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Pro days can give prospects a second chance

On home turf, players have a chance to raise their stock. Jack Bechta

Print This March 09, 2010, 02:04 PM EST

Now that the NFL Combine has come and gone, the next event is the college pro day. This is where NFL teams send their scouts, GMs and/or coaches to get a final look at a prospect’s skill set. In addition, the day is usually coupled with the testing of incoming seniors by scouts. At a minimum, seniors to be are measured and weighed, and there’s a collection of basic data such as birth date, phone number and some personal background information.

A campus pro day will include the same testing drills that were performed at the combine, along an extended version of position-specific drills. However, players will decide if they want to participate based on how well they did in Indianapolis. So if a player ran an exceptional 40, he most likely will choose not to run at his pro day and will just do position drills. On the contrary, if a draftee feels he can improve on his time or even on the bench press, he’ll participate. As a result, a lot of guys take an a la carte approach about what drill or drills they’ll perform.

For those players who declined to do any drills in Indianapolis, pro day is their combine. Working out in the familiar environment of their football facility, players seem to put up better numbers. That’s why many top-rated prospects defer working out until pro day.

I usually advise my clients to perform as many drills as possible. I once had a prominent evaluator tell me, “If a player does something well, have him do it as many times as he can.” Even though my Iowa clients (Pat Angerer, A.J. Edds and Tony Moeaki) all ran well at the combine, they’ll run again at Iowa’s March 23 pro day. Cal’s Mike Tepper will do everything again except the bench press (26). DB Sherrick McManus will do all his drills at Northwestern since he was sidelined by a hamstring tweak. I expect all my clients to continue to improve their numbers across the board.

Pro days are also a chance for scouts to pick up some hidden information about players. I know some who bring donuts and coffee into the trainers’ offices to loosen up their tongues. One seasoned GM I know spends all his time on campus with the strength and conditioning coach. He firmly believes that that coach knows more about the players than anyone on campus since he works with them year round.

Pro day is also a big opportunity for those who got snubbed by the combine. I once had a linebacker from New Mexico, Nick Speegle, run a 4.55 40 on his pro day, which impressed scouts enough to get him drafted by the Browns in the sixth round.

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