Friday pro day notes … SS/OLB/RB/KR/ETC Jabrill Peppers was the star attraction at the Michigan pro day today, but the guy who walked away as the big winner may have been DT Chris Wormley. According to the school, Wormley ran the 40 in unofficial times of 4.82 and 4.87 seconds. Note that several other former Wolverines who ran at the combine ran again today and were all roughly 0.05-0.10 seconds quicker at the pro day. Still, even adding a tenth to Wormley’s time puts him in the 4.9 range which is outstanding for a guy who goes 6-5, 298. On the other hand, several other Michigan prospects did not run as well. RB De’Veon Smith, who did not run at the combine, for example, ran a sundial time of 4.83, while offensive linemen Kyle Kalis (OG) and OT Erik Magnuson both had clockings of over 5.40. Meanwhile, at the BYU pro day, QB Taysom Hill ran in an adjusted time of around 4.5 seconds, while he added a 38-inch vertical jump. Problem for Hill is that nobody really doubted his athleticism, it’s his durability after a career marred by several serious injuries that ultimately ended 4 different seasons.
Browns confirm Garrett workout … No big surprise here but NFL sources have confirmed that Cleveland recently held a private workout with Texas A&M DE Myles Garrett. The Browns will also reportedly have Garrett into their facility for one of their 30 allowed on-site pre-draft visits. Unless something unexpectedly upsets the old apple cart in the next 5 weeks or so, the Browns are expected to select Garrett with the first pick overall at the upcoming draft.
Bears add vet QB Sanchez … In a move that has more than one observer around the NFL scratching their heads, Chicago has signed veteran QB Mark Sanchez. Presumably, Sanchez has been brought in to back-up Mike Glennon whom the Bears signed away from Tampa Bay earlier this month. The assumption is that the signing of Sanchez won’t impact what the Bears do at the position at the 2017 draft, although Chicago has generally gone with just 2 QBs the past few years. Whatever, the Bears, who hold the 3rd pick in this year’s draft, are still checking out the top QB prospects as they have private workouts scheduled with each of Mitch Trubisky, Deshaun Watson and DeShone Kizer. Stay tuned!
As the QB turns … After his generally solid pro day yesterday, Notre Dame QB DeShone Kizer will be working out with San Diego later today to highlight a number of private workouts by top QB prospects for this year’s draft. That and other notes in the pro day results blog.
‘Other’ QB to work out pro day today … He doesn’t get the same kind of buzz as the top 3 QB prospects in this year’s draft, but talk to scouts around the NFL and many will quietly tell you that that the guy they’d draft if they had the chance is Davis Webb of California. Webb will be working out later today at the Cal pro day. Meanwhile, other pro days on a relatively light day to wrap up the week include those at Michigan, Arizona and BYU.
Big crowd at Ohio State pro day; Irish QB Kizer ‘crisp’ at his … Not sure what the record is, but Ohio State drew a monster crowd to its pro day today. Indeed, there were reportedly over 120 NFL personnel people in Columbus today, needless to say representing all 32 NFL teams. The crowd included 9 head coaches including Bill Belichick of the Super Bowl champion Patriots, Todd Bowles of the Jets, Detroit’s Jim Caldwell, John Harbaugh of Baltimore, Cleveland’s Hue Jackson, Marvin Lewis of Cincinnati, Mike Mularkey of Tennessee, Sean Payton of New Orleans and Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin. In addition, as many as 7 G.M.s were also at the Ohio State pro day, although we are still waiting on the names. Most of the top Buckeye prospects stood on their combine numbers, although WR Noah Brown, who did not run in Indianapolis, ran the 40 today and reportedly timed in the low 4.6 range, which was kind of what was expected of the 6-2, 222-pound Brown. Meanwhile, Notre Dame QB DeShone Kizer reportedly had a solid workout at the Irish’s pro day in South Bend. Kizer, one of the top 3 QBs in the 2017 draft class, went through a scripted 60-pass workout during which he showed plenty of arm strength, but sometimes questionable touch. San Francisco G.M. was at the Notre Dame workout with a full contingent of 49ers’ execs in tow, However, San Francisco was the only team with a top 5-6 pick this year to attend Kizer’s workout. Chicago did send a couple of scouts, while Cleveland had one in South Bend, but their senior execs were elsewhere. However, it is believed that Cleveland and Chicago wil hold private workouts with Kizer as will the 49ers.
UCLA CB Moreau tweak needs surgery; out 3-6 months … The supposedly minor injury that forced UCLA CB Fabian Moreau out of the Bruins’ pro day earlier this week, turned out to be somewhat more serious. As a result, Moreau had surgery yesterday to repair a torn pectoral muscle. The recovery period for that type of injury is up to 6 months meaning that Moreau could conceivably miss the start of the upcoming season. Moreau had been considered one of the biggest risers in the 2017 class after an outstanding performance at the combine earlier this month. Indeed, there were growing whispers suggesting that Moreau could even sneak into the opening round. However, this shoulder issue will likely slow Moreau’s momentum, particularly with so many other good corners out there.
Pro day outings of note … While we wait for results from today’s super slate of pro day workouts, there were a couple of really solid performances earlier this week by small-school players not invited to the combine. Grambling WR Chad Williams, who did get an invite to the Senior Bowl, but not to the combine, for example, had a really strong workout. After measuring in at 6-0.5, 207, Williams reportedly ran the 40 in the 4.45 range, had a very good 38.5-inch vertical, along with good agility times of 4.15 seconds in the short shuttle and 7.06 in the three-cone; for good measure he also had 26 reps in the bench lifts. Meanwhile, Missouri State OLB Dylan Cole, who also was snubbed from the combine, also didn’t disappoint as he ran the 40-yard dash in the 4.55-4.60 range, had shuttle times of 4.08 in the short shuttle and 6.82 in the three-cone drill, along with a 39-inch vertical and 32 reps in the bench press, each of which would have ranked among the top scores for the linebackers at the combine. Both guys had been considered to be late round or even free agent prospects, but those workouts could move them higher on the third-day boards.
Monster day on pro day sched … Its another big day on the pro day schedule with workouts scheduled at Ohio State, Missouri, Utah, Stanford and San Diego State among others. And one of those others is Notre Dame where QB DeShone Kizer, one of the top 2-3 prospects at the position for the upcoming draft, will work out for what is expected to be a big crowd in South Bend.
Rising UCLA CB Moreau tweaks shoulder at pro day … UCLA CB Fabian Moreau’s pro day yesterday ended almost before it began when he tweaked his shoulder during the bench press and had to sit out the rest of the day. While the injury isn’t considered serious there may be some concerns among NFL teams about the shoulder as Moreau also did not lift at the combine because of soreness in the shoulder. The rest of Moreau’s combine, including a 4.35 clocking in the 40 has seen Moreau’s stock surge such that he has been considered to be one of the fastest risers in the 2017 draft class. At least, Moreau got to work out a bit as OLB Takk McKinley, a potential top 20-25 pick this year, started the day with his arm in a sling as a result of shoulder surgery he underwent immediately after the combine. However, McKinley will stay busy enough as he reportedly has visits lined up with Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Dallas, Cleveland and Detroit before the draft.
UNC Trubisky pro day ‘solid’ … All 32 teams were represented at the North Carolina pro day where star QB Mitch Trubisky, one of the top 2-3 prospects at the position for the upcoming draft, was front and center. Trubisky went through a 68-pass scripted workout that was generally described as ‘solid.’ Trubisky reportedly showed some real athleticism and escapability in the pocket, as well as a quick release and nice touch. At the same time, though, there were reportedly questions raised about his overall arm strength which may not necessarily be a whole lot more than average. For the record, three G.M.s were in Chapel Hill for today’s workout including Pittsburgh Kevin Colbert, who goes to most of the major pro day workouts; Jerry Reese of the Giants, who appears to have joined the frequent flyers club after folks like ourselves figured out that he usually only went to the workout of the player the Giants intended to draft – and got burned last year when Chicago jumped ahead of the Giants to select OLB Leonard Floyd, whom the Giants had targetted, and San Francisco’s John Lynch. In fact, the 49ers, who pick 2nd overall this year, were the only team to send a contingent of senior execs to the UNC pro day, although for some reason head coach Kyle Shanahan was not be part of the 49ers’ party. Indeed, somewhat interestingly, not one head coach was in attendance at the Tar Heels pro day today. Meanwhile, the New York Jets, who have the 6th pick, also sent a large delegation (6) to the UNC pro day including director of scouting Rex Hogan and QB-coach Jeremy Bates, while Chicago sent a party of three including national scouting director Mark Sadowski. In contrast, the Bears had sent a full delegation of senior execs to last week’s Clemson pro day to see Deshaun Watson. For its part, Cleveland, which has the 1st and 12th picks in this year’s opening round, sent a two-man delegation headed by director of college scouting Bobby Vega to see Trubisky today. However, the top decision makers for all these teams will eventually get up close and personal with Trubisky as Cleveland, San Francisco, Chicago and the Jets have all scheduled private workouts with him either later this month or early in Aprl, as have Arizona and Kansas City.
Huskies’ CB Jones has Achilles surgery; 2017 no sure thing … Washington CB Sidney Jones announced via Twitter that he underwent surgery to repair the Achilles injury he suffered at the Huskies’ pro day earlier this month earlier today. According to a report on NFL.com, Jones could begin running within 4 months and still hopes to play in 2017. If 4-months was in fact the preliminary recovery period then Jones could conceivably start running in mid-July or just about the time training camps open. However, that’s likely just light jogging and it will be longer before he is able to cut and go full-out. It remains to be seen how much this will hurt Jones’ ultimate grade at the upcoming draft. He had been considered to be a potential top 20 pick, but the injury could conceivably drop him as many as a couple of rounds literally into the latter part of the second day, especially because this year’s CB class may the strongest in the draft. For now, we’ve dropped Jones to around 70th on the GBN Big Board, but truth be told that’s just a guess.
Couple of eye-openers in latest Mayock positional rankings … There are a couple of noteworthy moves in Mike Mayock’s latest positional rankings for the 2017 draft which were just released. Mayock, the star draft analyst of NFL Network who has been mentioned as a potential candidate to become Washington’s new G.M. still has Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer as his #1 QB ahead of Mitchell Trubisky of North Carolina and Clemson’s Deshaun Watson. In Mayock’s world, Kizer gets the nod because of his arm strength. Mayock also still lists Alabama’s Cam Robinson as an OG rather at OT where everybody else has him rated. The big news in Mayock’s rating today, though, is that he has moved Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers to the top slot at safety ahead of LSU’s Jamal Adams and Malik Hooker of Ohio State. Peppers had a really solid combine performance earlier this month, whereas Adams only ran okay, while Hooker is out for a while with an injury. Also of note, Mayock has Washington’s Kenny King as his #3 CB, while Troy OT Antonio Garcia has moved up to #3 at that position. For the most part, Mayock’s rankings are his own and while he doesn’t always get every position right is pretty well connected to league sources and is in a position to call people up in the know if he has questions.
Saints looking at 2nd round DEs … While we wait for New Orleans to conclude talks with New England restricted free agent New England CB Malcolm Butler, there is another interesting story out that the Saints are working out DEs Tarell Basham of Ohio and Kansas State’s Jordan Willis. Both are considered to be second round type prospects. A true edge-rushing 4-3 DE is perhaps the Saints #1 priority heading into the draft, but the fact that the Saints are looking seriously at guys like Basham and Willis may suggest that perhaps the Saints are thinking of using the 11th pick on a different position and then going after a DE with either the 32nd pick, which the Saints acquired from New England for WR Brandin Cooks, or their second-round pick, the 42nd pick. Stay tuned.
Jets sign vet journeyman QB McCown … The New York Jets signed veteran QB Josh McCown today to a one-year, $6M deal. While he’s a career journeyman, he does give the Jets a veteran with starting experience to help get them over the hump. What’s less clear is what the hump is. Or more to the point, does the signing of McCown make the Jets less likely to select a QB early at the 2017 draft where they hold the 6th pick overall. It would certainly be an option for the Jets to take someone like North Carolina’s Mitchell Trubisky or Clemson’s Deshaun Watson with the 6th pick and let him sit behind McCown until they were ready to takeover. At the same time, though, the Jets already have a couple of young QBs in Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg and the plan could be to use McCown as a stopgap this year while they figure out what they have in their 2016 rookies.
Pro day week notes … There were several under the radar players who had strong performances at various pro day days across the country last week. The most notable of these may have been by Albany State DT Grover Stewart, an athletic 6-4.5, 340-pounder who had 7 sacks in each of the past couple of seasons. Stewart, who reportedly ran in the low 5.10 range for the 40, while posting 30 reps in the bench press at his pro day, reportedly has visits set up with as many as 10 teams, as well as private workouts with a half dozen others. On the other side of the ball, OTs Jylan Ware of Alabama State and Harvard’s Max Rich also impressed with their athleticism. Ware measured in at 6-7.5, 316 and then went out and posted 40 times in the 5-flat range, along with leaps of 29-inches in the vertical and 9-5 in the long jump, each of which would have been among the leaders at the position in Indianapolis. Meanwhile, Rich measured in at 6-7, 311, ran the 40 in close to 5.10, had a 30-inch vertical, managed 25 reps in the bench, while also posting very good times in the agility drills. Pro scouts also would like to see more of Washburn OLB Cody Heiman (6-1.5, 230) who ran in the 4.60 area in the 40, had a 36-inch vertical, 31 reps in the bench, along with quick times in the shuttle runs.
‘Aggressive’ Eagles host star RBs Fournette, Cook … It flew under the radar just a tad, but Philadelphia reportedly had both of this year’s top RB prospects – LSU’s Leonard Fournette and Florida State’s Dalvin Cook – in for visits on Friday. The Eagles are said to be planning to be ‘aggressive’ in finding a top rusher to take some of the pressure off 2nd year QB Carson Wentz, although its not clear who exactly in the Philadelphia organization, if anyone, has indicated that they plan to be aggressive in pursuit of a RB; its also not clear what being ‘aggressive’ would actually mean. The Eagles currently have the 14h pick overall, which they acquired from Minnesota in the deal for QB Sam Bradford, which would probably be too late to get Fournette, although Cook could conceivably still be on the board at that time after a somewhat underwhelming combine. Bottom line is that to be sure of getting one of those two guys, if that is what in fact the Eagles want to do, they would like have to move up at least into the top 10. And while it likely won’t come into play all that much, you know that the Eagles would really like to make a splash at this year’s draft as they will be hosting the event beginning on April 27th. Of course, all this assumes that the Eagles indeed have targeted a top RB as their primary need. However, the Eagles also have major issues at CB and they’ll need to find an edge rushing DE to replace Connor Barwin who just bolted to the LA Rams. In fact, along with Fournette and Cook, the Eagles also have had Alabama CB Marlon Humphrey in for a visit, along with his Tide teammate Reuben Foster. And somewhat surprisingly, given that they have signed prominent free agent WRs Alshon Jeffrey and Torrey Smith, the Eagles have reportedly also had, or will have, visits with Washington’s John Ross, Mike Williams of Clemson and Western Michigan’s Corey Davis, the top 3 wideouts in this year’s draft class. Stay tuned!
Key week on pro day sched looming … It has been kind of quiet couple of days around the NFL, but things will start to heat up next week with several of the top QBs in this year’s draft scheduled to workout at their pro days. On Tuesday, for example, Mitchell Trubisky will be front and center at the North Carolina pro day, while Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer will be on the field working out with his Irish teammates on Thursday. So far, it’s not clear whether Cleveland, which has the #1 pick this year, will send a senior delegation to either workout, but San Francisco, which holds the second pick, definitely will be there in force. According to bay area media sources, 49ers’ G.M. John Lynch will be there along with V.P. of player personnel Adam Peters, senior personnel executive Martin Mayhew, and QB coach Rich Scangarello, although for some reason head coach Kyle Shanahan will not be part of the party. The 49ers will also reportedly have a private workout with Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, presumably on Wednesday. Interestingly, the Watson workout will be held in conjunction with another so far as yet unidentified team, which could be Cleveland which also didn’t attend his pro day in numbers last week, but has said they will work him out privately. It will also be interesting to see who Chicago sends to this week’s workouts. The Bears, who have the third pick, were the one team with a Top 5 selection, to send a full delegation to Watson’s pro day last week. Meanwhile, other pro days on what will be the busiest week on this year’s pro day schedule include workouts at UCLA on Tuesday, Southern Cal, Michigan State and Pittsburgh on Wednesday, Ohio State, Stanford, Missouri and Utah on Thursday and Michigan, Arizona and California on Friday. Stay tuned.
More Clemson pro day notes … Still trying to get an accurate 40 time for big-time Clemson WR Mike Williams from today’s pro day. As noted earlier, the school announced a time of 4.49 for Williams, who did not run at the combine, while there were press later press reports that had Williams running anywhere from 4.53 to 4.58. For the record, 4.55 was what scouts were expecting from Williams, one of the top 2-3 rated WR prospects in this year’s draft. By way of comparison, three Clemson players ran at both the combine and today’s pro day; in all three cases their times were faster today by 0.05 seconds, 0.08 seconds and a full 1.2 seconds or an average of roughly 0.08 seconds. At the same time, Williams’ time today was the same as that for fellow Clemson WR Artavis Scott who clocked a 4.61 in Indianapolis. So it is probably a safe bet to figure that Williams’ actual time is somewhere in the 4.57-4.60 range. Again, that’s not bad for a receiver who is almost 6-4 and 218 pounds, but it may not be quite top 10-15 type time either. Among other for Clemson players who ran today after not running at the combine, TE Jordan Leggett timed in the high 4.7 range, while rugged MLB Ben Boulware likely ran in the high 4.8 territory. Bottom line is that neither was a particularly good clocking. We also noted in the earlier report that Chicago, which has the 3rd pick overall this year, had a full contingent at the Clemson pro day including G.M. Ryan Pace and head coach John Fox. They were one of four teams that had both their G.M. and head coach there including Detroit and Tennessee, and Pittsburgh, although we should point out that Steelers G.M. Kevin Colbert and head coach Mike Tomlin go to just about every major pro day, as well as a whole bunch of less major ones. One team that apparently didn’t send any top execs to Clemson was Cleveland, although the Browns do intend to attend a private workout by Watson; the Browns will also reportedly have Watson in on for one of their 30 pre-draft visits.
Pro day focus on Clemson workout … No surprise here but all 32 teams had reps at this morning’s pro day at national champion Clemson. At this point, details are still a little skimpy, but it appears that Chicago was well-represented today as the Bears had a full contingent at the Clemson pro day including G.M. Ryan Pace, head coach John Fox, offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains and QB coach Dave Ragone were all in attendance. No doubt the Bears, who have the 3rd pick overall this year, were there checking out QB DeShaun Watson who went through a scripted 60-throw workout. Meanwhile, there are mixed reports on how well Tigers’ WR Mike Williams ran today. According to preliminary results released by the school, Williams, one of the top 2-3 WR receiver prospects for the 2017 draft who chose not to run at the combine, ran in the ‘4.5’ range which would be very good for a guy his size (he measured in at 6-3.5 and 218 at the combine). However, Dan Jeremiah of NFL.com has subsequently reported that at least one team had Williams clocking times of 4.56 and 4.58, which would be much more of a gray area. In fact, if Williams’ adjusted time ends up in the low 4.6 range, which is very possible, teams will have a tough decision on Williams as there are some questions about his explosiveness and ability to separate at the next level. For the record, Corey Davis, another of this year’s top receiver prospects, was not able to run at the Western Michigan pro day yesterday. Davis has an ankle injury that also kept him from participating at the combine, but he hopes to be able to run at a private pro day sometime before the draft on April 27th. Back to the Clemson pro day for just a moment, Tigers’ DT Carlos Watkins, a second day candidate who also did not run at the combine, ran the 40 in the 5-flat according to preliminary results announced by the school. Even if that number turns out to be inflated, that’s still a very competitive time for an interior defensive lineman who measures in at 6-3, 310.
SMU QB enters draft … Southern Methodist QB Matt Davis has opted to enter the 2017 draft rather than continue to pursue a 6th year of eligibility through the NCAA after he missed all or most of both the 2012 and 2016 seasons because of injuries. This past season, for example, Davis tore an ACL after playing in the Mustangs’ season opener. Davis originally signed with Texas A&M, but left after the 2013 season and ultimately ended up at SMU where he was a reasonably productive dual-threat QB who passed for over 3,000 yards in his career while running for another 1,500 yards. At 6-0, 212, though, with at best an average arm, Davis is not considered to be more than a fringe draft prospect, but might get some free agent looks at a different position.
49ers get Ravens vet C for swap-6 picks … San Francisco has acquired veteran C Jeremy Zuttah from Baltimore. In exchange the teams flipped sixth-round picks with Baltimore getting #186 from San Francisco and the 49ers get #198. The Ravens were in the process of releasing Zuttah when the 49ers gave them a call.
CB Lewis charged with domestic assault … Former Michigan CB Jourdan Lewis was reportedly charged with one count of domestic violence last night for an incident reportedly involving his girlfriend. Lewis is considered to be a second day prospect for the upcoming draft. He has never been known to have any off-field character issues, but the NFL currently takes these kinds of incidents very seriously so it is not clear what this will do to his ultimate grade.
You want mocks! We got mocks!! … Actually we have seriously considered making the GBN a ‘mock free’ draft zone! Not that they are not fun to do. And not that they can provide a certain level on information. However, what we sense is that the vast majority of fans, and even most media, tend to completely misinterpret the value of mock drafts, to the point that they become almost totally irrelevant and just this side of useless. With that proviso, we do have a couple of updated 2017 projects, but you have to go here first: next!
Pats RFA CB Butler to visit Saints … Interesting development in New Orleans where the Saints will host restricted free agent New England CB Malcolm Butler on Thursday. If the Saints were to sign Butler to an offer sheet and the Patriots didn’t match it, New Orleans would owe the Patriots a first round pick. In fact, the Saints would have to send the Patriots their highest #1 pick which right now is the 11th overall after New Orleans acquired the 32nd pick from New England in the deal for WR Brandin Cooks earlier this month. What makes it all rather interesting is that were reports the Patriots and Saints actually originally talked about a straight-up deal for Cooks and Butler, but the latter had not signed his RFA tender and was therefore ineligible to be dealt. However, Butler has since signed his tender. There is also speculation that if the Saints were to offer Butler, it would be on the proviso that a) they could sign him to a long-term deal and b) that the Patriots agree to take back the 32nd pick, or a later pick from the Saints who likely would not be willing to part with the 11th for Butler. Stay tuned!