Paul and I have dedicated our coverage of the 2023 draft to former colleague Larry Parker who passed away just before Christmas. Larry had an encyclopedic knowledge of college football and what he didn’t know he always found out. Larry was just 55 and we miss him every day.

Pro day updates … Needless to say, the center of attention at the Florida pro day earlier today was Gators’ QB Anthony Richardson who put on a solid performance throwing the ball. However, Richardson wasn’t the only Gator to attract attention today. There reportedly was a lot of  interest in star OG O’Cyrus Torrence. Torrence reportedly went out to dinner with Tennessee on Wednesday evening. That’s interesting because of late Torrence has been talked about as a likely 20-25 pick, but the Titans, whose OL has been decimated this off-season, actually pick 11th, suggesting that just maybe teams are looking at Torrence earlier than the 20s. And that could be backed up by the fact that Torrence already has had 30-visits with Washington,Pittsburgh and Detroit, each of whom picks in the teens, while he also met with Atlanta, which picks 8th, today. And back to Richardson for a moment. There seems to be a growing buzz that he could be destined for Seattle next month. Pete Carroll, for example, was the only head coach not from Carolina (or the neighborhood as the Jags’ Doug Pederson was also there) to take in Richardson’s session today. Of course, the Seahawks have the 5th pick overall and have indicated that they’d like to take a developmental QB at spot (or earlier if they end up trading up.) Indeed, with Geno Smith likely around for at least another year or two, the Seahawks would be one team that could afford to give Richardson some development time. However, interesting to note, that Indianapolis, who have been largely boycotting the QB pro days did have a senior person there in Morocco Brown, the Colts’ chief personnel exec.

Somewhat disappointing day for TCU WR Quenton Johnston at the Frogs’ pro day. Expected to blow people away with a 4.4 type 40-clocking, the times reported for Johnston were all in the 4.50 range – and that’s the unofficial time – suggesting that he actually may have timed closer to 4.55 or even 4.60. Johnston also had a couple of drops on the day. The buzz around the league, though, at least for the moment is that teams know how fast he plays and combine that with his size (6-3, 212) he still figures to be in the mix to be the first receiver off the board next month. Also note that Bill Belichek was there from New England and the receiver-needy Patriots have the 14th pick, as was Green Bay GM Brian Gutehurst, whose WR-needy Packers pick 15th. Of course, it wouldn’t be a major WR workout this year if the Giants didn’t take the guy to dinner the night before, which they did!

Of course, nobody expected Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker, who is recovering from a torn ACL suffered in November, to participate in today’s UT pro day; however, Hooker did reportedly actually throw a few easy passes as he continues to say he’ll be ready for the start of the 2023 season.

At Oklahoma, RB Eric Gray, one of the good second-tier backs who did not run at the combine, had a solid 37.5-inch vertical, but only clocked (unofficially) in the 4.65 range in the 40 which would certainly qualify as something of a disappointment.

Early reviews of Gator QB pro day generally positive … The early reviews of Florida QB Anthony Richardson’s pro day work out have started to filter in and not surprisingly they kind of confirm what we already know. Richardson completed a 45-scripted program this afternoon, including one rocket that dinged off the Roof at the Gators’ facility, during which the ball was just popping out of hand. And nobody in this class can get the ball downfield with the same kind of zip. Richardson’s accuracy on long passes was also a little better than advertised. However, Richardson still has issues with his accuracy on intermediate throws as he doesn’t always get his feet properly set. The bottom line is that Richardson had a very good workout and certainly held serve. At the same time, though, the consensus appears to be that Alabama’s Bryce Young and CJ Stroud of Ohio State are still clearly 1-2 on the QB board and that Richardson is in a battle for the 3-4 spots with Kentucky’s Will Levis.

Saving the best for last as Gator QB set to throw at pro day … That actually may be overstating it slightly, but with Florida QB Anthony Richardson set to do his scripted throwing session at the Gators’ pro day day, they at least saved ‘the most polarizing’ for last. Certainly, Richardson, who is 6-4, 245, has the best set of physical tools of any of this year’s QB prospects, but is still very rough around the edges as a pure passer, is going to draw a crowd in Gainesville today. Indeed, he already met and had dinner with the full contingent of Carolina front office people last evening, while also meeting with officials from Las Vegas. The Gators’ pro day actually starts around 10 AM ET this morning and will be covered by the SEC Network. Richardson’s session isn’t expected to start somewhere in the 1-1:30 time slot and will be available on NFL Network+, their streaming service, because everybody would rather watch a prospective NFL QB go throw his throwing session on their phone rather than a wide-screen TV! Meanwhile, in addition to the Florida pro day, there are also major workouts at Tennessee, Oklahoma and TCU later today. Indeed, with WRs Jalin Hyatt and Cedric Tillman set to work out at the Vols’ pro day and Quentin Johnston up at the TCU pro day, it will be interesting to see how teams looking at QBs with their #1 pick this year break down those two workouts.

Izzy sizzles at Ptt pro day; other work out notes … All but one team was represented at the Pittsburgh pro day earlier today, but in something of an upset, neither Steelers’ GM Omar Khan nor head coach Mike Tomlin, who have been to just about every other major pro day this year, weren’t. Of course, they had a bit of an excuse in that they were still at the league meeting in Phoenix. And the Steelers were well-represented at the Panthers pro day with two senior personnel people, including their assistant G.M., as well as four position coaches.What they saw was a really good outing from Panthers’ RB Izzy Abanikanda, who did not work out at the combine. Abanikanda, a 217-pounder, had a 41-inch vertical and a 10-8 LJ, both of which would have been among the leaders at the position at the combine. He also timed a solid 4.41 clocking in his first run, and reportedly followed it up with something closer to 4.3 (and was reported to be as low as 4.27. In the end school credited him with an unofficial clocking of 4.34. Again, it can be a little hard to make sense of all that but figure he ran somewhere in the 4.35-4.45 range, which is still very good for a RB and is certainly not going to hurt his final grade. Meanwhile, star Pitt DT Calijah Kancey stood on his remarkable 4.67 combine 40 clocking with a super quick 1.64 split, but added to his legacy with a 33.5-inch vertical and reported shuttle times of 4.33 in the SS and 6.82 in the 3-cone, both of which would have left the rest of the positional field in the dust at the combine. LB SirVocea Dennis, who also did not workout at the combine also had an impressive workout as he reportedly posted a 41.5-inch vertical and a 40 time in the 4.65-4.70 range.

A lot of scouts were kind of expecting that LSU WR Kayshon Boutte would give it another go at the Tigers’ pro day after he posted some very pedestrian numbers at the combine. But he didn’t. instead he chose to stand on his 4.50 combine 40 time along with a dismal 29-inch vertical. The biggest crowd of the day may have been at the Maryland pro day where 31 teams were represented (the Chiefs reportly got snowed in KC) by over 60 total scouting personnel. Not surprising given that the Terps have their best draft class in years including CB Devonte Banks, OT Jaelyn Duncan and DB Jakorian Bennett. There was also a pretty good crowd at the Arkansas pro day where LB Drew Sanders, one of the top 2-3 prospects at the position for the upcoming draft, worked out after sitting out the combine. The 6-4.5, 235 pound Sanders had very athletic leaps of 37-inches in the vertical and 10-8 in the LJ, but was reportedly disappointed with his 40 time, which was reported as an unofficial 4.59 clocking which likely translates into something in the 4.65-4.70 range, although his shuttle times of 7.15 in the 3C and 4.38 in the SS were solid enough for a LB. For the record, Hogs’ 6-8 OT Dalton Wagner, who also didn’t run at the combine, was credited with an unofficial time of 5.25. Only about 20 teams were at the Washington pro day and several of those were hoping to see Huskies G/T Jaxson Kirkland work out. However, while he did positional drills, he didn’t run after not working out at the combine. Meanwhile, a couple of Huskies that got snubbed by the combine may have earned second looks from more than one NFL team. All-Conference DE Jeremiah Martin, who had 8.5 sacks last fall, had a respectable 35.5″ vertical and was credited with a 4.65 40 clocking running at 267 pounds. At the same time, CB Jordan Perryman, a former FCS All-American at UC-Davis, but barely played last year at UDub because of injuries posted 37.5-inch vertical and was credited with an unofficial 40-clocking of 4.39.

Another very busy day coming up on pro day circuit … Not much at all coming out of today’s pro day workouts, but with NFL GMs and coaches starting to head home from the league’s winter meetings figure there might be a few more tidbits today. In fact, there are pro day later today at LSU, Arkansas, Pittsburgh, Maryland, Washington, Oklahoma State Wake Forest and Texas Tech. Note though that star Texas Tech DE Tyree Wilson will not work out tomorrow as he is still rehabbing from recent foot surgery and plans a private workout sometime in mid-April. Of course, the real red letter date on this week’s schedule is  Thursday when Anthony Richardson will throw at the Florida pro day.

Stroud, Young top latest Pigskin Top 25-plus … With now less than a month to go until the players start coming off the board, GBN Associate Editor Pigskin Paul Guillemette has posted the latest version of his top 25-plus prospects for the upcoming draft. And no super surprises at the top board where QBs CJ Stroud of Ohio State and Alabama’s Bryce Young are the top two candidates.

Ravens’ Jackson demands trade; Colts looking … Just in case anyone missed it this morning, but franchised Baltimore QB Lamar Jackson indicated today that he has requested that the Ravens trade him as they aren’t prepared to pay him what he wants. A couple of teams that were thought to be possibly interested- the NY Jets and Washington – both responded pretty quickly saying that they weren’t interested. The Jets of course are deep in negotiations with Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay and are telling anyone who will listen that they fully plan to have Rodgers in Jets’ green. Washington, on the other hand, says they are ready to roll with Sam Howell and Jacoby Brissett, which may simply mean they’re prepared to wait for the 2024 draft and Caleb Williams and Drake Maye. On the other hand, Indianapolis is saying that they are at least going to do their homework on the topic. The Colts have the 4th pick this year which doesn’t look like it is going to high enough to give the Colts any shot at Bryce Young or CJ Stroud, this year’s top 2 at the position. Because Jackson was tagged with the franchise designation any team signing him would owe the Ravens two first-round picks if Baltimore didn’t match, which in many ways would actually be a pretty cheap trade for one of the league’s best young QBs even if one was #4. Stay tuned!

League meetings underway in Phoenix … Its going to be interesting to see how NFL GMs and coaches who have been out on the pro day circuit this month will be organizing their schedules this week as the NFL Annual Meeting gets underway in ernest tomorrow and runs through Wednesday. As part of the exercise most teams end up meeting with the press for a short period sometime during week, so we’ll looking for any tidbits on what they might be thinking heading toward the draft, which for the record, gets underway a month tomorrow. However, we are also realists here and expect there’s going to be a lot of GM-speak and such the next three days, but sometimes if one listens real hard … And speaking of coach-speak and the like, Denver head coach Sean Payton was pretty emphatic earlier this weekend when he said that neither of veteran WRs Jrry Jeudy or Courtland Sutton are going to be traded. On the other hand, new Arizona head coach Jonathan Gannon left the bard door when when he proclaimed that star WR DeAngelo Hopkins, who has been reportedly on the block this off season, ‘is a Cardinal, for now!’ Tomorrow might be a bit of a different matter, but for today … Stay tuned!

Final week on pro day sched to get underway Monday … The final week on the 2023 pre-draft pro day schedule gets underway on Monday. And while this week’s schedule won’t be quite as busy – or dramatic – as last week, it is still going to be a packed week. Tomorrow, for example, there are pro days scheduled at Baylor, Miami, North Carolina, West Virginia, Arizona State, Boise State, Duke and Memphis among other programs. Then on Tuesday, it will be Texas A&M, NC State, Washington State, Louisville and Vanderbilt will be the headliners, while Wednesday is absolutely packed with pro days at LSU, Arkansas, Mississippi, Pittsburgh, Maryland, Washington, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Wake Forest. The highlight of the week, though comes up on Thursday when Anthony Richardson will work out at the Florida pro day; he of course will the last of this year’s top rated QBs to hold their throwing sessions. Elsewhere, that day, Tennessee, Oklahoma, and TCU will also hold their pro days, while Florida State and both Kansas schools wrap the week on Friday. Here is the full pro day schedule as we currently have it.

Tech DE Wilson to sit Raiders pro day  … Texas Tech DE Tyree Wilson, a top 5-10 prospect for the upcoming draft announced that he will not be working out at the Red Raiders pro day on Tuesday on doctor’s advice. He recently had a procedure done to remove some hardware from his surgically repaired foot. Wilson has indicated that he hopes to hold a private workout for interested teams sometime in mid-April.

Panthers deal PK to 49ers for conditional late pick swap … Carolina has reportedly traded PK Zane Gonzalex to San Francisco for what is being described as a conditional late-round swap of picks in 2025. Presumably, if the conditions are met, the Panthers will get the 49ers 6th round pick that year, while Carolina will get SF’s 7th.

Panthers stay active; wine and dine UK QB Levis … Just in case anyone was wondering, that full contingent from Carolina including the team owners, GM and head coach among others that was all over QBs CJ Stroud and Bryce Young at their respective pro days this week, did head on up to Kentucky where they took Wildcats’ QB Will Levis out to dinner. There are also expected to be something close to 90 NFL personnel on hand early this afternoon when Levis does his scripted throwing session starting around 1 PM ET. It will be interesting to see what other teams do; however, we do know that Indianapolis will continue to pretty much boycott the pro day routine as the Colts will be represented in Lexington today by one lonely area scout. Meanwhile, for the record, Levis has already made his on-site visit – on of 30 the team is allowed – to Houston.

‘Hawks 3rd team to talk with Tide QB Young; other pro day updates … Interesting that Seattle has been identified as a 3rd team that met privately with Alabama QB Bryce Young over the course of the Tide’s pro day this week. Carolina and Las Vegas both met with Young last night with the Panthers getting to wine and dine him. As noted earlier, though, Young declined to get weighed again today after he had reportedly ‘bulked’ up to 204 for the combine. Young also opted not to run today, but he did go through a 50-pass scripted throwing session that by all accounts was very very good. And while its not necessarily a great comparative paradigm, in the clips we saw he just looked so much smoother and instinctive than CJ Stroud did yesterday at Ohio State. For the record, Alabama DE Will Anderson, one of the top 2-3 non-QB prospects for next month’s draft, if not the top one period, chose not to do anything all today another than show-up and cheer on his teammates. At the same time, we do believe CB Eli Ricks, who didn’t run at the combine, did in fact run today, but haven’t seen a time yet.

All but one team was represented at Utah’s pro day, but also didn’t get the chance to see TE Dalton Kincaid work out. Kincaid, who is in consideration to be the first player off the board at the position this year, was just cleared earlier this week to resume training after being sidelined since mid-season by a back injury. And right now it doesn’t appear as if Kincaid has any plans to workout prior to the draft, although he says he may invite some teams in to watch him run some routes. Among Utes who did work out, LB Mo Diabate, one of the more surprising combine snubs, turned in a couple of good leaps, including an 11-foot plus long jump, but there was no 40 time given.

All 32 teams had reps at the Cincinnati pro day including head coaches Zac Taylor of the home town Bengals and Mike Vrabel of Tennessee. LB Ivan Pace who didn’t run at the combine was credited with a 4.50 40 clocking by the school, but given that a couple of other Bearcats ran about a tenth faster than their combine times figure Pace ran somewhere in the 4.6 range. Still pretty good for a LB, although he is a little small at 5-10.5, 231.

It is going to be fascinating tomorrow to see if pretty much the same crowd that attended Stroud and Young’s workouts will stay on the road and go to the Kentucky pro day tomorrow where Will Levis will do his thing. Unfortunately, it appears we’ll get the same spotty coverage from the NFL Network which will be streaming Levis’ session starting around 1 PM ET. In fact, some teams could end up with real split scouting squads tomorrow as there will also be big-time pro days at Penn State and Notre Dame, along with Missouri, Houston, BYU and Boston College. In particular, we are really interested to see who attends the BC event where rising WR Zay Flowers will be the featured player. There does seem to be something of a consensus around the NFL that Ohio State’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba has emerged as the top receiver prospect this year, if his health indeed checks out after he missed all but three games with hamstring issues in 2022. But there are also some whispers that Flowers may very well have emerged as the #2 WR candidate. In fact, both New Orleans and the NY Giants reportedly got the jump on the crowd by taking Flowers out to dinner earlier this week.

Young set to throw … It appears that Alabama QB Bryce Young’s throwing session at the Tide’s pro day is about to get underway. And NO it is not regular cable. Interesting, there are 12 GMs at the Tide pro day along with ten head coaches. Interestingly, again, no real senior people from either Houston or Indianapolis. The one team that has had a bigger presence at Alabama is Las Vegas. The Raiders, of course, pick 7th so would probably have to move up to get Young, but just in case they have both GM and head coach at the Tide pro day. The Raiders also reportedly met with Young after he had dinner with Carolina last night. Also note that a few heads were turned when Young opted not to get weighed after tipping the scales at 204 at the combine.

Pro day updates … Funny, that after what seemed like a rather momentous day on the pro day circuit, there’s actually very little news to report. Needless to say the reviews of Ohio State QB CK Stroud’s 55-pass scripted throwing session were pretty much universally applauded. Of course, it would be news if they weren’t! Meanwhile, along with WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Buckeyes’ CB Cam Brown, who also didn’t run at the combine, did run today and had what is reported by the school as a 4.53-hand-held clocking which likely translates to the 4.6 range. At the same time, none of the other primary OSU prospects who did not run at the combine including Stroud, OT Paris Johnson, DE Zach Harrison and S Ronnie Hickman, opted to run today and there is no word of any planned April work out for any of those players. One other note, the Steelers who were in Columbus in their usual numbers were all over OT Johnson pretty much all day … As many as 28 teams were at the SMU pro day with multiple representation from area teams Dallas and Houston, along with New Orleans and Cincinnati. The main focus was on WR Rashee Rice who stood on his 4.51 40 clocking and only ran routes, but reportedly looked pretty smooth …

Its going to interesting to see how much of the crowd that was at Ohio State today, heads on down to Alabama for the Tide’s work out tomorrow. One group we know will be there is the 11-man Carolina contingent that was all over Stroud in Columbus. And we know they’ll be there becausethey are already there and wining and dining Bama QB Bryce Young as we speak. For the record, the Alabama pro day is set to start at Noon ET with national coverage we fear again restricted to NFL Network+ streaming service. I mean how the heck do you watch a pro day on a phone! Again, though we can hope that the actual NFL Network provides a few more snippets live. Of course, Alabama is not the only program to hold its pro day tomorrow on what appears to be the single busiest day on the circuit. Indeed, in addition to Alabama there will be pro days at Utah, Wisconsin, Nebraska, California, Cincinnati, and Virginia Tech among the dozen-plus schools working out tomorrow.

Jets get Browns 2nd rounder for WR Moore; 3rd … The NY Jets made a bit of a splash earlier today when they signed former Kansas Ciry WR Mecole Hardman. Then they traded WR Elijah moore to Cleveland for a 2nd round pick, the 42nd overall. To complete the deal, the Browns will send thier 3rd round pick (#74) to the Jets.

OSU pro day done … For the record, the Ohio State pro day is done as QB CJ Stroud has completed his scripted 55-pass workout. Now it is on to Alabama for the Tide’s workout tomorrow featuring QB Bryce Young.

Big, big boo-out to NFL Network … And I mean a really big boo-out to the NFL Network. The only way to watch CJ Stroud’s throwing session today at the Ohio State is to sign up for NFL Network+ and stream the event. And the only reason to do that is to try and force people to sign up for a service they really don’t want or need! Sad!

OSU WR Smith-Njigba runs okay; not elite … On of the big questions at today’s Ohio State pro day was whether WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba would run, and if he did run how fast. Nothing has been announced officially but the consensus that he timed somewhere in the mid-4.5s. The NFL Network is reporting that his time was 4.53 which isn’t bad, but it isn’t elite either. By way of comparison, JSN’s former OSU teammates Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson both ran under 4.40 last year. And this year USC’s Jordan Addison ran a 4.49 at the combine which was considered to be somewhat disappointing. At the same time, though, NFL teams probably don’t necessarily see Smith-Njigba as a speed burner as he is generally thought of as more quick than fast with great route-running skills.

Record crowd descending on OSU for pro day … Don’t know exactly if there is an ‘official’ record for most attendees at a pro day, but all indications are that if there is one, Ohio State will take a shot at it later today when the Buckeyes hold their on-field workout. Indeed, upwards of 150 NFL personnel people are expected to attend today’s workout including as many as ten GMs and as many head coaches. So far, GMs from Carolina, Buffalo, Green Bay, Pittsburgh, Tennessee, Washington, Las Vegas and the Giants have all committed to attend. Carolina, in particular, will be sending an 11-man contingent including both owners, GM, head coach, offensive co-ordinator, QB coach and director of college scouting. Of course, the Panthers, who have the first pick overall, will be there to check out QB C.J. Stroud. In fact, the Panthers staff already took Stroud out to dinner last night. On the other hand, neither Houston nor Indianapolis, which have the 2nd and 4th picks respectively and are also expected to be taking a QB, are apparently sending more than cursory teams to Columbus. The Texans will have three scouts there, but none are senior people, while the Colts reportedly will have one lonely area scout in attendance. To be fair, neither the Texans nor the Colts generally put a lot of stock in pro days, but still this is the future of your franchise and you’d like to at least look like you are paying attention. It will certainly be interesting to see if this pattern holds for tomorrow’s Alabama pro day where Bryce Young will do his thing.

Of course, not everyone at the Buckeyes’ pro day will be there to see Stroud. Indeed, Ohio State has several other top 10-15 prospects including OT Paris Johnson and WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, neither of whom ran at the combine. Smith-Njigba, potentially the top receiver in this year’s class if he’s healthy – he barely played in 2022 because of hamstring issues – in particular, will get a lot of scrutiny today. For the record, it was the Giants who took him to dinner last night. Other Buckeyes to watch today include rising DE Zach Harrison, who also didn’t run at the combine, CB Cam Brown and s Ronnie Hickman.And for anyone looking ahead to 2024, junior WR Marvin Harrison, a top 5 prospect who isn’t eligible for this year’s draft, will be one of the receivers catching passes from Stroud later today!

The Ohio State pro day is expected to start around 11:30 AM ET, with Stroud expected to throw sometime beginning around 2 PM. The NFL Network is scheduled to stream the event on NFL Network+, but the regular NFL Network supposedly will be on site and we’re hoping at least covers Stroud’s throwing session live. Meanwhile, other pro days today include those at Stanford, SMU, UAB, Temple, Texas-San Antonio and UConn. Have a great day.

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