Biggest Winners and Losers of Pro Day Workouts
The NFL draft has many events and processes involved, including pro days, and every major collegiate program has now held theirs for the 2013 NFL draft.
Changing opinions drastically over a player's pro day workout is rarely advisable, but prospects who improve on their combine numbers or post surprisingly low new numbers can still shake things up. Several players have done so over the last month.
In the following slides, we'll present the winners and losers of this year's round of collegiate pro days.
Winner: Utah DL Star Lotulelei
Star Lotulelei saw his stock drop considerably following the NFL combine, where he wasn't allowed to work out in front of teams because of a heart condition.
At Utah's official pro day, he reclaimed what was previously lost.
Lotulelei was medically cleared to participate, which was arguably his biggest accomplishment. A no-go weeks after the combine would have been a huge red flag and could have sent his draft stock tumbling further.
But work out he did, and the final numbers—38 bench-press reps at 225 pounds, a 30-inch vertical and 40 time in the 5.1-second range, according to Doug Farrar of Yahoo! Sports—were very good.
In fact, they should be enough to cement Lotulelei's status as a top-15 pick in April's draft.
Loser: Georgia LB Jarvis Jones
Jarvis Jones didn't work out at the NFL combine in Indianapolis, which made his Georgia pro day all the more important.
His final numbers likely disappointed the multitude of teams in attendance.
Jones ran the 40-yard dash in roughly 4.9 seconds, a time that would have finished near the bottom of linebacker times at the combine. According to Rich Cimini of ESPN New York, one scout who saw Jones called the workout "terrible."
Jones still has plenty of good college tape to fall back on, but his numbers are undoubtedly troubling. He's already not a big player (245 lbs), and teams likely expected him to be more explosive, especially in his straight-line speed.
Winner: Arizona QB Matt Scott
Matt Scott has been one of the draft's quarterback risers, and his pro day did little to slow that momentum.
After posting top numbers in the 40-yard dash (4.69 seconds), vertical (31"), broad jump (118") and 20-yard shuttle (3.99) at the NFL combine, Scott blazed his way through a marathon passing workout in front of NFL teams at the Arizona pro day.
According to Anthony Gimino of CBS Sports, Scott threw a ridiculous 85 passes "in front of 25 scouts." The feedback was positive, as Daniel Jeremiah reported shortly after the workout that buzz was "building" for Scott and that a number of teams had already set up private, individual workouts.
A dual-threat quarterback that fits with the current read-option fad, Scott could hear his name called in the middle rounds.
Loser: Alabama's Eddie Lacy and Barrett Jones
Game tape is always the most important evaluation tool for NFL teams, but decision-makers also want to see potential top picks healthy and working out during these important months.
Thanks to lingering injuries, Alabama's Eddie Lacy and Barrett Jones have yet to show off their physical skills for NFL teams.
Lacy (hamstring) and Jones (foot) both missed the NFL combine, and the same injuries kept the pair from working out at Alabama's official pro day.
Both players plan to work out at a later date, according to NFL.com, and there's still time for teams to get a good feel for the measurables. But it must have been disappointing for some clubs to once again lose out on the opportunity to gauge their numbers because of injuries.
Winner: South Carolina RB Marcus Lattimore
Less than six months after suffering one of the worst knee injuries in recent memory, Marcus Lattimore was somehow participating in South Carolina's official pro day.
According to Robert Klemko of USA Today, Lattimore's miraculous recovery drew deserving applause from those in attendance, which included all 32 NFL teams.
There are still significant question marks about whether or not Lattimore will be able to contribute much in 2013, but it's clear that his recovery timeline is much further ahead than most anyone could have expected.
Arguably the top running back available in the 2013 draft before the injury, Lattimore's inspiring pro day display could have his stock on the rise.
Loser: Cal WR Keenan Allen
In a deep receiving class, Keenan Allen is quickly becoming one of the draft's forgotten men.
The same lingering knee injury that kept him out of the NFL combine also cost Allen the opportunity to work out at Cal's pro day, which means teams still don't have a good feel on where he's at numbers wise.
That said, Allen's tape still shows that he's one of the draft's best receivers. And the workout is officially coming, according to Will Brinson of CBS Sports. Allen will finally work out for teams on April 9.
For now, we'll label Allen as a loser, if for no other reason than the worries that accompany injury. But come April 9, expect his arrow to be pointing up—likely all the way until draft day.
Winner: West Virginia QB Geno Smith and WR Tavon Austin
While it's difficult to put too much stock into a quarterback pro day, Geno Smith likely cemented his status as the draft's top quarterback with a strong workout.
NFL Network's Mike Mayock was certainly impressed (via Doug Farrar of Yahoo! Sports), saying, "I saw what I needed to see - the kid ripped it. Most importantly, his footwork looked like it had been cleaned up. He slid, moved in the pocket, and delivered the ball firmly and with authority."
Tavon Austin, one of his favorite receiving targets at West Virginia, was equally impressive.
According to ESPN's Todd McShay, Austin "stole the show," while displaying the kind of explosion and quickness we've come to expect from the slot receiver.
With less than a month to go before the draft, Smith and Austin should both be locks as top 15-20 picks.
Loser: Texas A&M DE Damontre Moore
Workouts haven't been kind to Damontre Moore, who started this draft process as a likely top-15 pick.
At the NFL combine in Indianapolis, Moore ran a slow time (4.94 seconds) and posted just 12 reps at 225 pounds in a disappointing all-around performance.
He improved slightly in the bench press (19) at the Texas A&M pro day, according to Doug Farrar of Yahoo! Sports, but then hurt his hamstring and couldn't run the 40-yard dash.
The 32 teams in attendance likely wanted to see more, especially in agility and positional drills. His chances of cracking the first round could be decreasing.
Winner: Wisconsin RB Montee Ball
Few running backs are as polarizing as Wisconsin's Montee Ball, but his performance at the UW pro day certainly didn't hurt his cause to be one of the top selected players at his position.
According to ESPN, Ball ran the 40-yard dash in 4.46 seconds at his pro day, which was well under his official combine time of 4.66.
While players at pro days usually shave hundredths of seconds off their 40 time, Ball's improvement was drastic enough to consider whether or not he simply had an off day in Indianapolis. If teams feel his real straight-line speed is closer to his time at the pro day, Ball could quickly become a top-60 pick.
Like so many backs before him in Madison, Ball certainly benefited from good offensive line play. But showing off the kind of athletic skills he did at the UW pro day should help calm any fears of Ball being simply a system back.
Loser: Texas S Kenny Vaccaro
Kenny Vaccaro is only a loser here in the sense that he didn't have a chance to improve on his average 40 time from the NFL combine.
Widely regarded as the draft's top safety in a deep class, Vaccaro was dealing with an injured hip at the Texas pro day, per Dane Brugler of CBS Sports. He eventually chose not to run the 40-yard dash. His time of 4.63 seconds from Indianapolis will have to stand alone.
Any team that passes on Vaccaro based solely on the 40 time will be making a huge mistake, but he likely wanted to run a much better time on the fast track in Austin. He should still be a top-20 pick in April.