Pro days can have a lot of purpose as both prospects and personnel people get ready for the annual NFL Draft. Coaches get an opportunity to spend more time with the prospect and put them through drills that they feel will show their true athleticism. Prospects who may not have had as strong of a combine as they wanted get an opportunity to do the combine drills over. Lastly, prospects who were not invited to the combine get a chance to show what they can do in front of scouts and coaches. With an average of 35 non-combine players getting drafted every year, this is obviously a very important day for them. Here are some players who have had strong showings in the first two weeks of pro day season.
D’Anthony Thomas – Running Back – Oregon – Thomas ran his 40 in 4.35 while also having a 10’5” long jump. On the downside, he did only nine reps of 225. Thomas will be a specialty-type player in the NFL
Taylor Hart – Defensive Tackle – Oregon – Hart measured 6063 – 284 and did 23 reps of 225. His drill work was very good, showing that he is a fit for either a 3-4 or 4-3 defensive scheme.
Dee Ford – Defensive End – Auburn – The medical people didn’t let Ford work at the combine because of a back issue. At his pro day, he ran a 4.61 while jumping 35 ½ and 10’4”. He also had a 7.07 3 cone. Ford weighed in at under 250 and looks to be the classic tweener. The NFL clubs' medical people will have a lot to say as to where Ford get drafted.
Khalil Mack – Linebacker – Buffalo – The only combine drill that Mack did was the 40. He ran an average of 4.54 in his only attempt. After running, Mack looked outstanding doing positional drills for coaches.
Jimmy Garoppolo – Quarterback – Eastern Illinois – Garoppolo worked out at Northwestern’s pro day and threw the ball very well. There was a representative of just about every club at the workout.
Eric Lora – Wide Receiver – Eastern Illinois – Lora was not at the combine but was Garoppolo’s go-to receiver at EIU. He measured 5103 – 203 and ran 4.49. He also had jumps of 36” and 9’11”. His three-cone was a fast 6.76. Those numbers will probably get him drafted in the later rounds.
Colton Underwood – Defensive End/Outside Linebacker – Illinois St. – Underwood was also not at the combine. He measured 6024 – 256. He ran the 40 in 4.70 to go along with jumps of 36” and 10’. His three-cone was 7.03. During drills, he looked good dropping into coverage and the overall workout may get him drafted.
Anthony Barr – Linebacker – UCLA – Barr improved on his speed at the combine running the 40 in 4.41 and 4.49. He also looked good during drills.
Ryan Shazier – Linebacker – Ohio State – Shazier did not run at the combine, but ran an average of 4.38 at his pro day. At 235 pounds, that speed will put Shazier into the first round.
Corey Linsley – Center – Ohio State – Corey measured 6026 – 301 and ran the 40 in 4.97 and 5.00. His positional drill work was very good. His arm length is only 31 7/8. This may hurt him on draft day, but if there is a position on the offensive line where a player can get away with having shorter arms, it’s center.
Darqueze Dennard – Corner – Michigan State – Dennard did run at the MSU pro day, but he had a vertical jump of 36” and a long jump of 11’2”! He also had outstanding positional drill work.
Jimmie Ward – Safety – Northern Illinois – Ward did not work at the combine because of a foot injury. Knowing he needed to get a time in for scouts, he ran 4.48 and the NIU pro day. Ward will have foot surgery shortly but should be recovered in time for training camp if not sooner.
Shaquille Richardson – Corner – Arizona – Richardson was another non –combine player. With tall corners being wanted by every NFL team, Richardson’s workout helped his cause. He measured 6001 – 194 with 32” arms. He ran a 4.44, had jumps of 38.5 and 10’7” to go along with a 6.87 3-cone. Richardson will get drafted!
Blake Annen – Tight End – Cincinnati – Annen was not invited to Indy and needed a strong pro day, He had one! At 6041 – 247 he ran a 4.45. He also had jumps of 34” and 10’, to go along with a 7.19 3-come and 25 reps of 225. It was a very strong workout.
Brett Smith – Quarterback – Wyoming – I was shocked that Smith did not get invited to the combine. He is easily a better player than half the quarterbacks there. At his pro day, he measured 6016 which is a little short, but he ran 4.51 and had a long jump of 10’8”. During drill work he threw the ball very well.
Robert Herron – Wide Receiver – Wyoming – There was never a question about Herron’s speed, having been a top sprinter in high school. Herron ran well at the combine, but improved that, running a sub 4.40 at the Wyoming pro day.
With about three more weeks of pro days still coming, I will try and update this list every Saturday.
Follow Greg on Twitter @greggabe
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