Saturday, February 28, 2009

Pro Days Schedule Announced

In the lead-up to the NFL draft a great deal of attention is paid to the Combine, and understandably so. However another part of the draft preparation for NFL teams is attendance at the so-called "Pro Days" for players in whom they have an interest. As described at NFL.com "[t]hese are not as all-encompassing as the combine, but they are important enough for the key decision-makers in the league to travel around the country for more than a month to see the talent up close and personal."

The schedule for these workouts is available at NFL.com, and some of the more interesting workouts include (in alphabetical order):
  • Alabama (March 11): Andre Smith ~ can he recover from his Combine debacle?

  • Arizona (March 14): Eben Britton, currently projected by more than a few as being of interest to the Steelers, will be looking to enhance his standing amongst the scouts.

  • Arkansas (March 10):Center Jonathan Luigs has been projected by some as a possible second round choice for Pittsburgh. He had a solid Combine performance (5.07 40-yard dash and a 31" vertical jump); but questions persist about his strength.

  • California (March 18): Alex Mack did not participate in drills at the Combine, and his pro day performance may mean the difference between going somewhere in the top 25 picks of the first round or falling to Pittsburgh at #32 ~ or beyond.

  • Connecticut (March 25): In the earliest mock drafts William Beatty was viewed as someone who could end up in Pittsburgh with the final choice of the first round. Mr. Beatty had a nice time in the 40-yard dash (5.03) but did not perform as well in the 20-yard shuttle or the bench press. Despite that, conjecture is that he is moving up most draft boards.

  • Iowa (March 23): Robert Bruggeman, an offensive lineman, was one of the top performers in the bench press at the Combine but did not participate in the 40-yard dash or any other running drills. Has been mentioned as a possible second round choice for the Steelers.

  • Oregon (March 12): Our favorite, Max Unger, looks to impress after a mediocre performance at the Combine.

  • Penn State (March 18): A.Q. Shipley was a top ten Combine performer in the bench press, vertical jump, three-cone drill, 20-yard shuttle, and was tied for fourteenth best in the 40-yard dash. We wonder what more he has to prove?

  • Richmond (March 19): Lawrence Sidbury Jr. was a monster at the Combine ~ performing in the top ten in the 40-yard dash, vertical jump, broad jump, and 20-yard shuttle ~ and his size (6'2", 266) leads us to believe that he could be the next young outside linebacker to join the Steelers. The scouts at Ourlads gave him good marks for his performance at the Senior Bowl while still suggesting that he must improve in both his play against the run and expanding his repertoire of pass rushing moves.

  • Texas Tech (March 12): Michael Crabtree ~ will he or won't he? Also, offensive lineman Louis Vasquez, who led all offensive linemen at the Combine with 39 repetitions in the bench press, will workout as well.

  • UCLA (March 31): Any self-respecting alumni of UCLA would highlight their pro day. Running back Kahlil Bell was a top performer at the Combine in the 3-cone drill, 20-yard shuttle, and 60-yard shuttle; but his 4.68 time in the 40-yard dash is likely to keep him off draft boards. However, he is a strong, muscular runner (5'11", 212 lbs.) who could make a career for himself as a fullback.

  • Vanderbilt (March 5): Cornerback D.J. Moore, mentioned by some as a possible first round selection for the Steelers, will try to improve on a fair Combine performance.

  • Wisconsin (March 4): Offensive lineman Kraig Urbik will try to convince Steelers scouts that he is worthy of a second round selection.
Dates and participants will be added to the Pro Day schedule as they become available (i.e. bookmark that page).

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