Michigan Football: 3 Wolverines Players with the Most to Prove at Pro Day
Taylor Lewan is Michigan's most NFL-ready prospect, so he probably won't join the Wolverines during March 12's pro day at Al Glick Fieldhouse.
However, fellow senior Michael Schofield could definitely show up for scouts. He didn't bench press during the NFL Combine this past week in Indianapolis, so it's logical to assume that he could take advantage of the upcoming opportunity in Ann Arbor.
Jeremy Gallon had a productive combine as well. However, he doesn't really have anything left to prove to NFL executives. He ran a 4.49-second 40-yard dash and caught the ball well—low and fast, per SI.com's Doug Farrar.
That being said, pro day is an event that draft-eligible Wolverines can use to get on the radar...if they're not there already, that is.
Who might that be?
This slideshow will assess the cases of three players not named Lewan, Schofield or Gallon...while using NFLDraftScout/CBS as reference unless otherwise noted.
Also, it's important to note that there isn't a published list of pro day participants. This slideshow will take a few educated guesses and project.
Ht./Wt.: 6'2", 278 pounds
40 time: 5.03
Breaking into the NFL ranks has long been a dream for Jibreel Black.
In November, the ex-Michigan defensive tackle expressed the desire to follow his older brother's path to the pros, per Mark Snyder of the Detroit Free Press (paid archive).
According to NFLDraftScout.com, Black is the No. 82-ranked draft-eligible D-Tackle in this year's pool of talent. So yeah, about that path to the league...it may be a bit bumpy.
At 6'2" and 278 pounds, Black is a 'tweener.
However, he's durable and reliable, evidenced by 52 career appearances and 16 starts (13 as a senior)—"durable" in the sense that he made it through the Big Ten in one piece, and "reliable" in the sense that he was consistently available.
He wasn't overly consistent, though. And that's clear from his standing on draft boards—he's not on any.
Black most certainly has the most to prove come pro day. At times, he appeared to be one of coordinator Greg Mattison's brightest stars. At times, he appeared close to being considered as a pro-bound talent.
Today, his NFL future is uncertain.
Black not only has to prove himself on pro day, but he'll likely have to produce on the camp trail, too. His speed and strength are his best attributes. It's possible that those qualities will overshadow his minor lack of size.
Ht./Wt.: 6'0", 200 pounds
40 time: 4.58
There's something to be said for players like Fitz Toussaint.
They don't quit.
As a sophomore in 2010, he rushed for 1,064 yards and was on pace to feast on Big Ten defenses for the next two years.
Then his O-Line fell apart. Then he suffered one of the most gruesome injuries in recent memory, snapping his right leg against Iowa in 2012 and missing nine months of prep time.
Then he returned to action...but he wasn't effective (3.5 YPG) and his line was paper thin.
But that shouldn't negate Toussaint's heart. He definitely has that much.
However, he doesn't have high standing on draft boards. He's the No. 65-ranked running back of 2014, per NFLDraftScout.com, and that's precisely the reason why he must approach pro day with full focus and intensity.
A pro check awaits. Were Toussaint's stalled junior and senior years products of bad O-Lines and injuries, or was 2010 a one-time thing?
NFL execs probably want the 2010 Toussaint, not the 2012 or 2013 version.
Ht./Wt.: 6'3", 303 pounds
Class: RS Senior
40 time: 5.17
Two-way play is probably Quinton Washington's best asset. He saw snaps on both sides of the ball in college, and that'll be his calling card in the NFL...
...if he makes it that far.
According to NFLDraftScout.com, he's the No. 51-ranked DT of his class. Again, nothing spectacular. Add in the fact that he's five years out of high school, not three, as is the case with some of the high-end prospects, and he faces a challenge.
He's essentially old news. Teams will take looks at younger players with comparable skill sets before paying close attention to Washington. Perhaps an advantage, his experience should come in handy during the interview process.
Sure, there are younger and better guys out there. But Washington's been around two head coaches and two defensive coordinators. He knows how to adapt to change and set examples for teammates.
In April of 2013, he spoke of his leadership role, saying the following per Kyle Meinke of MLive.com:
My leadership role is key. This year, it’s the younger guys who are looking up to me. So I have to step up to what Will, Craig, (Jordan) Kovacs, step up into their shoes. It’s coming along well, and it’s making me better at the same time.
I have to change a few things (to be a leader). Just putting myself into position to be a great leader. You have to make people want to follow you. You can’t just say one thing and do another and have people follow you.
You have to be able to do what you say.
Still raw, Washington has an NFL-ready frame. He's not incredibly quick, but he's bulky enough to play on Sundays.
Honorable Mentions, Gordon-Style
Ht./Wt.: 5'11", 210 pounds
Class: RS Senior
40 time: 4.64
Thomas Gordon is a hair away from the 4.5-second range most like to see in an NFL safety/corner. However, he's clocked as low as 4.53 and is the No. 35-ranked SS of 2014, per NFLDraftScout.com.
As a senior, Thomas Gordon had three picks. As a team, Michigan tied for second in the Big Ten with 17. He's a reliable cover man and makes plays on the ball, which is a pretty standard mode of operation for pro DBs.
Ht./Wt.: 6'3", 237 pounds
Class: RS Senior
40 time: 4.76
Cam Gordon's bread and butter is versatility. He's played safety and linebacker, so he knows how to read the field from varying perspectives. He's not fast—let's get that out of the way right now. But he's good with angles and, like Thomas, is drawn to the ball.
NFLDraftScout.com pegs Cam as the No. 82-ranked OLB of 2014. That doesn't scream "draft day" by any means. But it does scream "pro day"—as in, "Cam needs a big pro day or he's not playing in the NFL."
Follow Bleacher Report's Michigan Wolverines football writer Adam Biggers on Twitter @AdamBiggers81
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