For those draft prospects who disappoint for whatever reason at the scouting combine, pro days are the saving grace. You get to wake up in your own home, run on your home track, throw to receivers you're comfortable with, and you're more of the focus. This week, three players will be putting it all on the line, after they either underperformed or didn't perform at all in Indianapolis.
Tim Tebow, Florida, March 17 -- He didn't throw at the combine, but the patron saint of intangibles will unveil the new throwing motion that will allegedly set the world on fire, and bring Tebow the quarterback up to what everyone seems to want him to be. Or not. Certainly, when he's throwing to the guys he knows with no pressure in his face, it will be easier for Tebow to implement new mechanics. And to whatever extent teams go back to their own facilities and reconcile what they saw with what's on tape, that's when the real analysis will start. Such a mechanical overhaul is a lot to ask in a very short time, but most people I talked to at the combine are convinced that Tebow is virtually assured of a second-round pick based on the fact that certain teams are so in love with what he brings to the table from a leadership sense. Hard to say -- while the Bills and Seahawks already have private workouts scheduled with Tebow, any remaining signs of the old catapult motion could have teams balking when it's time to turn in their cards.
Joe Haden, Florida, March 17 -- And for those two or three media members who don't spend the whole time throwing roses at Tebow's feet and overestimating everything he does, there's Haden, the top defensive back in the country. When he ran disappointing 4.57 and 4.60 40-yard times at the combine, he went from a sure-thing top 10 selection to a point of discussion. Will the skills he's shown on tape eclipse the time he ran in Indy? Putting up the 4.4 time everyone expected before would put those questions to rest. Reports indicate that a back injury may have hampered Haden's times before, but this time, that won't matter. If people perceive him as a 4.6 cornerback, no matter what's on tape, that's a major problem. Some scouts are already saying that Haden "looks more like a 4.5 guy on tape," which tells you one thing -- no matter how much they say they value the tape over the speed drills, don't bank on it.
LeGarrette Blount, Oregon, March 18 -- We just have to hope that no current Oregon players get arrested halfway through the festivities. Blount had several legitimate character dings added to his name, but after sucker-punching Boise State defensive end Byron Hout last September, and the 10-game suspension he served, Blount's been trying to turn things around. He's impressed people at the Senior Bowl and combine, but through no fault of his own, he got labeled as a "no-show" at Oregon's first of two pro days -- his representatives didn't get it out there that Blount always intended to work out at the second pro day on the 18th. If Blount can show legit 4.6 speed at 6-foot-1 and 240 pounds, he'll have a lot of NFL teams looking to separate true and false.