Former Fighting Irish players seized the final opportunity to impress NFL scouts at the Notre Dame pro day. This was the last chance for players to answer any questions on the football field with a productive workout in hopes of improving their NFL draft stock.
With scouts from nearly every pro team in attendance, the pressure was on for many players scheduled to take the field. The list of former Irish players included Manti Te’o, Tyler Eifert, Zeke Motta, Cierre Wood and Theo Riddick, among others.
Players were watched closely, opinions were tossed around from scouts and analysts, and hopefully for these players, questions were answered.
Here are the major takeaways from Notre Dame's 2013 pro day.
Notre Dame has two players in Manti Te'o and Tyler Eifert who are expected to be high selections. Both could end up going in the first round, which usually gives guys a chance to attend the NFL draft and shake the commissioner's hand when their names are called.
Forget about it.
Eric Edholm of Pro Football Weekly reports that both players will stay in the privacy of their own homes on draft day.
Neither Manti Te'o not Tyler Eifert will attend draft in NYC. Both will be at home. #ndproday— Eric Edholm (@Eric_Edholm) March 26, 2013
Still, don't expect this to stop the hype around Te'o anytime soon.
Is there a Notre Dame player you would like to see your favorite NFL team draft this season? Regardless of your answer, there is a high chance it is going to happen.
According to Dean Pantazi of the Indiana News Center, a majority of NFL teams have sent people to watch the Notre Dame pro day.
26 of 32 NFL teams have people at Notre Dame pro day— Dean Pantazi (@DeanPantaziINC) March 26, 2013
This really doesn't come as a surprise, as most teams are just doing their homework with the draft right around the corner. However, this does say something about the talent that South Bend is producing, and it has obviously caught the eye of many professional teams.
Earlier today I wrote how Theo Riddick is one of the players who had to come out swinging. He had a rather slow 40-yard-dash time at the combine and ended up suffering a hamstring injury.
Well, according to Eric Edholm of Pro Football Weekly, he didn't exactly do great in the receiving department on pro day.
Theo Riddick with 2 drops. #ndproday— Eric Edholm (@Eric_Edholm) March 26, 2013
If it's not one thing, it's another.
This isn't good for somebody who isn't exactly high on NFL draft boards at the moment. Riddick needs to take advantage of every opportunity he can get. With his quickness and versatility, he could be a steal for an NFL team—but during the last few workouts, he hasn't been doing anything to help himself out.
If there were any Notre Dame player who had a solid performance at the NFL combine, it was tight end Tyler Eifert. He clocked in a 4.68-second 40-yard dash time, which was fourth best among the tight end position. His 35.5 vertical jump was second best at his position.
Due to these impressive numbers, Eifert decided he wasn't going to run today, according to Eric Edholm of Pro Football Weekly.
Again, Eifert standing on his Combine 40. Not running today. #ndproday— Eric Edholm (@Eric_Edholm) March 26, 2013
Pro day is much more than impressing coaches and scouts; it's also not doing anything that is going to hurt your draft stock. Eifert put up an impressive 40 time, so anything worse than that may have an impact on where he is selected.
He has also continued to show he is a true receiving threat at the position, according to Eric Edholm of Pro Football Weekly.
Eifert looking very good catching ball, carving off routes. #ndproday— Eric Edholm (@Eric_Edholm) March 26, 2013
With great body control, impressive hands and now speed to match, he may end up being the first tight end taken off the board come April.
The only question that remains is, can he block consistently?
Manti Te'o was criticized last season for being a slow linebacker, but it didn't really show how slow he truly was until he ran a 4.82-second 40 at the NFL combine. We gave him the benefit of the doubt due to the offseason hoopla surrounding him and how that drama could have impacted how he trained for the event.
But with time to work on his speed and trim off seconds on his time, Te'o is still the slow linebacker he was a month ago, as ESPN reported.
THIS JUST IN: Manti Te'o runs unofficial 4.75 & 4.71 40-yard dash at Notre Dame's Pro Day (via @mcshay13); ran 4.82 at NFL Combine.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 26, 2013
Better, but not good enough.
There is little doubt Te'o will be a high selection in this year's draft and likely the first Notre Dame player taken off the board. But with the lack of speed, this may officially bump him out of the first round and will have people questioning if he is an every-down player at the next level.
As for his strength, Te'o put up 21 reps 225 pounds, according to Tyler James of the South Bend Tribune, via Todd McShay of ESPN.
Todd McShay also says 21 reps of 225 bench for Manti Te'o during live shot on SportsCenter.— Tyler James (@TJamesNDI) March 26, 2013