2014 NFL Draft: Highlighting Prospects on the Rise After Impressive Pro Days

Sean ODonnellContributor IIIMarch 15, 2014

ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 16:  Jace Amaro #22 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders celebrates a touchdown against the Baylor Bears at AT&T Stadium on November 16, 2013 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The 2014 NFL draft is less than two months away. Now that the combine is over, the last chance for prospects to impress NFL scouts is at their pro days.

Pro days provide a more hands-on experience for NFL coaches, as they have the opportunity to see draft hopefuls up close and personal during workouts. A great pro day could make or break a prospects' admiration from an NFL franchise.

Many pro days have already come to an end, so let's take a look at a few prospects who bolstered their draft stocks after sensational showings.


Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA

Barr took the field during UCLA's pro day in an effort to improve upon his combine performance. At the NFL Scouting Combine, he ran a 4.66-second 40-yard dash—not much of an impressive time for a linebacker whose speed had been widely heralded.

He not only improved that number at his pro day, but he ran a blazing 4.45 seconds, according to Abbey Mastracco of Fox Sports. Barr also boosted his bench-press performance. He only accumulated 15 reps at the combine but ripped off 19 on March 11.

Mastracco recorded the praise that head coach Jim Mora gave Barr during an interview with UCLABruins.com:

After he came back from the combine he went back to work coach (Sal) Alosi and made some huge gains. I think definitely in the top-10 from what I got from the guys today. And they understand with Anthony that the ceiling is so high, he's only been playing the position for two years. He comes out here today and runs a 4.45, at 247 pounds, 6'4.5". And then he goes out and benches 19 times which is a four rep-improvement from two weeks ago and they understand that there's so much room for growth.

Barr had already been a possible top-10 selection, and his great pro-day performance solidified his lofty status.


Robert Herron, WR, Wyoming

Herron isn't as widely known as Barr in draft circles—especially due to the deep draft class at his position this year. However, he is a name to watch for after his tremendous performance at Wyoming's pro day.

Bleacher Report's Benjamin Allbright was on hand and came away impressed.

According to Allbright's first tweet, Herron ran the 40-yard dash in two incendiary times:

Once he took the field for positional drills, Allbright noted the receiver's pure hands:

This is a big-time showing for the wide receiver, as his combine performance was underwhelming. He ran a 4.48-second 40-yard dash and wasn't a top performer in any drill.

That was not a good sign for a wide receiver who stands at just 5'9" and weighs 193 pounds.

Herron's size may affect him slightly; however, smaller wide receivers have shown that they can make it in today's NFL (see: Austin, Tavon). Now with a great pro day in the books, Herron's draft status should surge.

CBSSports.com grades him as a late third-, early fourth-round prospect. Expect that to change after he finally got a chance to impress NFL personnel.


Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech

Amaro had already looked to be a consensus first-round selection for May's draft. He cemented that status at the Texas Tech pro day.

The 6'5", 265-pound tight end was coming off a strong showing at the combine. He was one of the top performers at his position in the 40-yard dash, bench press, vertical jump, broad jump, 20-yard shuttle and 60-yard shuttle.

However, he was not satisfied. During an interview with Don Williams of RedRaiders.com, the tight end said that he wanted to prove his combine performance wasn't a fluke:

I felt it was real consistent. I wanted to show it wasn't a fluke or anything like that. I still feel just as strong and just as fast as I was back then. I wanted to show I could do it again. I was so much more relaxed. I knew what was coming. I knew what I had prepared for. I just felt a lot more comfortable when the balls came my way. It was easy for me, because I knew the plan and everything that was going to be thrown at me.

Amaro's strategy worked. He improved his combine 40-yard dash time of 4.74 seconds to 4.68 seconds. He also showed his strength, tallying 26 bench-press reps after ripping off 28 at the combine.

According to Williams, Amaro was given a strong NFL player comparison by one 49ers scout: "He was just telling me how I resemble (49ers tight end Vernon) Davis a lot and what he did and what he does still. So he’s excited to see if I end up falling to the 49ers."

After an impressive showing at the combine and then this stellar pro-day performance, Amaro may not make it to the 49ers at No. 30 overall.


Combine results courtesy of NFL.com