This was an eventful week for NFL Pro Days. In the last three days there have been no less than 15 Pro Days at various campuses all around the country. Some developments were minute and some were significant, but all of them will influence the draft in ways that we will never know. As with the First Edition, below are the developments and my take on what they mean not only for the Draft in general, but how they affect the draft of your Houston Texans.
Darius Heyward-Bey/WR/Maryland (March 11th) – Heyward-Bey stood on his numbers from the Combine because he was the fastest player there. The multitude of scouts and coaches that showed up didn’t waste their time though, as Heyward-Bey looked exceptional in positional drills. Analysis - The WR coach for the NY Jets was in attendance, and the Ravens gave Heyward-Bey a private workout afterword in which Joe Flacco threw to him. Everyone knew that Heyward-Bey had the speed, but he helped himself immensely by catching everything that was thrown at him. He probably leapfrogged Hakeem Nicks and maybe even Percy Harvin as the third receiver available in the draft.
Pat White/QB - ?/West Virginia (March 12th) – White’s Pro Day was bittersweet; on one hand, he performed well as a QB, but on the other hand, he didn’t run routes as expected. There was a miscommunication somewhere because WVU Head Coach Bill Stewart told all the attendees that White would only work out as a QB, but after the drills White proclaimed surprise that no one asked him to run routes. Analysis – Even though White threw well, teams are going to be hesitant to give him a shot as a starting QB because he’s 6’0” and skinny. White could have gone in the second round if he was willing to play WR and return kicks, but scouts are undoubtedly leery of his intentions to do so. White said he would run routes for teams at private workouts, but at the Combine he said he’d run routes at his Pro Day.
B.J. Raji/DT/Boston College (March 13th) – Raji stood on his numbers from the Combine but ran positional drills. Raji performed so well that he made talented fellow DT Ron Brace look terrible in comparison. Analysis – Raji’s stock continues to climb, but it’s about as high as it can get now. Raji won’t make it out of the top 10, and I’m starting to think that he’s a lock to go in the top 6.
Patrick Chung/SS/Oregon (March 13th) – Chung stood on his 40 numbers from the Combine, but he ran the short shuttle in 4.24 and the 3 cone drill in 7.11. He also looked fantastic in positional drills. Analysis – Chung may have done too well for our purposes, and he very well may be gone by the time our second round pick comes around. Seattle DC Casey Bradley conducted the drills that Chung ran and was supposedly very impressed with the results. Scores of NFL personnel showed up, but it’s unknown how many showed up to see C Max Unger work out. By the way, Unger only conducted positional drills with nothing noteworthy to report there.
Chris “Beanie” Wells/RB/Ohio State (March 13th) – Wells improved his stock greatly by running 4.41 in the 40. Wells looked good running and catching the ball in positional drills. He also received a clean bill of health. Analysis – Wells may well be the first RB off the board. I personally like Moreno better, but if a team really desires a bigger back than they’ll probably take Wells.
Malcolm Jenkins/CB-FS/Ohio State (March 13th) – Jenkins looked good in positional drills but only improved his 40 time from 4.55 to a 4.48. Not good. Analysis – Even Jenkins seemed resigned to the fact that he’ll probably be playing FS in the NFL in an interview afterward. Even if he’s destined to play safety in the NFL, I don’t think he’ll be there at 15. (Author’s Note: I am incredibly superstitious and it would be against my nature to say anything else)
James Laurinaitis/LB/Ohio State (March 13th) – Laurinaitis performed well during positional drills, but ran in the 4.7 to 4.8 range for his 40. Analysis – Laurinitis has too much experience playing well for a big-time program to slip too far, but it will probably be the end of the first round before his name is called. One of the worries about him is that he won’t be an every-down player in the NFL.
Brian Robiskie/WR/Ohio State (March 13th) – Robiskie continues to show what are arguably the most polished all-around WR skills of any draftee. Robiskie ran a 4.47 40, which is slightly better than the 4.52 he ran at the Combine. Analysis – I don’t know why Robiskie is projected for the second round. The Ohio State field is notoriously fast, but you know he can run in at least the 4.5 range, and his skills are good enough that he can start for any team his rookie year. He probably won’t be drafted until the second, but he’ll be a steal for whatever team snags him.
Aaron Curry/LB/Wake Forest (March 15th) – Curry has been invited to a private workout and meeting on Sunday with the Detroit Lions. Analysis – Detroit is meeting with everyone, so don’t read too much into this. Matthew Stafford, Jason Smith and Eugene Monroe are all still possibilities for the first overall pick.
Michael Johnson/DE/Georgia Tech (March 16th, April 2nd, April 4th, April 8th) – I hope Johnson is a frequent flyer, because he’s going to be a busy man in the next couple of weeks. He has private workouts scheduled with (in chronological order) the Atlanta Falcons, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Washington Redskins and the Browns. Analysis – Johnson is getting a lot of interest. Cleveland might be able to get Johnson in the second round, but Washington, Tampa Bay and Atlanta have to know that they could only get Johnson with their first round pick. Too rich for my blood.