goals coming into Pro Day:
 
I just wanted to have a strong showing.  I had some good numbers. 
 
Did you have any added motivation being snubbed by the Combine:
 
I think that I definitely deserved a Combine invite.  But I had an extra month to train.  I used it to my advantage.  All of the scouts that wanted to see me were here.  I did my best. 
 
You played on the edge during your career here.  Now they are projecting you more to the inside in the NFL, how big of an adjustment is it:
 
Everyone asks me this question.  But honestly, it was awkward for me to play on the edge.  Inside is where I feel most comfortable.  It is a lot more about playing with strength and being tough. 
 
Tell us about the East/West Shrine Game experience:
 
It was fun.  It was a hectic week.  It was great to get that NFL experience.  It is a lot quicker pace.  It was great to go against that talent.  I love competition. 
 
What is your biggest strength:
 
I think that it is my playing style.  I play nasty and tough.  I don’t get beat.  I am in the right position.  I will never quit.  I also have versatility.    
 
CB L.J. Jones
 
How do you feel that you did during your Pro Day:
 
I came out here and showed them what I can do.  I was able to run, do the broad jump and the vert.  I did everything. 
 
For a guy that has been so stable for so long, how tough is it to answer questions about your durability:
 
It comes with the territory.  When you are playing corner, you will get scrutinized.  I felt like I did pretty well.
 
Everyone will get their shot even if they don’t get drafted.  Is that your goal to just get into a camp:
 
I don’t care who gets me.  I just want to show that I am willing to give it 110 percent. 
 
Were you nervous to perform in front of all of these scouts:
 
I am not really nervous.  I just wanted to show what I could do. 
 
You ran the forty in the low 4.4’s, how happy were you with that time:
 
I am okay with it.  I think that I can do a lot better.  I think that I did pretty well.  I think that I can run a 4.3.  With me coming back from injury and still running a 4.4, it is pretty good.   
 
Head coach Tim DeRuyter
 
What did you think of the Pro Day:
 
It went a little better than our scrimmage yesterday.  It is not surprising.  Derek (Carr) and the guys had a great plan.  The selected their throws.  He went through about thirty throws before one hit the ground.  It was really impressive.  Davante, Isaiah and Marcel looked really good catching the ball.  LJ (Jones) is the unsung guy that ran in the 4.4’s.  He was impressive.  Austin (Wentworth) looked really good in his workout.  It was a great day for guys and hopefully they will get an opportunity to play on and represent Fresno State at the next level. 
 
Scouts are here to see Derek, but how much of a ripple effect does it have for the other guys:
 
It is a great ripple effect.  I think that guys are smart to take advantage of it.  They have so many eyes and so many coaches.  If they come out and look good, they can elevate their stock.  It is their opportunity.  Isaiah (Burse) is one of those guys that has taken advantage of it.  I talked to a couple of guys that have been extremely impressed with how hard he works and his character.  They are impressed with how he carries himself.  If Derek wasn’t here, then maybe he doesn’t get that opportunity. 
 
Were you impressed with who’s who of NFL personnel (Reggie McKenzie, Norv Tuner, Dennis Allen, etc):
 
No doubt.  When those guys come, they are serious about it.  Obviously, Derek is being looked as one of the top quarterbacks.  I am not exactly sure where he will stand.  I have said it many times last year, I am glad that we had Derek Carr.  He is my number one pick.  But that is for them to look and evaluate.  All of those people have been very impressed with our guys. 
 
What did you think of Austin Wentworth’s workout:
 
I thought that he did some really good things.  Austin is a little bit of a tweener.  He is not the traditional left tackle.  He doesn’t have the length that the NFL is looking for.  But he played that for us because he was our best player.  They project him as an inside player.  He has put on some weight.  He is looking thicker.  If he gets an opportunity and gets to camp, I can see him making it.  He has the type of character where he will be able to make the team. 
 
Your offensive line coach told us that he hasn’t given up a sack in the last two years playing LT, do you project him as a guard:
 
Whether it is at guard or center, he will be a natural because it would fit his athletic skills.  He kind of reminds me of those inside guys.  He doesn’t have the length, but he has the athleticism. 
 
When you are talking to these coaches or scouts, what are they asking you:
 
The biggest questions are about Derek and Davante.  With Derek, they are asking questions that you don’t see on tape.  They want to know how he carries himself.  They can evaluate things on tape.  They are asking about his work ethic.  With Davante, they didn’t have as much information on him because he wasn’t a senior.  They are asking more detailed questions.       



 

Kent State Golden Flashes Pro Day 
March 20th 
 
By: Lou Montagna

 
Ah yes, first day of spring in Northeast Ohio....32 degrees, windy, and snow flurries. A great day for football! The NFL was well represented at Kent State University today. Representatives from the Bengals, Chargers, Texans, Browns, Saints, Dolphins, Colts, Giants, as well as Special-Teams Coaches Bobby April of the Raiders and Danny Smith of the Steelers were on hand. Kent State Alum Josh Cribbs stopped by for some encouraging words for the players.

 
All due respect to all the athletes that participated, most were there to see RB/WR/RS Adrion "Dri" Archer. He stood on his numbers from the Combine, which included a 4.26 40-yard dash.  But he did weigh in at 176 pounds (up a few pounds from Indy). So, today was about field drills. Dri caught nearly all the passes that came his way. He ran routes from the backfield, out wide, and from the slot, looking very fluid and natural doing so. Coach April and Coach Smith then took the game outside to test his ability to field punts. Although it was very windy, Dri did well running down and catching about 20 punts. Finally, back inside he ran a 11.66 60-yard shuttle.

 
These 3 players had good workouts. They will be 7th round picks or UDFA.
Roosevelt Nix 5'11 248lbs DE/LB/FB 22 reps 4.65-40 6.90-3 cone
Fabrice Pratt 6'0 184lbs DB 19 reps 4.38-40 6.85-3cone 37.5" vert 9'11" Broad Jump
Darius Polk 5'10 189lbs DB 13 reps 4.45-40 6.53-3cone 36.5" vert 10'7" Broad Jump

 


 

San Jose State Spartans Pro Day
March 19th

 
By: Alex Khvatov

 
Notes and Observations

 
There were 16 NFL teams in attendance at San Jose State’s pro day on March 19th.  Oakland Raiders Reggie McKenzie was the only general manager spotted on Wednesday.  14 total SJSU players participated in the pro day activities. 

 
All eyes were on senior QB David Fales.  He measured in at 6’1 and 210 pounds.  He stood on his numbers from the Scouting Combine  (ran a 4.99 forty in Indy).  Fales completed 48/53 passes during his scripted throwing session.  Three out of the five incompletions were drops by his wide receivers.  Overall, Fales had a very good day.  He was extremely accurate and hit his receivers in stride.  He showed good zip on short/intermediate throws.  I was impressed by his touch on the deep ball.  He seemed confident throwing to all levels on the field.  His footwork was terrific.  Fales proved once again that he is a very underrated QB in this year’s draft.  I see him as a solid third round pick.

 
WR Chandler Jones was the star of the day despite dropping two passes this afternoon.  He checked in at 5’8 , 183 pounds, 33 inch vertical jump, 9’9 broad jump and 13 reps on the bench press.  Jones ran a blistering 4.37 unofficial forty on his first attempt and a 4.34 on his second attempt.  He ran a 4.34 in the shuttle and a 6.78 in the three-cone drill.       

 
WR Noel Grigsby measured in at 5’9 5/8 and 185 pounds.  He is coming off a serious injury, but he showed good explosion today.  He had a 37 inch vertical jump, 10’1 broad jump and 13 reps on the bench press.  Unofficially, he ran a 4.65 on his first forty attempt, 4.64 on his second forty attempt, 4.32 in the shuttle and a 7.00 three-cone drill.  Grigsby caught the ball extremely well today.  He showed soft hands and great body control. 

 
LB Keith Smith checked in at 5’11 and 233 pounds.  He had a 31-inch vertical jump, 9’5 broad jump and 26 reps on the bench press.  He ran an unofficial 4.90 on his first forty attempt and a 5.03 on his second forty attempt.  He ran a 4.49 in the shuttle and a 7.22 in the three-cone.  

 
CB Bene Benwikere measured in at 5’11 and 189 pounds.  He ran an unofficial 4.67 on his first forty attempt and a 4.68 on his second forty attempt.  He stood on the rest of his numbers from the Scouting Combine.  

 
Player Interviews

 
QB David Fales

 
Evaluate your pro day performance:

 
It felt good.  It was good to get out there with Noel (Grigsby) and Chandler (Jones).  It is a lot different than the Combine.  You are in your environment where you are comfortable.  It was fun to finally throw with the guys.

 
Did you tailor your throws to what the scouts were looking for:

 
We basically just scripted all of the throws.  We had slants, comeback routes, deep outs, posts and go routes.  I threw 52 balls.  I threw on the run.  We got it all in there.  

 
What did you want to show scouts today:

 
I wanted to show that I could make all of the throws.  I wanted to get zip on all of them including the comebacks and the deep outs.  I wanted to show consistent footwork, that I could reset and throw on the run.  I wanted to be consistent with it.   

 
What do you tell people who doubt your arm strength:

 
Everyone is going to be a critic.  They need something to analyze.  I know what I need to work on.  I know my strengths and weaknesses.  

 
Do you have any individual workouts set up:

 
I have the Vikings coming up this weekend.  That’s it so far.  Hopefully, I will get a couple more in the next month.  

 
Highlight of your senior season:

 
It would have to be the Fresno State game.  We had that camaraderie and the feeling the night before that we can go out and get it done.  

 
Comment on your Senior Bowl experience:

 
I got sick that Sunday before the Senior Bowl began.  I didn’t have the legs under me on Monday or Tuesday.  It wasn’t the best first impression that I wanted to make.  Wednesday I had a really good practice.  I also felt that I threw it really well at the game.  It was a fun experience.  The Jaguars staff did a really good job.  They made it easy and fun.  We had a good group of guys too.    

 
How comfortable was it to be out there with Noel (Grigsby) and Chandler (Jones):

 
It was awesome to be out here with these guys.  I was laughing and having fun in the huddle.  When you are throwing to guys like Noel and Chandler, it makes your job easier.  We got really good timing.  

 
What was your evaluation of Noel’s pro day:   
   
He looks really good.  Whoever gets him would be really lucky.  He is the most competitive guy that I know.  He will go up and get the ball.  He looked good getting out of his cuts without the knee brace. 

 
One of your deep throws was 65 yards in the air, do you think that your lack of arm strength is a bit overblown:

 
 I have never had a problem with my arm strength.  It is not a big deal to me.  I got enough drive on the ball to throw an 18-yard comeback route, deep posts and deep outs.  I don’t feel that I have a problem getting the ball downfield.  

 
Alex Smith was out here earlier.  He said that he wanted to see you throw it. What is your background with him:

 
I got a chance to throw with him last year before my senior season.  He is an awesome guy and down to earth.  I try to pick his brain as much as I can.  I plan to work out with him next month.  

 
Is this draft process grueling and long:  

 
Yeah, it is long.  You got the Senior Bowl, and then you have three weeks to train for the Combine and then another three weeks to train for your Pro Day.  Then you have to stay in shape and train for team workouts.  It is long, but it is a dream.  You get a chance to throw and become a professional.       

 
WR Chandler Jones

 
Talk about your blistering 40 time during the pro day:

 
I went down to talk to one of the guys that I have been training with.  I didn’t know what my forty time was yet.  At first, he said that you don’t want to know.  Then he asked me whether I wanted to know.  He told me that I ran in the 4.3’s.  

 
What do you think that does for your status:

 
It definitely helps a lot.  A lot of teams asked me what I would run before.  I said that I would run fast.  It just verified it.  

 
You had a big senior year, does this forty time just put everything even more in perspective:

 
It definitely shows that I can run and blow by people.  

 
You weren’t invited to the NFL Scouting Combine, does your performance silence the critics:

 
It’s all right that I wasn’t invited.  It gave me a lot more time to get ready for this day and run the times that I ran.  I was a little bummed at first.  But coming out of high school, I didn’t get a scholarship.  It just makes you work harder.  

 
What are your strengths:

 
Being able to run and I get out of breaks pretty well.  I am good at that.  I make sure that the first guy misses.  I excel when I have the ball in my hands.  

 
You had a couple of drops out there today, do you owe David Fales a dinner:

 
Yeah, I will hook him up with something.  It was a little frustrating.  I know that I can make those plays.    

 
What did you think of Fales’ performance during the pro day:

 
I definitely could tell that he has been working.  He threw really well.  He got a lot more zip on it.  The ball was really getting there.  

 
Describe yourself as a player and as a person:

 
Electric.  

 
Are you ready to follow in your dad’s footsteps to the NFL:

 
Yeah, I am ready to go out there and play.  When I played college ball, I tried to break his numbers.  I am ready to go out there and do the same in the NFL.  

 
WR Noel Grigsby

 
Comment on your pro day performance:

 
I reached most of my goals.  I am just happy to be back out here.  It was great to be back at Spartans’ stadium and playing alongside David (Fales) and Chandler (Jones).  I felt good.

 
Were you disappointed with your forty time:

 
No.  I started off with a knee injury.  I still have some room to grow in terms of flexibility.  I will take high 4.5’s.  It is a big jump from where I first started.  I will take my forty time right now.  

 
Where are you right now in terms of the injury:

 
I can always get stronger.  My knee is not as strong as it was.  I am between 85-90 percent right now.  When you are running, you need to be flexible.  I am still working on my knee flexibility.  Once I get to that, the sky is the limit.  I am just happy to come out here.  Outside of the forty, I think that I laid out a solid resume.  

 
Comment on David Fales’ performance today:

 
He did excellent.  He has been working hard as we all have.  He was on point with all of his throws.  It was a pitch and catch for the most part.  

 
What did you want to show scouts in general out here today:

 
I will catch everything as I showed here today.  I will work hard, run, jump high and jump far.  Main thing is just putting the solid resume together.  I wanted to show that I am healthy.  I think that I accomplished it.  

 
Describe yourself on and off the football field:

 
I am just a hard worker.  I have faith in God.  I will always give the glory to him.  I wouldn’t be here without him.  After I hurt myself, I couldn’t walk.  I was on crutches.  It is blessing to be walking and running out here.  I am a man of faith.  I am a leader.  I have been a team captain for two years.  I feel blessed that I have been nominated by my teammates.  I lead by example.  I can show guys at the next level that I am a professional.  

 
Highlight as a Spartan:
The highlight was being the best team ever in San Jose State’s history.  No matter what you do individually, those things will sooner or later pass.  We were the best San Jose State team ever in 2012 season.  We were 11-2.  First time we were ranked nationally.  We had a great year.  We won the bowl game.  We had a chance to carry the bowl ring.  We always look back at that time specifically.  

 
What are your strengths:

 
I will run precise routes and catch everything.  I showed that today.  I am more athletic than people believe.  Some people don’t think that I am athletic until they look at my broad jump and my vertical.  When they put on the film, those things translate.  That is the main thing.  

 
What are you trying to improve upon:

 
Next level is all about speed.  I could always get faster.  I came in at a pretty good size, but I have been as big as 190 before.  I need to make sure that I get a lot of mental reps.          

 
LB Keith Smith

 
Comment on your pro day performance:

 
I had a solid performance.  I felt like I did well all-around.  I didn’t run as fast as I wanted to.  Like I have been saying, I have never been blazing fast.  It is not part of my game that I am too worried about.  I felt like I did well in the position drills and the bench press.  

 
What are your strengths:

 
If you look at the tape, I have produced for the past four years.  The mental part of the game is my strength.  I might not be fast in the forty-yard straight-line dash, but I am as fast as I need to be on the field.  I make plays.  Film doesn’t lie.  

 
What are some of the things that you showed here today, which you have improved upon during your training:

 
I think that I did well in the three-cone.  I ran pretty fast.  It is more football specific.  I did well in the lateral speed and how you cut.  

 
Which NFL player would you compare your game to:

 
London Fletcher.  He was overlooked because of his size.  He didn’t get as much exposure when he was coming out.  He gets to the ball.  He is a good football player who plays fast.  

 
Describe yourself as a player and as a person:

 
It is just my willingness to do what I need to do whether it is preparation or just helping another player out.  You have to be a leader out there especially in my position.  

 
Highlight as a Spartan:

 
It is probably our bowl game.  It was a good team accomplishment.  We all had fun that game.  It was an experience that I will keep in my memory forever.              

 
CB Bene Benwikere

 
Comment on your offseason (Combine and the Pro Day):

 
I think that today went really well.  Guys wanted to see me in performance catching the ball and flipping my hips.  I did the same thing at the Combine.  I caught the ball and did everything well.  

 
What is the difference working out at the Combine and working out here with your teammates in front of NFL scouts:

 
At the Combine, it was a bunch of guys that didn’t know each other.  It is not the same.  I am used to going to work with these guys.  Hearing a familiar voice, I felt at ease and at home.  It was more of a brotherhood.  

 
What is the feedback that you have received from scouts:

 
Lately, I have been hearing that most guys see me around the third round.  Hopefully, that is how it continues to go.  

 
Are you disappointed with your forty time:

 
No, definitely not.  I don’t know what my forty time was today.  I guess that I have to figure that out.  

 
Describe your East/West Shrine Game experience:

 
It was a really fun experience.  I already knew a lot of the guys out there.  We got out there and made plays.  It was a fun experience.  Off the field, we went to Shriners hospital.  It was an eye opener.  We had fun working with kids.  They had the chance to work out with us.  It was great to push them on the swings.  

 
What are your strengths:

 
I bring versatility.  I am able to play all of the positions.  I can play receiver too.  That would be fine by me.  I can go and play quarterback if you tell me too.  On top of that, I have the ball skills.  I am able to make plays.  

 
Is there one area of your game that you would like to improve on:

 
I just need to become more of a consistent tackler.  It is a different league.  I just need to make sure to wrap up and tackle.  

 





Florida Gators Pro Day Wrap Up

March 17th

By: Sanjay Kirpalani

 

Gainesville, FL – The University of Florida held their annual pro day in less than ideal conditions—with a steady rain presenting another challenge for 13 former Gators hoping to impress representatives from every NFL club on hand.

With the surface inside Ben Hill Griffin Stadium unable to withstand the heavy precipitation that enveloped the Gainesville area overnight, players ran the 40-yard dash inside the Stephen O’Connell Center—home of the top-ranked Gators basketball team—before heading out to the practice fields to do position drills.

A notable contingent of Gators opted to skip the 40-yard dash—including offensive linemen Jon Harrison and Jon Halapio, receiver Trey Burton, linebacker Ronald Powell and corner Jaylen Watkins. However, all of those players did take part in the individual drills.

Defensive tackle Dominique Easley—who is recovering from a torn ACL—was present but did not do any of the workouts.


Unofficial Results *(40 times were recorded by me, bench numbers were confirmed by Will Muschamp in press conference following pro day)

DL Damien Jacobs – 5.16 seconds

LB Darrin Kitchens – 4.55 seconds

OL Kyle Koehne – 5.55 seconds

WR Solomon Patton – 4.25 seconds, 16 bench press reps

CB – Loucheiz Purifoy – 4.55 seconds

CB – Marcus Roberson – 4.56 seconds

OL – Jon Halapio – 32 bench press reps


Observations

While the three defensive backs (more on them later) drew the most attention, no player did more to help his stock than wide receiver Solomon Patton.

Patton—who won team MVP honors for his performance in the inaugural Medal of Honor Bowl in January—turned in a pair of blistering 40’s. I timed his first attempt at 4.26 and his second at 4.25. That was on the heels of posting 16 reps in the bench press—an impressive figure considering his 5’7”, 177-pound frame.

In passing drills, Patton showed tremendous quickness and route-running ability. Most importantly, the ball never touched the ground as Patton demonstrated strong and reliable hands that he used to locate and high-point the ball without letting it get into his body.

Trey Burton, who could find a role in the NFL as a receiver or H-back, also had a strong day catching the ball. The pair of receivers were on the receiving end of passes from former Gators quarterback and current quality control assistant Chris Leak.

I thought Ronald Powell acquitted himself nicely during individual drills. He was showing no ill effects of the two ACL injuries to his left knee that cost him the 2012 season. He’s the type of 3-4 outside linebacker who could be a bargain in the middle to late rounds if he’s still available. His true value may lie as a situational pass-rusher on third down.

Admittedly, I didn’t get to pay close attention to the offensive line drills as much as I would have liked to. However, I was impressed with Jon Halapio from the little I did see. He showed sound footwork in drills and was praised by Gators head coach Will Muschamp for his toughness and unselfishness. As his 32 reps in the bench press showed, there were no lingering effects from a torn pectoral muscle that cost him to miss time last season.

However, the main attraction for this morning’s festivities in Gainesville was a trio of decorated defensive backs—Marcus Roberson, Loucheiz Purifoy and Jaylen Watkins.

Roberson and Purifoy ran times in the mid-4.5’s, which were solid, if not spectacular. Watkins, who ran a solid 4.41 at last month’s combine, opted not to run.

In drills, Roberson and Purifoy shined.

Roberson is a big athlete who is rangy and athletic. I thought he got in and out his cuts with great fluidity and he displayed a great wingspan when he reached out for errant passes. While he may be the rawest member of the Gators trio of corners, I think he’s an intriguing talent considering his size and athleticism.

I thought Purifoy had the best day of the bunch.

Simply put, he looked the most natural in his movements. He displayed swift hips and great footwork despite the soggy conditions. While he did drop a few passes in drills, he showcased the ability to make explosive cuts and change directions without losing speed.

While Roberson and Purifoy shined, I felt Watkins struggled at times today. Whether it was his Achilles injury—which cost him the chance to play in the Senior Bowl after a strong week of practices—or the weather (Watkins slipped more than his teammates), something was off with him in comparison to when I saw him in Mobile.

He looked to be laboring at times when trying to change direction in drills, and he didn’t seem to have the burst or agility displayed by Purifoy and Roberson.

Overall, I don’t think his performance today will serve as a step back for Watkins, whose stock has been trending up after strong performances at the Senior Bowl and the combine. However, it may cause scouts and personnel to take a closer look at his tape after his showing today.


They Said It

Gators head coach Will Muschamp on the wet conditions for today’s pro day: “You play football in the rain. It’s amazing because last year, we had a cold day. This year, we had rain. The scouts and coaches walk up and Mike Zimmer walks up and says, “I appreciate you guys working today.” That means a lot. Believe me, these guys are professionals, so they understand the conditions and the different things guys go through in this process. None of our guys belly-ached. They go to work. I’m proud of them for their effort.”

Florida DT Dominique Easley, who is still recovering from a torn ACL and didn’t participate today, on what scouts have been asking him about the most:

“They just want to see me get back healthy. They don’t want me to push it further than its supposed to be pushed. If I’m on ready, they don’t want me to go. They have already seen my game tape and they are satisfied with my game tape.”

Muschamp on perceived slow 40 times will hurt Purifoy and Roberson: “Not really. Those guys (Roberson and Purifoy) play a lot faster than they will run the 40. I think that’s what the coaches see and those are the comments I get from a lot of the scouts. These guys play a lot faster than the times say. At the end of the day, the tape will show it and that’s what matters.”

Muschamp on how each of his three defensive backs translate to the NFL:

“I think all three will translate very well to the next level. Jaylen's a guy that can play multiple positions. He can play safety, he can play nickel, he can play dime, he can play corner. He's a core special-teams guy for us over the years. So, a guy that can do a lot of things for you. Marcus is a guy that's got really good instincts in coverage, especially in man coverage. He can get his hands on people, which in the NFL the rules are a little different. But you've got to win on the line of scrimmage, and he can do that. He's a guy that's got really good ball skills down the field. Loucheiz is a guy that can give you some special teams, a really good kickoff coverage guy, a guy that's got some return skills, but another guy that can win on the line of scrimmage and has got great, long speed down the field. So I think each player gives you a little something different of what you're looking for.”

Muschamp on what today’s pro day says about the strength of the UF program:

“All 32 teams are here. A bunch of general managers and head coaches. So to have that turnout after the year we had, it shows that we have some good players in the program. Obviously, we had an extremely disappointing and frustrating season and that’s on me. We’ve made the appropriate changes in my opinion moving forward to have a really good football team this fall and we will.”


Faces in the Crowd

Muschamp said all 32 teams were present in his press conference following pro day. I spotted reps from 29 teams, with Cleveland, Detroit and St. Louis being the only teams I did not recall seeing.

Bryan Fischer of NFL.com reports that 59 scouts were on hand for UF’s pro day, as well as new Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer.

Among the notable personnel I saw were 49ers General Manager Trent Baalke and Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan and fellow New Orleans defensive assistant Joe Vitt.

Bills scout C.J. Leak, a former quarterback at Wake Forest and the brother of Chris Leak, caught up with his brother after watching him sling passes to the receivers and backs in passing drills.

****


Dominique Easley post pro-day Q&A

Q: Where are you at with your injury right now?

A: I’m four months out. I’m running. I’m cutting. I’m doing a lot of stuff now, but I’m never satisfied with where I’m at so I just try to keep going and keep pushing it further and further.

Q: When do you expect to be full strength?

A: I don’t really have an expected time frame (on returning to full strength). Whenever I feel like its ready.

Q: What’s the main question you have been getting asked by NFL scouts and personnel?

A: They just want to see me get back healthy. They don’t want me to push it further than its supposed to be pushed. If I’m on ready, they don’t want me to go. They have already seen my game tape and they are satisfied with my game tape.

Q: How have your experiences at Florida prepared you for the next level?

A: Here, they put us through all types of stuff. So hearing from Sharrif (Floyd), Matt Elam and Lerentee McCray, it’s actually easier to be in the NFL than to be at Florida, so it’s a good transition.

Q: In talking to those guys and former teammates, what’s the feedback they’ve given you about the draft process?

A: They just tell me that it’s more of a business. You have to get to work and do what you are supposed to do. Just keep grinding and the sky’s the limit.

Q: Has Sharrif (Floyd) in particular given you any advice on how the game changes at the next level in terms of the style of play in the NFL, especially since he plays the same position?

A: Those guys are just more wiser about the game. They understand the game more and it’s all about doing the little things like film study and tape study.

Q: Do you have any preferences in scheme at the next level, whether its playing nose in the 3-4 or either interior spot in the 4-3?

A: I can go anywhere. I’ve played every position in college on the defensive line. Wherever you want to put me, just teach me and I will learn it.

Q: What are the biggest strengths to your game and what helps you standout from the other defensive tackles in this draft class?

A: A lot of people say it’s my get off, but I personally believe it’s my motor. You will never see me take a play off.





 

LOUISVILLE CARDINALS Pro Day

March 17th
 
By: Alex Khvatov

 

Notes and Observations

 
There were 29 NFL teams that were present at Louisville’s pro day on March 17th.  The three teams that were missing from Monday’s festivities were the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Miami Dolphins and the Washington Redskins. 
 
Bill O’Brien (Texans head coach), Chip Kelly (Eagles head coach) and Ken Whisenhunt (Titans head coach) were in attendance.  Mike Mayock, Todd McShay, Ron Jaworski, Gil Brandt and Donovan McNabb were some of the notable media members present. 
 
All eyes were on quarterback Teddy Bridgewater on Monday.  He didn’t throw at the Combine, and this was his big chance to showcase his skills.  Overall, he had a pretty good workout.  He wasn’t spectacular and didn’t wow anyone in attendance, but he was better than average.  He ran an unofficial 4.78 forty on his lone attempt.  It was a bit surprising that he weighed in at 208 pounds, which was six pounds lighter than at the Combine (214 pounds in Indy).    
 
He threw over 60 passes in the scripted practice session and had eight total incompletions.  He was accurate on short/intermediate throws.  He showed a smooth delivery, good anticipation on his passes and threw his receivers open.  However, Bridgewater misfired on a couple of passes while throwing on the run.   He also struggled with his deep ball accuracy (seven total incompletions over 20+yards).  He threw the ball without a glove that could have affected him (always wore a glove on his throwing hand during his time at Louisville). 
 
Bridgewater is still the most accurate QB in this year’s draft, and I just can’t see the Jaguars (3rd overall pick) or the Browns (4th overall pick) passing on him.
 
Running back Senorise Perry had an outstanding day.  He ran a 4.40 forty, had 18 reps on the bench press and had a 37 inch vertical jump.  He showed soft hands and caught the ball extremely well.
 
Wide receiver Damian Copeland is an underrated prospect.  He ran precise routes and caught every pass that was thrown to him in the practice session.  He will be a major steal for some NFL team in the later rounds.
 
Marcus Smith worked out at both DE and LB on Monday.  He offers great versatility.  He stood on his forty time from the Combine (4.68), but improved his three-cone drill significantly (7.08) at the pro day.  He also looked more comfortable dropping back into coverage and looked smooth changing directions during LB drills. 
 
Safety Calvin Pryor ran the short shuttle and the three-cone drill during the pro day.  He did well during the positional drills.  He has solidified his first round status. 
 
 
Player Interviews
 
Safety Calvin Pryor
 
On being considered a first round pick and a possible first safety off the board:
 
It is definitely a dream come true.  I have worked very hard to get to this point.  I am just going to continue to work hard, and everything else will take care of itself.  I had a goal in mind coming into my junior season.  I wanted to do everything in my power to accomplish some of the things that I did on and off the field.  It definitely paid off.  It would be a great accomplishment to be the first safety off the board. 
 
How many teams have you met with:
 
At the NFL Combine, I met with 28 teams.  After that, I had a chance to make some phone calls and get in touch with some coaches.  I am just trying to reach out to everybody. 
 
What did you hear about your 40 time:
 
It hasn’t been really brought up.  I was confident in my 40 forty at the Combine.  I didn’t feel the need to run it here.  But the game is not about the forty time.  If you watch film, football is a game of angles. 
 
What do you bring to an organization:
 
Great character and leadership.  I am a playmaker.  I also bring a physical presence.  I am a hard-nosed guy. 
 
Who would you compare your game to:
 
I have become a big fan of Kam Chancellor.  I also liked Troy Polamalu before he slowed down a bit a couple of years ago.  He is a still a great player and a great person. 
 
What does it feel like to work out in front of these head coaches:
 
It is very nerve wrecking at first.  But you feel more confident, the more you talk to them.  I have talked to Chip Kelly and Bill Belichick. 
 
What do you think that you did best today:
 
I didn’t do much today.  I did the shuttle and the three-cone.  My main thing was to perfect my position drills. 
 
Greatest strength:
 
My versatility.  I can come down and support the run or drop into coverage.  I cover a lot of range.  I do a variety of things at the safety position. 
 
What was the highlight of your career:
 
The Sugar Bowl against the Florida Gators.  I had a sack and a forced fumble.  It was a big moment.   
 
 
DE/LB Marcus Smith
 
How often is your senior season brought up in terms of productivity:
 
It is brought up a lot.  They saw me explode onto the scene.  They want to learn more about me as a person and as a football player.  It has helped me a lot.
 
What is this process like with 300 people watching your every move:
 
It’s different just knowing that they are watching you.  Never had that feeling before.  It is you getting yourself ready for the next level. 
 
How do you think that your pro day went:
 
I think that it went great.  I did a great job with DL and LB stuff.  I think that the coaches were pleased with what I did.  But there is always room for improvement.  I will keep working on my craft.  I have a workout with the Falcons.  It is the biggest interview for me. 
 
Can you talk about your transition from DE to OLB:
 
It took some time.  I was a strong side LB my freshman season.  It helped in my transition.  I did a pretty good job in coverage at the Senior Bowl.  I feel like I am getting into it. 
 
What is your greatest asset:
 
As a player, my greatest strength is just knowing what is going on the field.  You can be a faster player if you know what is going on.  I used to be a QB, so it helps me a lot.  My mental state is the best thing that I have going for me. 
 
What is the highlight of your career:
 
The highlight of my career is the Sugar Bowl against Florida where I had two sacks in that game. 
 
Describe your teammate Teddy Bridgewater:
 
 He is very hard working.  He is a great leader.  He is vocal.  He is a great player and a great friend.  He will prosper a lot. 
 
Describe yourself in a few words:
 
I am hungry as a player.  I am humble as a person.  I want to go to the NFL and be a star. 
 
 
Experts’ Take
 
Todd McShay (ESPN draft analyst) 
 
What is your take on Teddy Bridgewater’s performance today:
 
I thought that he was a little bit inconsistent.  To be honest with you, it is one of the rare times when the tape is a lot better than the pro day.  Usually it is the other way around.  He made some good throws and ran a good forty time.  I just thought that he was a little less consistent.  I thought that he would be more improved driving off his back leg and transferring his weight.  Maybe it was just him overthinking it and trying to improve his footwork.  I just hope that he doesn’t try to do too much with his footwork.  I thought that he was one of the best with his feet and mechanics when I watching him on film.  He was the most consistent guy, and I didn’t see it today. 
 
Is Bridgewater your top QB in this draft:
 
It is Bridgewater and Blake Bortles from UCF.  Johnny Manziel is in the conversation.  Bridgewater’s tape is better than what you see from Bortles now.  Bridgewater is the most NFL ready.  But Bortles’ upside is higher.  His prototypical size and his ascend have him headed in the right direction.  I do have concerns about Bridgewater’s size and durability.  It is my question about him.
 
Are you worried about Bridgewater’s deep ball accuracy:
 
Yeah, it is his weakest of the three levels of accuracy.
 
Are you worried about his arm strength:
 
No, in the right system he has very functional arm strength.  He is not Joe Flacco or a Matthew Stafford. He is never going to be one of those guys.  But there are plenty of guys that have functional arm strength and they are excellent QB’s.  Tom Brady doesn’t have a big arm, and he has improved his hip rotation.  I think that Bridgewater should be working on it.  He can get to a point where he would have a very functional arm.  I don’t think that it would be an issue.  He fits into an offensive system that doesn’t ask him to drive the ball downfield.  The best case scenario for him would be to land in either an NFC South or AFC South where the weather is better. 
 
Who else stood out to you today:     
 
Calvin Pryor didn’t have to do a whole of a lot today besides his positional drills.  Along with Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, they are the best safeties in this draft.  He should be a top 20 pick.  I love the way he plays the game.  He is physical.  He is a hit man.  He will set the physical tone defensively.  He has good straight-line speed.  He is solid in coverage.  He has a chance to be an impact player on defense.    
 
Donovan McNabb (analyst for Fox Sports)
 
Bridgewater’s pro day performance:
 
There is too much attention being paid to these personal workouts.  We have workout warriors that just don’t show up on film.  Teddy shows up.  He makes all of the throws.  He is a successful leader.  I feel that he is the most ready QB in the draft.
 
Is Teddy a franchise type of QB:
 
He is a franchise helper.  Franchise changer happens over time.  I don’t think that there are any franchise changers when these young guys step into an organization.  You have to look for a great fit.  If Teddy goes in, do they have the supporting cast?  Do they have the running game, an offensive line and the defense?  The teams picking at the top are looking for a leader that will grow with the rest of the guys. 
 
If you had to pick one QB out of this class, would it be Teddy Bridgewater:
 
I don’t know.  It is a tough.  You have Johnny Manziel.  He is the explosive playmaker that can make plays outside the pocket.  You have Blake Bortles with a lot of potential and upside.  There are a lot of guys in this draft that are proven winners.  But Teddy is the most NFL ready QB if you watch the film.
 
What are your questions marks about Bridgewater:
 
I don’t think that there are only question marks about Teddy.  Do Manziel, Bortles and Bridgewater have what it takes?  Can they become a franchise QB?  We have seen them make throws.  Can they do it consistently?  When you seeing zone blitzes and J.J. Watt coming off the corner, do you try to make a play?  Any head coach picking in the top five will be linked to these QB’s.  You may lose your job if you pick the wrong guy or you may get an extension.

 


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