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NFL Draft: Pro Days (AZ, AZST, NIU, OSU, SMS)

Day 5 of pro day season saw RB Ka’Deem Carey fail to salvage his post-combine draft status, a couple of Sun Devils help theirs, and Jimmy Ward lock up a 2nd round draft grade. Here is my recap:

Arizona

RB Ka’Deem Carey was the #1 RB on most teams draft boards going into the combine based on his monster 2012-2013 seasons (3,814 yards, 42 TDs), but his 4.70 40-time scared a lot of teams off and sent Carey plummeting down draft boards. I thought it was a fluke and that Carey would run in the high 4.5s at worst on his pro day based on his tape. There is plenty of evidence of him running away from defensive backs, but Carey disappointed again at his pro day (4.68) only shaving off two hundredths from his combine time. That’s four times Carey has run the 40 in the last two weeks and his average is right around 4.70. I’m not sure that is fast enough to play RB in the NFL and Carey’s draft stock is going to keep dropping.

LB Marquise Flowers played a hybrid LB/S role in college and would be a safety in the NFL if given a chance. He helped his chances at his pro day running the 40 in the low 4.4s. He’s got little to no chance of being drafted but could catch on as a UFA and earn a role on special teams due to his speed and athleticism.

CB Shaq Richardson had an excellent pro day. He was a surprise combine snub after a pretty solid career at Arizona (10 INTs) and the size NFL teams are currently looking for in a defensive back (6’0, 202). Richardson ran in the 4.4s, posted a 38″ vertical and looked fluid in the position drills. With his size/speed ratio, he’s got a shot at being drafted late on day 3.

Arizona St

After having no one drafted in 2013, the Sun Devils have a good shot to get 3-4 names called this year. DT Will Sutton should be the first name off the board. He is a divisive prospect with his draft grade being anywhere from early 2nd to early 5th depending on which board you are looking at. Sutton got off to a good start at his pro day weighing in at under 300 pounds (297) for the first time since his junior year. Sutton also shaved a decent chunk of time from his slow 40-time at the combine. Sutton ran the 3rd worst 40 of the D-lineman in attendance (5.36) but ran a respectable 5.12 at his pro day. I’ve said for a while that I think Sutton can have an impact in the NFL if he can get down to 290 again which is close to his junior year weight. As a junior Sutton was one of the best DTs in college football with 13 sacks.

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LB Carl Bradford had a productive college career as a pass rusher for the Sun Devils (20 sacks in 2 seasons) but his stock seemed to be slipping in the off-season. He didn’t stand out at all at the combine and the only attention he garnered was for his unusual body type (not-good). Bradford is a violent pass rusher who is fairly athletic (122″ broad jump) but his 40-time at the combine was disappointing (4.76). He’s undersized and needed to show a little more speed than that. Bradford did just that at his pro day clocking in at 4.64 in the 40. That’s going to stop his draft stock from sliding and keep him in the mix for a late 2nd or early 3rd round pick.

RB Marion Grice, who was projected as a 4th-6th round pick based on his senior year production, still isn’t ready to run or workout after a leg injury suffered late in the 2013 season. Grice supposedly will be ready to run at some point pre-draft, but if he doesn’t it’s unlikely he’ll hear his name called on draft day.

S Alden Darby is one of my favorite late round guys, but being snubbed from the combine didn’t help his draft stock. Darby had a great Senior Bowl week which he capped off with 2 INTs in the game, but not being able to participate in the combine is a big hurdle for a guy who is too small (5’10, 192) to play his college position (strong safety) in the pros. Darby may have got back on teams radars with a 4.49 40-time at his pro day and a strong showing in the position drills. As a Bears fan I hope Darby slips out of the draft and the Bears snag him as a UFA. Worst case, Darby will be an excellent special teams guy, but I think he’s going to eventually be a starter in the NFL at free safety.

Northern Illinois

S Jimmy Ward’s stock was soaring after his Senior Bowl performance, but it took a little hit when the combine doctors surprised him with reports of a fracture in his foot that will require surgery. Ward decided to work out at his pro day before having surgery and was impressive with a 4.46 40-time, a 38″ vertical leap, and a solid showing in the positional drills. Ward is looking like a 2nd round pick to me and a potential target for the Bears.

QB Jordan Lynch struggled in passing drills just like he did at the Senior Bowl but still insists that he’s got a shot to play QB at the NFL level. I like his confidence, but it’s looking delusional at this point. Lynch ran in the 4.6s at his pro day and did some defensive back drills at the request of some scouts in attendance. Lynch reminds me of former Nebraska QB Eric Crouch who bounced around the NFL for a couple of years as a defensive back before retiring.

Ohio State

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LB Ryan Shazier was the main attraction since he didn’t run at the combine (hamstring) and shows elite athleticism on tape. He didn’t disappoint, running a 4.36 40 before re-injuring his hamstring and sitting out the rest of the drills. That is a crazy time for a linebacker and Shazier may have locked up a 1st round selection. I have him at 27 overall to the Saints.

Another top draft prospect, CB Bradley Roby, didn’t run at his pro day, choosing to stand on his 4.39 time at the combine. Roby did participate in the position drills and the 3-cone and impressed in both. Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer was in attendance and spent a lot of time with Roby after the workouts. Roby also supposedly had dinner with coaches from the New York Jets. He has 1st round athleticism, but I’ve seen him burned on tape by quite a few receivers who don’t have anywhere near his ability. I don’t think Roby is ready to contribute much as a rookie, but with some technique work he could be a pro bowl caliber corner.

RB Carlos Hyde injured his hamstring at the combine and wasn’t healed enough to participate at his pro day. I think Hyde is close to a lock to go to the Browns with their pick early in round 2.

S C.J. Barnett ran in the 4.4s which was better than expected and helps his chance to sneak into the 7th round of the draft.

Southern Mississippi

DT Kyrhi Thornton caught my attention at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl where he was clearly the best player there. He was double teamed most of the game and still dominated. Thornton didn’t do much at the combine, but did run a better 40-time at his pro day (4.93) knocking off a full tenth of a second. Even more impressive is that Thornton was 9 pounds heavier at his pro day then he was at the combine. It’s pretty tough to get bigger and faster, but somehow Thornton pulled it off. I like this kid and think he would be an excellent priority UFA for the Bears to target.

Pro Day Schedule (next week):

March 10th: South Florida

March 11th: Connecticut, Iowa St, Kansas St, Michigan St, Toledo, UCLA

March 12th: Alabama, Boston College, Colorado, Colorado St, Michigan, Nevada, Oklahoma, USC

March 13th: Oklahoma St, Oregon, Washington St, Wyoming

March 14th: BYU, Kansas, Oregon St, Texas Tech, West Texas A&M

Twitter: @MikeFlannery_

 

 

 

 

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