NFL Draft Prospects in Desperate Need of Monster Pro Day Performance
The NFL Scouting Combine is the end of the major events during the NFL draft scouting process, but there's still time for prospects who didn't get the opportunity to work out or maximize their opportunity in Indianapolis.
As scouts travel across the country to get one last on-field look at the top players, prospects await their arrival on the pro day circuit. You can check out the entire pro day schedule here at NFL.com.
These are the 10 prospects who weren't invited to the combine, suffered injury while participating in Indianapolis or need to make up for lackluster workout numbers and thus have the most to prove on their respective pro days.
Brett Smith, Wyoming (March 13th)
One of the more shocking omissions from the combine, Brett Smith was forced to stay at home while the top quarterback prospects worked out and interviewed with NFL teams in Indianapolis. He's highly ranked by most evaluators, so the lack of an invite came at a stark surprise to many that watched him play during his Wyoming career.
While his pro day likely won't give teams any insight on his passing ability (that's what his film is for), he'll get the opportunity to run through all of the combine drills, where I'd expect he tests among the best quarterbacks in the 2014 draft.
Despite being one of the biggest combine snubs, he won't get snubbed on draft day and could fight for a top-100 pick if he can make the most out of his pro day.
De'Anthony Thomas, Oregon (March 13th)
Expectations entering the combine were set high for Oregon's De'Anthony Thomas, who has been one of the most explosive players in the country the past three years.
While a 4.50 official time is nothing to sneeze at, his elite on-field quickness and speed was projected to put him among the best times of any player in attendance.
His on-field speed hasn't changed since his final game in college, but for a player that relies on big-play ability as both a running back, receiver and returner, he'll need to improve on his good, not great, timed tests if he hopes to be viewed as a top-three round prospect.
James Wilder, Florida State (March 18th)
James Wilder was a surprise early entrant in the draft this year although more than few of his teammates opted to leave their college career on a National Championship. Despite his flashes of powerful runs and explosive up-field runs, Wilder was not ready for the NFL, and his grade seemed to reflect more of an early Day 3 pick.
For a player with the on-field athleticism he displayed, the combine had the potential to be a coming out party that would make him an intriguing mid-round pick.
But after posting good, not great, combine numbers, led by a highly concerning 4.86 40 time, Wilder is now pushed towards the bottom of a deep running back class. Without a strong pro day, Wilder could slide to late in the third day of the draft.
Cody Latimer, Indiana (March 26th)
Still recovering from foot surgery in January, Cody Latimer wasn't able to work out at the combine other than at the bench press. And in a receiver class that's the deepest in recent draft history, not performing in the postseason workouts could make a world of difference for NFL decision-makers.
With a late March pro day, he has a chance to get up to 100 percent in time to participate in front of NFL scouts. After a productive final season and meeting the measurable thresholds for the position, Latimer needs to make the most of his potential final opportunity.
Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama (March 12th)
Cyrus Kouandjio is a mauling, well-built offensive tackle, so he wasn't expected to time all that well in most of his drills at the combine.
However, with most of the top offensive tackles testing extremely well and his numbers being among the worst in most drills comparably, he needs to build from that and show he has the athletic upside to be a worthwhile top-64 pick.
When you combine those on-field concerns with the report by Ian Rapoport that some teams have failed him based on their physical due to an arthritic knee, Kouandjio has little room for error in his NFL draft workouts.
Will Sutton, Arizona State (March 7th)
The combine workouts aren't always important for defensive linemen, but when you're primarily an up-field pass rusher who relies on quickness to start off his penetration, it's not a good sign when you're testing among the lowest at the defensive line position.
Sutton was most productive as a junior when he played at around 260 pounds, but now weighs in at over 300 pounds as of the combine.
He'll need to show he's still on the path to sub-300 pounds for his pro day where scouts will look to see if he can display better quickness and explosiveness than he did in Indianapolis.
Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame (March 20th)
Dealing with a Jones fracture in February, Stephon Tuitt wasn't able to participate in combine workouts as reported by Daniel Jeremiah of NFL Network.
The massively built Tuitt has already drawn Richard Seymour comparisons, high praise for a player that isn't a fit for every defense, but has the skill set to fit in 3-4 defenses as a dominating strong-side defensive end.
However, Tuitt has stiffness in his game that is concerning, particularly as it relates to what his NFL style of play could be.
He didn't have a great junior year, which opened the door for many to wonder if he has an NFL position for most NFL defenses. A big pro day, hopefully late enough in the month to allow him to be fully recovered, could show teams he's athletic enough to be a versatile prospect.
Morgan Breslin, USC (March 12th)
Likely thanks to that drop in production, Breslin didn't earn a combine invite. While that's not ideal for a player angling for a draft pick, it likely allowed Breslin to get even more healthy, along with putting even more pressure on him when scouts arrive on March 12th.
As a potential developmental starter and power rusher in a 3-4 system, Breslin has the upside to be an NFL starter if a team can get past his lackluster senior year stats and injury history in the past. The pro day will be his chance to make a lasting impression for NFL scouts.
Aaron Lynch, South Florida (March 10th)
One of the better athletes among the defensive linemen in this class based on film, it was disappointing to see Aaron Lynch not perform in Indianapolis.
After flashing as a freshman at Notre Dame, Lynch sat out a full year before playing at South Florida this year, failing to live up to the hype that built up in anticipation of his junior season.
The South Florida pro day will be the first time he runs timed tests for NFL teams, which will be a key aspect to his scouting report thanks to the fact that his production and on-field performances won't be ideal selling points for teams.
If he doesn't test well, he may be in the late-round discussion for most NFL teams. If he does, he'll likely find some team in the top-64 selections that takes a chance on him.
Jeremiah Attaochu, Georgia Tech (March 28th)
Jeremiah Attaochu had a highly impressive sophomore season playing as a true 3-4 outside linebacker and displaying elite potential as a pass-rushing threat. However, a change in Georgia Tech's defense pushed him to more of a 4-3 player, a defense he doesn't fit well into.
After lackluster junior and senior seasons thanks to his college scheme, Attaochu struggled at the Senior Bowl as a 4-3 linebacker and then wasn't able to participate at the NFL combine thanks to injury.
While his upside is clear and he clearly has the tools to develop for an NFL team, he needs to show that his athleticism matches the potential evaluators are anticipating based on film study. A strong combine could put him in the top 20 discussion. A poor one could make him a fringe second-rounder.
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