Dozens of premier players have displayed their skills before NFL personnel in the last five days, either at their official Pro Day or in private workouts. Two of those players tried to make their case that they should be the first overall pick in the Draft. Scouts, coaches and general nanagers have traversed the country in search of their future stars. While Pro Days don’t cease until April 2nd, the middle of March is the busiest part of the pre-Draft scouting period. With more players finishing their official Pro Days, the Draft is starting to take shape. Below are the developments that shaped the Draft this week.
Everette Brown/DE-LB/Flordia State (March 16th) – Brown stood on most of his numbers from the Combine, but interestingly he ran more LB drills than he did DE drills, the latter of which was his position in college. Analysis – Brown will be long gone by the time that the Texans are on the clock, but that’s ok with me. I’m not sold on him as an OLB and he doesn’t seem to be inclined to play DE. Of note, Jacksonville’s LB coach was in attendance.
Tyson Jackson/DE/Louisiana State (March 16th) – Jackson weighed in at 296 pounds, which is the size of Amobi Okoye and Peria Jerry, but looked quick in positional drills. Although he stood on most of his numbers from the Combine, Jackson was only able to put up 20 reps in the bench press. Analysis – Jackson’s stock is rising because of his quickness and burst, but I definitely hope the Texans aren’t buying into it. Jackson fits the mold of a 3-4 end, but if we drafted him he would certainly play RDE, which doesn’t merit a first round selection, especially after signing Antonio Smith.
Percy Harvin/WR/Florida (March18th) – Harvin looked phenomenal during his Pro Day. He was cut up but looked quick and sharp running routes. Harvin also posted a 37.5” vertical, 10’1” broad jump and an impressive 20 reps in the bench press. Analysis – Harvin solidified his position as the third receiver on the board at worst. The General Managers for Minnesota, Carolina and Tampa were all in attendance to watch Harvin run. I think he’ll probably go in the late teens, but that didn’t keep the Giants from holding a private workout for Harvin today (March 19th).
Alex Mack/C-G/California (March 18th) – Mack looked great in positional drills, but didn’t post impressive numbers with a 5.17 40 and 20 bench press reps. Analysis – Mack is a wild card, as evident by the fact that 30 different teams sent representatives to watch his Pro Day. No one is really sure where he’s going to go because he is a versatile interior lineman. I could see him going as early as the lower 20s, or as late as the early teens in the second round.
Aaron Maybin/DE-LB/Penn State (March 18th) – Maybin helped himself by running faster than he did at the Combine at 4.59 and 4.63 in the 40. Maybin still weighed 250, as opposed to 227, which was his weight during the 2008 season. Analysis – Maybin put on weight fast, and he looks like he’s starting to get accustomed to it, but I’m still very leery of him because he’s still very light and I don’t know how much bigger he can get. I’m glad he’s improving his stock though; hopefully he can sneak into the top 14 and push down one more player to us.
Vontae Davis/CB/Illinois (March 18th) – Davis improved his 40 time from the Combine to a speedy 4.4 even. He also looked good in positional drills. Analysis – Davis is making the case that he’s the best CB in the draft. He’s fast, but still big enough to be physical as he weighs 201 pounds. New Orleans recently signed veteran FS Darren Sharper and cut CB Mike McKenzie today. This places a larger need on CB than FS, which I hopes leads the Saints to go with Davis instead of Malcolm Jenkins.
Matthew Stafford/QB/Georgia (March 19th) – Stafford practiced outside despite the windy conditions, which impressed NFL personnel from all 32 teams that showed up to watch. Stafford completed 47 out of 50 passes and looked very accurate. Analysis – The General Managers from both Detroit and Seattle were in attendance and had to like what they saw. Interestingly, if Stafford did well enough to make himself the first overall pick, it might help us (that was a shameless plug for an upcoming post...stay tuned).
Knowshon Moreno/RB/Georgia (March 19th) – Moreno ran a 4.6 and 4.62 40, but he’s apparently been very sick all week. He did look very quick in positional drills, which included a lot of receiving. Analysis – Even though he’s not as big or fast as Wells, I think Moreno is the better back. I’ve heard several times that while Moreno might run only a 4.6 in the first quarter, you can guarantee that he’ll run that fast in the fourth quarter as well. I thought for a while that Philadelphia would be the first team to select a RB, but interestingly Cincinnati’s RB coach ran the majority of the workout for Moreno.
Eugene Monroe/OT/Virginia (March 19th) – On a day when Matthew Stafford was making his case to be the first overall pick, Monroe tried his hand as well. The 312 pound 6’5” OT ran positional drills and looked good but not great. Analysis – The Bengals’ offensive line coach was in attendance to watch Monroe, as well as two other unidentified OL coaches. I don’t see a scenario in which Monroe makes it past Seattle. By the way, Clint Sintim did positional drills with nothing significant to report.
Jeremy Maclin/WR/Missouri (March 19th) – Maclin reportedly looked explosive during positional drills, which was important because a hyperextended knee kept Macliln from performing most of the drill during the Combine. Maclin ran a 4.43 40, which was also good for his cause. Analysis – I saw highlights of Maclin’s workout; maybe they showed the most unflattering of the plays, but I wasn’t that impressed. I think if the Texans needed a WR in the first, I’d rather trade down and get Percy Harvin. Luckily it's not an issue because we don't need a WR that bad.
William Moore/SS/Missouri (March 19th) – Moore stood on most of his Combine numbers, but NFL personnel in attendance raved about his coverage ability he showed during his positional drills. One scout was quoted as saying that Moore looked incredibly better compared to how he did just a couple of months ago at the Senior Bowl. Analysis – I know there are many of you that don’t like Moore, but I’m starting to get the feeling that he played through a lot of pain in his senior year. It’s impressive that he came back after his junior year and bulked up like his coaches wanted him too, which ultimately cost him becoming a first round pick. I really wouldn’t mind if Rick Smith pulled the trigger on him in the second, but I know that’s not a popular notion.
Brian Orakpo/DE-LB/Texas (March 18th) Orakpo held a private workout for the Cleveland Browns, a full week before Texas’ March 25th Pro Day. Analysis – This pick makes a lot of sense, and it appears as if Mangini and company prefer Orakpo over Everette Brown.
Robert Ayers/DE/Tennessee (March 18th) – Ayers went to Buffalo to meet with team officials yesterday. Analysis – This is an interesting move. Players can only work out for teams at their college campuses, so this means the Bills wanted to sit down and talk to Ayers. This says to me that they are sold on his talent, but want to get a good feel for his personality. Buffalo has to know that with Ayers’ stock skyrocketing, the only way they’ll get him is with the 11th overall pick.
Pro Days will start slowing down soon, but there are still several notable players yet to work out for scouts and coaches. Upcoming Pro Days include Texas, Mississippi, and Southern California. Check back next week to see another update.