Pro days notebook

Greg Gabriel
National Football Post
Drafting the best vs. drafting for need
Drafting the best vs. drafting for need

The big Pro Day of the week was, of course, Johnny Manziel’s workout at Texas A&M. All but two teams attended the workout and by all accounts Manziel threw the ball very well.
Quarterback pro days have become a media circus, and in reality, NFL evaluators do not get that much out of a quarterback's pro day. Why? Because NFL coaches have no influence on the structure of the workout.
I have attended pro stays since schools started having them, and in most cases, the workouts are run by the scouts and coaches in attendance. When offensive or defensive linemen workout, they do not have their private line coach running the workout. A coach or a group of coaches from the various clubs put the prospects through an assortment of drills.
That’s not the case with quarterbacks. With QB’s, their private coach runs the entire workout. He will start out with some footwork drills, then some throws to specific targets, and finally, he will throw 50 - 60 passes to receivers. These throws consist of the NFL route tree to both sides of the field. He will set up from both under center and in the shotgun, as well as doing some rollouts and bootlegs.
The entire workout is to emphasize what the player does well. The whole workout is scripted and rehearsed numerous times before the actual event. Really, the only pressure on the quarterback is to be accurate and throw tight balls.
The Cleveland Browns have a quarterback need but have not attended any of the top QB’s pro days. The reason is that they have no control over what they will see. They have scheduled private workouts with the quarterbacks they have interest in. They will get a lot more out of these private sessions, and it is the smart thing to do.
As good as Manziel looked, so did Texas A&M receiver Mike Evans. Evans ran good routes, caught the ball very well, and showed a burst going after the deep ball.
In other pro day news, North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron had a very good pro day and solidified his standing as the top tight end in this draft. Tar Heels' defensive lineman Kareem Martin also looked very good doing positional work. While Martin looks the part when you watch his tape, he doesn’t always play the part.
At Indiana, receiver Cody Latimer, who was unable to work out at the combine because of a broken bone in his foot, was able to do some drills at his pro day. Latimer is a big receiver (6025 – 215) and ran the 40 in 4.46. He also had a 39” vertical jump. On tape, Latimer looks to be a third-to-fourth-round pick. Running as fast as he did, while still not 100%, may have pushed him up a little.
Duke cornerback Ross Cockrell had a good combine, but decided to redo many of the drills at his pro day. He averaged an impressive 4.49 on his two 40 runs, as well as having a 10’5” long jump and 39" vertical jump. He ran the thee-cone in 6.92 and looked good in positional drills. At 5116 – 190 and with length and athleticism, Cockrell could very well get drafted in the second or third round.
Going forward, we still have some good pro days to look forward to in the coming weeks. Schools such as Penn State, LSU, South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee still haven’t held their pro days. There are a number of highly rated prospects at these schools, so it will interesting to see what the results are.
Jadeveon Clowney will be working on April 2nd at South Carolina. with Tennessee working out at the same time. The Penn State pro day is April 8th while LSU is April 9th.

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