The NFL Draft is fast-approaching and prospects are doing all they can to impress scouts and improve their fluctuating stock. They ran through the hoops and gauntlet of Indianapolis and continue to do so at their respective pro days.
Pro days have provided a platform that extends well beyond the recognizable names of college football, allowing lesser-known players to prove their worth to teams across the league.
Some have performed to rave reviews, while others flattened or, even worse, hurt their stock. The following are eight standouts skyrocketing up draft boards as we inch closer to the big day.
TE Coby Fleener, Stanford
Scouts flocked to Palo Alto to watch Andrew Luck, but left completely enamored with teammate and tight end, Fleener. Once a fringe first-round talent, Fleener is now a likely top-20 pick after posting an "unofficial" 4.45 40-yard dash and looking smooth throughout the afternoon. Tight ends with his size (6'6", 247 pounds), speed and leaping ability are a hot commodity these days.
RB Michael Smith, Utah State
While at Utah State, he remained off the scouting radar and in the shadow of teammate Robert Turbin, but he has shone during the pre-draft process. Smith was named MVP of the Players All-Star Classic after running for 124 yards and one touchdown. He then wowed scouts with a 4.35 40-yard dash, 40.5" vertical leap and 10'6" broad jump at his recent pro day.
The outstanding measurements have moved Smith from an unknown to a mid-round prospect.
WR Kendall Wright, Baylor
His stock, which plummeted due to a sluggish combine, has trampolined after clocking a 4.41 and 4.46 40-yard dash at Baylor's pro day—a significant improvement on his 4.61 in Indianapolis. Wright's biggest highlight, however, was a one-handed grab on a deep ball that caught the attention of scouts in attendance. Wright has also refined his route-running and looks like a perfect fit for the slot.
T.Y. Hilton, Florida International
We all knew he was fast, we just wanted the stopwatch to tell us exactly how fast.
He showed up to his pro day with added bulk on his small frame (a good thing) and still blazed a 4.34 40-yard dash, displayed great acceleration and showcased reliable hands as a receiver. Teams love speed, so don't be surprised to see Hilton climb as high as the third round.
CB Conroy Black, Utah
Despite holding his own against some of the better receivers in all of college football and collecting four interceptions on the season, Black failed to get an invitation to the combine or any of the numerous "All-Star" games.
So he used Utah's pro day to launch himself into the eyesight of NFL scouts by running a 4.30 40-yard dash—a mark that would have been faster than any player at this year's combine—and showing superb fluidity and footwork.
WR Michael Calvin, California
Rain or more rain, Calvin can run with the best of them. As the weather turned cold and gloomy at Cal's pro day, Calvin's stock became brighter than ever.
The wide receiver registered a 4.32 40-yard dash, 40.5" vertical leap and 11'1" broad jump. Calvin's on-field stats are lacking, but his sheer athleticism will be hard for teams to ignore in the later rounds.
DE Tim Fugger, Vanderbilt
Another non-combine invitee, Fugger put on a show at Vanderbilt's recent pro day. The 6'3", 247-pound defensive end ran a 4.60 40-yard dash, a 34" vertical leap and lifted 29 repetitions of 225 pounds. He worked out as a lineman and outside linebacker and appeared comfortable doing both. Fugger made the most of his "job interview" and will likely be hired in the mid-rounds of April's Draft.
QB Ryan Lindley, San Diego State
Lindley has the prototypical size (6'4", 228 pounds), arm strength and mobility of an NFL quarterback, but accuracy concerns have floored his stock. Lindley looked great on Wednesday though, completing 67 of his 73 throws despite working with unfamiliar receivers. The performance helped erase doubts and should boost him into the third or fourth round.
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