NFL Draft 2014: Prospects Who Helped Their Stock During Pro Day Workouts

Sean Frye@Sean_E_FryeFeatured ColumnistApril 3, 2014

Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel passes the ball during a drill at pro day for NFL football representatives in College Station, Texas, Thursday, March 27, 2014. (AP Photo/Patric Schneider)
Patric Schneider

 An impressive performance at the combine is important, but wowing the scouts at pro day can cement a player's draft stock. 

On the flip side, if a prospect has been overlooked to this point and didn't even get an invite to the combine, a pro day provides one last opportunity to prove the prognosticators wrong. 

Pro days are in full swing around the country right now, and some prospects are already making waves with strong performances. Here are some of the prospects who saw their stock rise after a particularly strong showing at their pro day. 

Brandon Wade

Garrett Gilbert, QB, SMU

Football fans around the country first heard Garrett Gilbert's name when he was forced to replace Colt McCoy in the 2010 BCS National Championship after McCoy went down with an injury. 

Since that night, Gilbert transferred from Texas to SMU. With the Mustangs, Gilbert started for two seasons. In his senior campaign last year, Gilbert racked up 3,528 yards and 21 touchdowns. 

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At 6'4" and 220 pounds, Gilbert has the physical traits to be a quality quarterback in the league. But according to CBS Sports, Gilbert was projected to go undrafted. 

However, at his pro day on March 28, according to Gil Brandt of NFL.com, Gilbert impressed scouts from 22 teams—including three NFL quarterbacks coaches—by completing 87-of-88 passes. 

Per Brandt, Gilbert has visits with Carolina and Tampa Bay planned, but that the list will grow after his great pro day. Brandt also points out that just three quarterbacks averaged more passing yards then Gilbert last season, with one of them being projected first-rounder Derek Carr. 

How much Gilbert's stock will rise as a result of his pro day will likely rely on his visits to teams. But Gilbert's showing is a prime example of how pro days can improve a prospect's standing heading into the draft. 

Patric Schneider

Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M

It's no secret that Johnny Football is one of the top prospects in the NFL draft. Since the college football season ended, Manziel has been battling it out with Derek Carr, Teddy Bridgewater and Blake Bortles to earn the honor of top quarterback available in the draft. 

On his pro day, Manziel may have proven that he's worthy of being the top gunslinger in this year's class. 

Mike Maycock of NFL.com moved Manziel into the top spot in his quarterback position rankings following his pro day. 

Reps from 30 teams showed up to Manziel's pro day last weekend, and in his traditional Hollywood style, Manziel completed 61-of-63 passes with music from Drake blasting over the loud speakers. 

Johnny Football also wore pads and a helmet on his pro day—something which was unheard of, but was met with positive responses. NFL legend Tiki Barber voiced his support for the move on Twitter. 

Manziel is bound to make an immediate impact wherever he goes and was likely a top-10 pick before his pro day. After it, he may now be making a run at being the first person to hear his name called. 

Joe Nicholson

Bishop Sankey, RB, Washington

Bishop Sankey was a beast of a running back last season at Washington. He rushed for 1,870 yards–fourth-best nationally–and 20 touchdowns in his junior campaign before declaring for the NFL draft after the season. 

CBS Sports ranks Sankey as the fourth-best running back available and the 63rd best overall prospect in this year's class. But those numbers could be on the rise after his pro day. 

On April 2, at Washington's pro day, he registered an incredible 11.11-second mark in the long shuttle. That mark would've been the best out of all of the running backs at the combine, as it's a quarter-second faster than what Tyler Gaffney of Stanford registered in Indy. 

Sankey only participated in the shuttle and positional drills in his pro day, but he excelled nonetheless. In receiver drills, he showed off his soft hands, which allowed him to haul in 28 catches for 304 yards last year. 

With his strong showing solidifying Sankey as a quality back, he could very well hear his name called in the first round. 

Rick Scuteri

Carl Bradford, LB, Arizona State

An under-the-radar linebacker prospect, Bradford turned heads at Arizona State's pro day in early March. 

Currently ranked as the fifth-best linebacker in this year's draft class by CBS Sports, Bradford's best accomplishment at his pro day was improving on his 40-yard dash time from the combine. 

In Indianapolis, Bradford registered a 4.75 40-time. At his pro day, according to Kerry Crowley of SB Nation, Bradford improved on his time by over a tenth of a second by registering a 4.64. 

"I just wanted to come out and prove that I am faster than a 4.75 or whatever I had there," Bradford said, per Crowley

With speed starting to takeover in the NFL, that big of an improvement in Bradford's 40-yard dash time certainly did wonders to his draft stock. Expect the former Sun Devil to go in either the first or second round. 


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