Posted on: February 10, 2012 3:26 pm
Unless Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III defy the trend of top-rated quarterbacks choosing not to throw at the Scouting Combine, talent evaluators are going to have a tough time seeing both throw prior to the 2012 draft.
That's because Stanford and Baylor have each scheduled their on-campus "Pro Day" workouts on March 22, according to a report from ESPN's Adam Schefter.
The conflicting schedule could force teams to split up their decision-makers to take in the workouts. This happened last year when the Carolina Panthers sent head coach Ron Rivera to watch Cam Newton's Pro Day workout at Auburn while general manager Marty Hurney reportedly attended Ryan Mallett's workout at Arkansas.
Another possibility, of course, is that Luck and/or Griffin could schedule their own individual workouts so that scouts could attend both.
If scouts are, indeed, forced to choose one or the other, the smart money is on Griffin generating more interest despite the fact that Luck is regarded as the top prospect in the draft. While both quarterbacks are viewed as exceptional talents worthy of top five consideration, Griffin has many more questions to answer prior to the draft than Luck.
Having established himself as the elite talent in the country two years running, Luck's game has already been dissected by most decision-makers. Griffin's ascension has been more sudden. Furthermore, scouts will want to see how Griffin drops back from center after having taken the majority of his snaps out of the shotgun while at Baylor.
While there remains some debate as to which direction the Indianapolis Colts may go with the No. 1 overall pick, they are thought to be leaning towards Luck. Should they take Griffin or any other player with the first pick, the line of suitors to trade up into the St. Louis Rams' No. 2 pick would be a long one. Should Griffin not be drafted No. 1, however, it remains to be seen if he generates the same trade interest or if he "falls" past No. 2 overall. Among the teams expected to be interested in adding Griffin would be the Cleveland Browns (owners of the No. 4 overall pick), the Washington Redskins (No. 6), Miami Dolphins (No. 9*), and Seattle Seahawks (No. 12*). *Miami and Seattle's first round pick won't be decided until a coin-flip at the Combine. They may move up one spot each in the draft order after finishing tied with the Carolina Panthers and Kansas City Chiefs, respectively.
As it stands now, I am projecting Griffin to slip to No. 4 overall, where the Browns could nab him. Dane Brugler has the Heisman winner landing with Cleveland, as well.
Scouts are quick to point out that Pro Day workouts in which quarterbacks are throwing "against air" rather than defenses do not ultimately play a significant role in determining his final grade. That hasn't stopped the "Pro Day season" from becoming a huge part of the pre-draft process. Teams dedicate plenty of money and time crossing the country to attend the workouts.
I, myself, have attended several Pro Day workouts of highly regarded quarterbacks, including last year's for Jake Locker, Sam Bradford's in 2010 and Mark Sanchez in 2009.
Category: NFL Draft
Tags: Andrew Luck, Arkansas, Auburn, Baylor, Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers, Indianapolis Colts, Jake Locker, Kansas City Chiefs, Mark Sanchez, Marty Hurney, Miami Dolphins, Pro Day, Robert Griffin III, Ron Rivera, Ryan Mallett, Sam Bradford, Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams, Stanford, Washington Redskins
Posted on: August 20, 2011 3:01 pm
Former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor proved both dazzling and perhaps a bit disappointing Saturday in hastily organized "Pro Day" workout at a Hempfield (Pa) high school in front of a collection of scouts, front office executives, Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin and even Indianapolis Colts' owner Jim Irsay.
Former Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel was also on hand for the workout, showing his support for the player some blame for the program's recent troubles.
Measuring in at 6-5, 232 pounds Pryor wowed onlookers with his straight-line speed early in the workout, posting times between 4.38-4.41 seconds on a soft FieldTurf surface, according to Zac Jackson's Twitter feed. The soft turf generally slows a player down, at least in comparison to a hard turf or track surface. Therefore, these are lightning fast times for Pryor; ones certain to boost the intrigue of teams considering the playmaker.
As impressive as Pryor was running for the stopwatch, he did not run routes or catch passes as a receiver and was apparently less impressive when throwing the ball. While he threw a tight spiral on many of his throws, he also threw a "duck" after instructing one of his four receivers on hand which route to run and there were several incompletions, according to Jackson.
According to The NFL Network's Albert Breer, Pryor completed 27 of 39 passes. Of the 12 incompletions, Breer counted four drops.
Having not been at Pryor's workout, myself, I can't fairly grade his performance during the throwing session. I have been to multiple Pro Day workouts from quarterbacks, most notably Sam Bradford's, Mark Sanchez's and Jake Locker's. Passes rarely hit the ground during these orchestrated workouts with no defenders.
There were 17 teams present at the workout: Buffalo, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Miami, New England, New Orleans, Oakland, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Diego, San Francisco, Tampa Bay and Washington.
While the fact that more than half of the league's teams were represented at the Pro Day shows that there is a great deal of interest in the former Buckeye, it also should be noted that there were only a few decision-makers on hand. Most of the scouts in attendance were lower-level area scouts, likely close by due to their normal scouting responsibilities at local colleges during the late summer months. The Steelers, not surprisingly given their close proximity, were well represented. Besides Tomlin, Director of Football Operations Kevin Colbert was also reportedly at the workout. Irsay tweeted that his Colts are "not taking Pryor" though he also mentioned that his team is "evaluating the QB [situation]."
The workout, while exciting, isn't likely to change the opinions of teams heading towards Monday's supplemental draft. I've argued for a long time that Pryor is quite an intriguing prospect at wide receiver. He, however, has indicated a strong preference for remaining at quarterback, though he did tell teams and the assembled media at the workout today that he'd play any position asked.
As a quarterback, Pryor's average accuracy and decision-making means that he's at minimum a two-year project for playing the traditional quarterback role. He could, however, make a significant and exciting contribution early in his career as a glorified Wildcat option for a club.
His athleticism and size are such a unique combination that Pryor most likely will earn a middle to late round pick. Most expect that it will come in the 4th to 5th round.
Category: NFL Draft
Tags: Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, Indianapolis Colts, Jake Locker, Jim Tressel, Kansas City Chiefs, Kevin Colbert, Mark Sanchez, Miami Dolphins, Mike Tomlin, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, Oakland Raiders, Ohio State, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Sam Bradford, San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Terrelle Pryor, Washington Redskins
Posted on: March 9, 2011 4:19 pm
Scouts from more than a dozen teams (including New England, Seattle, Buffalo, Cleveland, NY Jets, and Philladephia) came to Boulder, Colorado to see Buffs' hopefuls work out at the school's pro day.
Posted on: March 8, 2011 6:54 pm
Cam Newton's quarterback coach George Whitfield, Jr. characterized the Heisman winner's performance at the Scouting Combine two weeks ago as a "pop quiz" and today's Pro Day workout as the "final exam."
Carrying the analogy further, it was clear Tuesday afternoon that Newton had studied hard for the big test, making significant improvement from the Indianapolis quiz, but also evident that he still has a ways to go before he can count on making the Honor Roll as an NFL passer.
Newton completed 50 of his 60 scripted passes on the day, demonstrating better timing and accuracy on some of the throws that troubled him at the Combine -- most notably the outs, comebacks and deep balls. He was the victim of several drops, diminishing his completion percentage somewhat, but also was helped out, at times, by receivers making some very good catches and adjusting their speed to track the football.
Most importantly, Newton showed improvement in taking snaps from center. Newton actually took snaps from a center Tuesday, rather than simply dropping back as he did at the Combine. This not-so-insignificant difference obviously greater replicated an actual football game and only made Newton's improvement in his dropback and timing all the better.
Newton still has a tendency to sail his passes high and wide, however. Had you asked me to assign a letter grade following the Combine throwing session, I would have given him a "D." Perhaps that seems harsh, but considering that after tossing a few easy passes to receivers during the gauntlet drill, Newton only completed 11 of 21 passes (and these weren't drops, mind you) on the day, the 60% it takes to get a "D" in my book is actually higher than Newton' completion percentage on the day.
On Tuesday, however, I thought Newton deserved a "B" for his efforts. He certainly did not demonstrate the spectacular accuracy I had witnessed firsthand at Sam Bradford's Pro Day last year. Newton wasn't as accurate as Mark Sanchez during his Pro Day a year earlier -- another workout I attended.
However, Newton did demonstrate all of the physical ability tools scouts are looking for -- and, again, showed significant improvement. Considering that it has been less than two weeks since the pop quiz, that is all most teams were looking for...
Posted on: October 28, 2010 10:24 pm
Edited on: October 28, 2010 11:57 pm
With all six of the FBS undefeated teams on the road and two games pitting Top 20 teams against each other, there is certainly plenty of intrigue in college football for the upcoming Halloween weekend.
In terms of the NFL draft, however, the place to be is Seattle, Washington where the two top quarterback prospects in the country will face off.
According to sources within the league, the expectation is that there will be "at least" 15 NFL scouts attending this game. That total would almost surely double the number of scouts that have attended any college football game in Seattle in quite some time.
Stanford redshirt sophomore Andrew Luck has emerged this season as the clear top passer in the country. Some will argue that Washington's Jake Locker has fallen out of the first round. ESPN's John Clayton has reported that he's spoken to scouts who have dropped him into the second or third round.
That might be true -- but I believe that for however low Locker has dropped early this year, he'll earn back a great deal of that lost stock if he is invited (and accepts) a Senior Bowl invitation, as expected. In that environment, Locker's rare physical tools will stand out.
This isn't a life-long Seattle area resident talking... It is from the experience of covering Senior Bowl practices since 2000.
Having scouted this long, I've learned that many NFL talent evaluators believe (as I do) that one can gauge the talents of most prospects based on film - but not necessarily quarterbacks.
Most scouts believe that to truly gauge a quarterback, one has to see them throw in person. They have to see how the ball comes out of the passer's hand; get a feel for just how much zip is on his fastball; if the quarterback recognizes when to throw with touch; how he interracts with his teammates when the cameras aren't on him.
It is why I saved my final analysis of Sam Bradford (Pro Day) , Tim Tebow (Senior Bowl) , Mark Sanchez (Pro Day) and many others over the years until after I'd seen them in person.
It is also why I won't be scouting the myriad of games I normally do this Saturday, but instead will be evaluating Stanford-UW in person this weekend.
Because to truly judge a quarterback, there is nothing like being there in person.
Posted on: April 2, 2010 9:56 am
Tennessee safety Eric Berry is currently NFLDraftScout.com's 4th rated prospect for the 2010 NFL Draft. I've spoken to NFL scouts and front office executives who feel we have him rated too low, claiming that with the exception of perhaps Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, Berry is the surest thing of this year's class.
What those same league personnel have told me, however, is that Berry is likely to fall past these rankings in the draft, itself. He'll fall strictly because teams do not want to give a safety the money that goes with a top five pick -- or perhaps even money that goes with a top eight pick.
Take into consideration the contracts signed by players drafted with the No. 5-9 picks last year. Remember that contracts generally increase year to year, meaning that the first (or 50th) overall pick in 2010 is likely to sign a deal for more money than the man who was drafted with the same pick last year.
Mark Sanchez, the fifth overall pick, signed last year a contract of five years for 50 million dollars, including 28 million in guarantees. By hitting certain incentives, Sanchez's contract could reach nearly 60 million. Sanchez's yearly average would be -- at minimum -- 10 million.
Andre Smith, taken a pick later by Cincinnati, signed a six year deal worth a maximum of 42 million, with 21 million guaranteed. Smith's yearly average is seven million.
The seventh overall pick, Darrius Heyward-Bey, agreed to terms with the Raiders of a five year deal of 38.25 million with 23.5 million guaranteed. Heyward-Bey's yearly average is 7.65 million.
Eugene Monroe, the 8th overall pick, signed with Jacksonville for five years and 35.4 million, a yearly average of 7.08 million.
BJ Raji, drafted by Green Bay 9th overall, signed a five year, 28.5 million dollar contract. His year average is 5.7 million.
Each of these players -- a quarterback, two offensive tackles, a wide receiver and defensive tackle -- signed rich deals, but ones under the 2010 Franchise Tag tenders. This means that these rookies, while very well paid, would not earn more than the average of the top five current NFL players at their respective positions in average salary per year.
The problem for Eric Berry is that safety is the third lowest tendered position (ahead of only tight ends and kickers/punters) and has a franchise tag tender of 6.45 million dollars.
If Berry was to be drafted by a team earlier than the 9th pick, at least according to the deals from last year's draft, he'd be slotted to earn more money than the best at his position. Looking past the obvious question of fairness to established stars like Ed Reed or Troy Polamalu, the problem is that whichever team drafted Berry would find itself in a very difficult position five years later -- when Berry, assuming he played well, would likely be expecting a raise for his second contract. If drafted earlier than 9th overall, Berry's rookie contract would potentially be worth more than any deal a team would be willing to give him as a free agent. Unless the Franchise tender for safeties suddenly exploded, Berry's NFL team would likely be able to slap the franchise tag on him, guaranteeing him less than he'd earned in his original rookie contract.
I made the point in the introduction paragraphs of my mock draft that NFL teams can use the cliche of taking the best available player as much as they'd like; the reality is that position value dictates many selections.
For Eric Berry, an unquestioned top five talent, the perceived value of his position could keep him out of the top eight in the 2010 draft.
Posted on: February 22, 2010 2:13 pm
Over the past several days, we've seen Sam Bradford, Jimmy Clausen and Dan LeFevour announce that they'll not be throwing at the Combine. Texas' Colt McCoy hopes to throw, but left himself wiggle room in case his recovering shoulder doesn't feel 100%.
Tebow, citing the fact that he's altered his throwing mechanics since the Senior Bowl, is not going to throw now.
Should these five -- arguably the top five quarterbacks in the draft -- all elect not to throw, it opens up a world of opportunity for Tony Pike, Zac Robinson, Sean Canfield and others to make a significant leap up the board. When "on" Robinson was as impressive as any during the Senior Bowl and the individual skills competition a few weeks ago. If you're looking for a darkhorse candidate to really leap up the board during the passing drills, he might be one to focus in on.
On another note, the decision to leave out worthy throwers like former Tennessee standout Jonathan Crompton could come back to bite scouts. Crompton, I'm sure, would accept a late invite to help make sure there were enough arms for the receiver, tight end and back receiving drills.
A few years ago, I watched former BYU star John Beck move himself into the top of the second round with a strong showing at the Combine. Last year, with Matt Stafford watching from the sidelines, I watched Mark Sanchez impress scouts with his competitive fire by participating, fizzle a bit during the workout and then leap up draft boards when he showed staggering improvement at the USC Pro Day roughly a month later.
Posted on: December 6, 2009 2:43 am
There were several dominant individual performances across the college football landscape Saturday -- Ndamukong Suh's 12 tackles, 7 TFL, 4.5 sacks, Mardy Gilyard's 374 all-purpose yards and 2 TDs, CJ Spiller's 233 rushing yards and 4 TDs and Mark Ingram's 113 rushing yards and 3 TDs chief among them.
With each coming on a national stage, the efforts will almost surely earn the recognition they deserve.
With no BCS bowls on the line and only regional television coverage, few had the opportunity to watch Cal-Washington. Few outside of the Berkeley and Seattle campuses likely would have turned these games on over the Big 12 or ACC Championships anyway. Hell, I'll admit it, there were moments when I, too, thought I was crazy for not tuning in to the monster games of the day rather than recording them.
However, with the hype surrounding Locker's upcoming decision on whether to return for his senior season or leave early for the NFL increasing dramatically, I wanted to watch him in person. And so, on the biggest day of the "regular" season, I trusted the DVD players to cover the championship games and went to scout the only player I feel should warrant consideration over Suh and (potentially) Oklahoma junior DT Gerald McCoy for the NFL draft.
While I've certainly acknowledged Locker's upside in the past, I've also questioned his consistency and readiness for the NFL. One dominant performance does not prove he's either consistent or ready, his performance, however, was indeed dominant on this day...
And the NFL general managers who happened to be sitting only a few seats away from me in the Washington press box saw the same thing.
Locker is the most naturally gifted quarterback in the country. On a day when the most hyped senior quarterbacks -- Colt McCoy, Tim Tebow and Tony Pike -- threw for a collective TD to INT ratio of 4-7, Locker was spectacular. In this era of spread offenses, we've come to expect efficiency and gaudy statistics from highly touted passers. However, what made Jake Locker's 19 of 23 performance for 248 yards and 3 passing touchdowns (as well as 14 rushes for 77 yards and 2 TDs) was the variety of passes he completed. Imagine the throw and Locker made it tonight: the prototypical deep out from the opposite hash (check), the quick slant against man coverage (check), the tricky sluggo (check), hitting the tight end down the seam (check), wheel route to the outside (check), pure go-route (check).
I, and most NFL scouts I've spoken with, would like to see Locker return for his senior season. If he returns, I anticipate he'll enter next season as my highest rated prospect for the 2011 draft.
If the win over Cal was, indeed, Locker's final game for the Huskies, it was eerily similar in its efficiency and dominance as the one put forth last year by Mark Sanchez in the Rose Bowl against Penn State. That performance, of course, was key to Sanchez's dramatic rise up draft boards and ultimately to being the #5 overall choice -- similar to where I expect Locker to end up whenever he should make himself eligible for the draft.