Now that the Combine is over, NFL personnel are in the thick of the Pro Day schedule traveling all over the country working out prospects. As there are so many Pro Days across the country, we cannot be everywhere at once, so we rely upon a network of NFL sources that we have built during our time working for the Rams and Browns. Below is a breakdown of what we have been told by different NFL sources at these workouts:
1. Grand Valley State: Charles Johnson, WR (6020, 215 and 4.36 – All from Pro Day): A very gifted athlete, Johnson’s workout Monday dramatically helped his draft stock. Most “double transfer” players are vied with real caution as there are usually some real character/maturity questions, but according to sources Johnson is a good kid who will not be a problem for an NFL team. Although he was highly productive, over 1,000 yards receiving in each of his two seasons playing football at Grand Valley State, NFL scouts told us that they felt he was still raw as a receiver and more of a developmental prospect who would be a late round selection. Not only did Johnson test excellent in the Combine drills at his Pro Day (He ran a 4.36 at 215 pounds, vertical jumped 39 ½ and broad jumped 11’1), but he had a very good positional workout. His routes looked sharper and more precise than expected; he showed good acceleration at start of route and explosiveness out of cuts. Most importantly, he caught the ball cleanly throughout the workout. While scouts in attendance cautioned not to over-react to Johnson’s workout, they all admitted that if you had not watched film before this workout you would probably consider him as at worst a third round prospect based on his Pro Day display. He will likely end up as a fourth or fifth round selection.
2. Central Michigan: Eric Fisher, OT (6072, 306 and 5.04): Fisher only went through positional drills as he choose to stand on his Combine testing numbers. His workout was called “tremendous” by more than one NFL person we spoke to and there were many “wow” moments throughout. Displaying the rare ability to change directions quickly while maintaining good body position and control, Fisher showed that he can be a real asset pulling and blocking out in space at the next level. Few offensive tackles are sudden athletes, but Fisher displayed suddenness throughout his workout, which confirmed everything teams had seen on film. While his physical workout was outstanding, it was still clear to some in attendance that Fisher is thin for his height and will need to add bulk in order to improve his playing strength. Additionally, the bad habit of keeping his hands low during pass protection and leaving chest open to pass rushers was evident in how he used/carried his hands during the workout. This will need to improve if he is going to avoid being bull rushed back into the QB’s lap as he was regularly during the Senior Bowl practices.
Michigan's Denard Robinson shows off his dynamic speed running with the ball.
3. Michigan: Denard Robinson, RB/WR (5104, 199 and 4.42), William Campbell, DT/OG (6047, 318 and 5.30 E) and Jordan Kovacs, SAF (5110, 202 and 4.61):
After showing dramatic improvement at the Combine, Denard showed NFL teams that he has continued working very hard at making the transition from quarterback to receiver. He not only went through receiver drills, but also was put through running back drills as many teams believe that while his long term future is as a slot receiver, the fastest way for him to get on the field as a rookie will be as a third down back. During the workout, Denard displayed the explosive, game breaking athleticism that has NFL teams excited. After looking like a quarterback trying to play receiver at the Senior Bowl and Combine, Denard looked like a receiver at the workout and showed the confidence catching the ball that he had not before. He not only caught every pass thrown his way during the workout, but did so with hands and did not allow the ball to get into his body where he had to battle the ball.
Many NFL scouts were shocked that defensive tackle Williams Campbell was not invited to the Combine after a strong senior season and an impressive week of practice at the East West Shrine Game. A massive man with outstanding natural strength, NFL personnel in attendance were shocked at how smooth and easily he moved in drills. He not only went through defensive line drills, but also offensive line drills as some teams feel he has great potential as a guard. After his pro day performance we expect Campbell to be drafted, but what position he will be asked to play in the NFL will be determined by the team that selects him.
Still not assured of being drafted, safety Jordan Kovacs’ good all-around workout made his odds better than 50% of being selected. Not only did Kovacs run significantly faster than expected, but he also vertical jumped 35 and broad jumped 10. He is still not viewed as a potential starter, but after his workout NFL personnel told us they think he could be an excellent backup who excels on special teams.
4. East Central Oklahoma: Armonty Bryant (6040, 260 and 4.72 – All from Pro Day): Working out at Tulsa’s Pro Day with 17 teams in attendance, Bryant had a good all-around workout. Just his testing numbers alone made for an impressive day as he ran in the low 4.7’s at 260 pounds, vertical jumped 34 1/2, broad jumped 10’ 1, did 15 reps on the bench press, timed a 4.42 in the short shuttle, 11.95 in the long shuttle, 7.09 in the 3-Cone. While those are impressive numbers, his workout as both a linebacker and defensive end were impressive. He showed the quickness, agility, movement skills and all-around athleticism to convince teams in attendance that he could play either down as a defensive end in a 43 scheme or up as an outside linebacker in a 34 defense. While small school players often slide lower than their production and talent warrants, we have a feeling that in the third round Bryant is going to hear his name called.
Email Russ at Russelllande@yahoo.com and Follow Russ on Twitter @RUSSLANDE
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