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Clemson DE Da'Quan Bowers and the rest of the Clemson football team is holding their pro day on Friday and it's expected to be a popular one. There's a good chance representatives from every NFL team will be in attendance to watch the players work out but the highlight of the day will be Bowers.
Bowers is not only expected to be a top pick in the 2011 NFL draft but he's also coming off arthroscopic right knee surgery so teams haven't seen him workout since the postseason ended. This is their chance and, if he does well, Gil Brandt of NFL.com expects his stock will stay in the top 10 range.
Bowers is expected to participate in all combine and defensive line tests and drills. Teams will be looking to see whether he has his movement back. He will need to show quickness, explosiveness off the ball and movement in the knee through all the drills. That's what scouts want him to show. If Bowers' knee proves to be OK and he's back to at least 75 percent, or better, of what teams have seen in the past, then I don't see any concerns. If that's the case, I still see Bowers as a top-10 pick in the draft.
There were some rumors floating around that Bowers' knee wasn't recovering as some expected but his agent has publicly disputed that and said everything is on schedule.
The only way to truly dispute that, though, is to go out there and prove it on the field. For more on his pro day, check out Mocking The Draft.
WR A.J. Green could be the first receiver off the board, a top 10 pick and potentially even a candidate for the No. 1 overall pick. Yet there were no scouts watching his pro day in person on Tuesday.
No, Green's stock isn't falling. It's yet another problem caused by the NFL lockout. Because of the lockout, current NFL players aren't allowed to participate in throw days so even though QB Matthew Stafford was there, he couldn't help out. Georgia had no draft eligible quarterbacks coming out so they had to bring in Montana's Justin Roper, who is from the area. But since he's from outside the metro area, NFL rules state that pro scouts couldn't be watching him in person.
So many of the scouts left while others watched it on a TV monitor. There were, however, other players working out that drew the attention of NFL teams.
The 48 representatives from 30 NFL teams - including Carolina Panthers general manager Marty Hurney - were permitted to watch other Georgia players work out, including outside linebacker Justin Houston, offensive lineman Clint Boling and inside linebacker Akeem Dent.
Houston, a potential first round pick, ran the 40-yard dash in 4.5 second range (depending on where you look) which is a solid time for him that probably secured a first round bid on him.
For more on Georgia sports, check out Dawg Sports.
The Missouri Tigers are the headliner in Thursday's pro days and that's largely due to QB Blaine Gabbert. He's not a senior so he wasn't at the Senior Bowl and he didn't throw at the NFL Combine this is the first opportunity after the season for scouts to see him throw.
Gabbert and Auburn QB Cam Newton are the top two quarterbacks in the 2011 NFL draft so this is a big day for Gabbert to pull away from Newton with a solid performance or drop behind him with a poor day.
Gabbert comes from a spread offense where he took most of the snaps from the shotgun so to show scouts he can be a traditional quarterback, he will take every snap from under center.
Scouts like Gabbert's size (6'4", 234 pounds) and his mental make-up (42 on the Wonderlic) so now they just need him to prove it with his accuracy, which he'll try to do on Thursday.
Also taking part in Thursday's pro day will be DE Aldon Smith, who is expected to be a first round pick.
Here are the rest of the pro days on Thursday: Appalachian State, Grambling State, Lehigh, Louisiana Tech, Michigan, Missouri, North Alabama, Stanford, Virginia, Virginia Tech, West Virginia
LSU's Patrick Peterson didn't run the 40-yard dash at his pro day on Monday instead sticking with the numbers he got at his impressive NFL Combine. Peterson is potentially a top pick in the 2011 NFL draft and there were some major names at the pro day including Sean Payton and Mike Tomlin, a pair of Super Bowl winning coaches.
Peterson is a candidate to be picked in the first few picks but it was Carolina who expressed interest in him. The Panthers, who hold the top pick next April, had dinner with Peterson. It appears he'd be a legitimate candidate to go No. 1 overall although a cornerback has never gone that high.
The Denver Broncos were one team conspicuously absent from Peterson's pro day. They hold the second pick and it was believed that Peterson is a candidate for that pick. Though there are indications the Broncos will go defensive line, I could also see them taking a long, hard look at Peterson.
There were 11 total players taking part in the LSU pro day but Peterson was by far the biggest profile.
Peterson will likely go in the top 10 but I'll be interested to see over these next few weeks if there's anymore chatter for him to go No. 1 overall.
Wednesday's pro days will get a lot of attention and that's mostly due to the fact that Alabama will be hosting theirs. With Nick Saban the last few years, Alabama has been a popular destination for NFL teams. We've already looked at who Alabama has to offer on Wednesday so now ti's time for a look at a few other key players working out at various pro days.
SB Nation's Mocking The Draft has the complete run down on the names you need to know. Here are a few that stood out to me:
-Mississippi State's OT Derek Sherrod could be a first round pick and will be working out. We've seen him in various 2011 NFL mock drafts in the second half of the first round. If that's where he's sitting right now, then a solid pro day could bump him up and a poor pro day could potentially knock him out of the first round. This is an important day for him.
-LB Von Miller will be working out at Texas A&M's pro day and he's widely considered to be a top 10 pick. We'll see where he actually lands but, as Mocking The Draft points out, there are several top 10 and even top five teams that could use his help. A solid pro day could help secure his status.
-Cameron Jordan will also work out at Cal's pro day. Here's what MTD says about him: "Jordan's game is based on power, motor and aggression. He played in the Cal 3-4 and may be viewed the same way as a pro. He should also be able to hold the power end in a 4-3 scheme. Although Jordan ran only a 4.85 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, he's gets around the edge with strength and enough quickness."
So it's not all Alabama today. There are other players working out, too. Check out Mocking The Draft for complete analysis of the Wednesday pro day schedule.
On Tuesday, we saw Auburn host a pro day and there was a lot of media and NFL officials in attendance to take in QB Cam Newton and DT Nick Fairley's workout. One of the few schools that annually have the talent that can justify matching that NFL draft attention is Alabama.
Draft-eligible Alabama players will work out on Tuesday for NFL scouts and, like the Auburn pro day, it's expected to be highly attended.
Auburn had Fairley, one of the top defensive tackles in the draft. Some feel that Alabama's Marcell Dareus is passing him in the draft as the top defensive tackle and, arguably, the top pick. So Dareus' workout is going to be an important one.
Another top player to look out for RB Mark Ingram, who could be a first round pick. WR Julio Jones was expected to work out here but he is recovering from a post-Combine injury that will keep him down for much of the NFL draft process. QB Greg McElroy is also recovering from an injury and won't throw but will work out.
It's unclear which drills each player will do. With some of these guys expected to be high first round picks, they've likely been advised to stay away from certain drills.
Here's the full list of pro days for Wednesday: Alabama, BYU, California-Davis, California, Clark-Atlanta, Colorado State, Georgia Tech, Kent State, Mississippi State, Nebraska-Omaha, Northern Colorado, Portland State, Rutgers, West Georgia, Wisconsin, UTEP. Check out Mocking The Draft for comments on Wednesday's pro day schedule.
On Tuesday we noted that Auburn's pro day featuring QB Cam Newton and DT Nick Fairley was expected to be a popular event with over 100 media and 150 NFL officials expected to attend. Those NFL folks also included decision makers for those picking at the top of the 2011 NFL draft.
Specifically, here are just a few names who attended the pro day: Carolina coach Ron Rivera, Denver coach John Fox and executive vice president John Elway, Buffalo general manager Buddy Nix, Cincinnati coach Marvin Lewis, Arizona's Ken Whisenhunt and Cleveland coach Pat Shurmur and general manager Tom Heckert.
That's the head coach or GM of the top six picks in the NFL draft. It looks like a good bet that at least one of those guys will go in the top six (SB Nation's latest 2011 NFL mock draft has both going in the top eight picks).
Darin Gantt of the Charlotte Observer reports that Newton had a "solid" throwing day compared to so-so NFL Combine. He completed 54-of-65 passes and looked strong throwing the ball. Unlike his media workout, he didn't "wow" anyone. Instead, he had a solid, but not great pro day.
On Fairley, Gantt writes: "DT Nick Fairley was working out on the other end of the field as Newton prepared, and had a good day of his own. Probably not enough to get the Panthers interested at 1, but plenty of people were looking." In general, it seems Fairley had better reviews. ESPN's Todd McShay raved about him following the workout.
Auburn's pro day is turning out to be a huge deal. According to Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean, over 150 NFL officials and 100 media members are expected to be in attendance.
For a pro day.
Auburn of course has QB Cam Newton and DT Nick Fairley working out at the pro day and that's what's drawing the most attention. With the top five picks in the draft still very much up in the air, the workouts of Newton and Fairley are of high interest.
It's so important, in fact, that ESPN will stream the whole thing live on ESPN3.com. The action starts at 1:30 p.m. (ET) though Newton isn't expected to throw until the end, so a couple of hours after it starts.
Auburn isn't the only big pro day going on Tuesday as Arkansas and Oklahoma are also conducting pro days. Rounding out the list of pro days is Alabama A&M, Arkansas, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Auburn, Fordham, Liberty, Minnesota, Northwestern, Oklahoma and Prairie View A&M.
You can check out the full schedule of pro days here.
The Auburn pro day is on Tuesday and there will be plenty of hype around it. With potential top picks DT Nick Fairley and QB Cam Newton working out, there's expected to be a good crowd for the workout. We already mentioned that decisions makers from the Carolina Panthers, owners of the top pick in the 2011 NFL draft, and Denver Broncos, holding the second pick, will be in attendance.
Add the third pick to that group. Buffalo Bills GM Buddy Nix, who holds the third pick in the draft, will also attend Tuesday's pro day at Auburn. The Bills are believed to be players for both Fairley and Newton so this could be a significant day for Buffalo's scouting staff.
Head coach Chan Gailey will not be in attendance and with other major pro days like Arkansas and Oklahoma going on it's not a huge surprise he'll be gone.
So that's the owners of the top three picks we've confirmed will be at Auburn for the pro day. It's possible, if not likely, that one of those teams will select Fairley or Newton, but there are also other players working out at Auburn, too.
The players will be working out in front of GMs and scouts and you can watch the whole thing, starting at 1:30 p.m. (ET) on ESPN.com.
Bills fans at Buffalo Rumblings have been prepared for the Auburn pro day for quite some time considering their position in the draft.
On Tuesday the Auburn pro day is coming and as we mentioned they won't be the only show that day with Arkansas and Oklahoma also holding pro days on Tuesday. Auburn's is of particular interest because they have two players -- QB Cam Newton and DT Nick Fairley -- in play for the top No. 1 overall pick.
Though every team, or nearly every team, will be represented at Auburn's pro day, a couple of the top decisions makers from the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos will be on-hand. The Panthers, owners of the No. 1 pick, will send head coach Ron Rivera and the Broncos, holding the No. 2 pick, will send John Elway.
The Panthers have sent mixed signals on whether they're looking for a quarterback. They've noted the importance of a franchise quarterback but we're not sure if they think QB Jimmy Clausen can be that guy. His play in 2010 doesn't suggest he is but, then again, he was a second round pick. The Panthers will also be taking a look at Fairley as a No. 1 pick candidate.
The Broncos aren't thought to be one of the teams considering a quarterback at No. 2 but we're not really sure where they stand at quarterback either with QB Kyle Orton and QB Tim Tebow in the fold (for now). The Broncos are expected to be considering a defensive lineman, perhaps Fairley, with the second overall pick.
The action kicks off on Tuesday at Auburn. And by "action" we mean players running some drills, sort of like the Combine.
The 2011 NFL draft is still a month and a half away but some of the most important aspects of the draft process will be taking place over the next couple of weeks with the various pro days. This is when players will gather at their school and work out for the scouts and NFL personnel folks in attendance.
The pro day schedule is pretty randoms so you get some days -- like Monday -- that don't have any big name schools And then you get some days -- like Tuesday -- that include three of the biggest football schools in the country.
On Monday, we'll see the following schools conduct a pro day: Arkansas Tech, Central Arkansas, Rhode Island and Tuskegee. No offense to those schools but they're not the cream of the pro day crop.
Tuesday, though, has some major players. The following schools will conduct pro days on Tuesday: Alabama A&M, Arkansas, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Auburn, Fordham, Liberty, Minnesota, NOrthwestern, Oklahoma and Prairie View A&M.
In that list of names, you'll find Arkansas, Auburn and Oklahoma, which are three schools NFL scouts love to hit because they traditional put out a ton of talent. This year is no different with guys like Cam Newton, Nick Fairley and Ryan Mallett.
The next step in the 2011 NFL draft process is pro days across the country. Teams have left Indianapolis, site of the 2011 NFL Combine last week, and now they'll focus on these pro days as well as private visits. A pro day allows a player to work out in his environment with people and equipment he's familiar with.
Pro days are important for quarterbacks, especially a guy like QB Blaine Gabbert this year. He's one of the top two quarterbacks in the draft and didn't throw at the Combine meaning his pro day should be one of the most popular (and important) ones around.
On Thursday, Baylor, FAU, Tulane and Utah State will conduct their pro days. A couple of the biggest names in there will come from Baylor with DT Phil Taylor and OG Danny Watkins so those are likely the names you'll be hearing about most.
Here's a pro day schedule and you'll see there are occasionally a dozen or more schools holding their pro day on the same day. That means NFL team scouts will be busy moving around the country day by day to collect data on the 2011 NFL draft class.
|03/03/2011||Baylor, FAU, Tulane, Utah State|
|03/04/2011||Alabama State, Albany State, Lindenwood, Troy, Weber State|
|03/07/2011||Arkansas Tech, Central Arkansas, Rhode Island, Tuskegee|
|03/08/2011||Alabama A&M, Arkansas, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Auburn, Fordham, Liberty, Minnesota, Northwestern, Oklahoma, Prairie View A&M|
|03/09/2011||Alabama, BYU, California-Davis, California, Clark-Atlanta, Colorado State, Georgia Tech, Kent State, Mississippi State, Nebraska-Omaha, North Texas, Northern Colorado, Portland State, Rutgers, West Georgia, Wisconsin, UTEP|
|03/10/2011||Akron, Buffalo, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisville, Nebraska, Northern Illinois, Ohio, Texas Tech, West Texas, Wofford|
|03/11/2011||Eastern Illinois, Idaho, Jackson State, Ohio State, Oregon State, Purdue, Southern Miss, TCU, Tennessee|
|03/14/2011||Air Force, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, LSU, Montana, Newberry, Wake Forest, Widener|
|03/15/2011||Bowling Green, Eastern Kentucky, Emporia State, Florida, Kansas State, McNeese State, Montana State, Pittsburgh, Robert Morris, Southeast Louisiana, Towson|
|03/16/2011||Arkansas-Monticello, Bowie State, California (PA), Delaware, Florida A&M, Illinois, Indiana, James Madison, Louisian-Monroe, Marshall, Maryland, Michigan State, Penn State, Virginia Union, William & Mary|
|03/17/2011||Appalachian State, Grambling State, Lehigh, Louisiana Tech, Michigan, Missouri, North Alabama, Stanford, Virginia, Virginia Tech, West Virginia|
|03/18/2011||Arkansas State, Indiana State, New Mexico State, Northwestern State (LA), Temple, Virginia Union|
|03/21/2011||Abilene Christian, Georgia Southern, Iowa, North Dakota State, Valdosta State|
|03/22/2011||Iowa State, Mississippi, Nevada, South Dakota State|
|03/23/2011||Boston College, Central Florida, Connecticut, East Carolina, Iowa State, North Carolina State, Tennessee-Chattanooga, Texas State|
|03/24/2011||Boise State, Maine, Middle Tennessee State, UNLV, New Hampshire, New Mexico, San Diego State, South Florida, Southern Illinois, Tennessee State, Western Kentucky|
|03/25/2011||Arizona State, Ball State, Wofford|
|03/28/2011||Central Missouri, Cincinnati, Citadel, Missouri Western, Northwest Missouri State, Rice|
|03/29/2011||Coastal Carolina, Texas, UCLA, Utah|
|03/30/2011||New Mexico State, North Carolina Central, Northern Iowa, Southern California, Texas A&M-Kingsville, Washington|
|03/31/2011||North Carolina, Stephen F. Austin|
|04/07/2011||Jacksonville State, Notre Dame|
Shortly after the 2011 NFL Combine, it'll be time for schools to begin hosting pro days in advance of the NFL Draft. Via NFL.com, here's a complete list of pro days scheduled to take place next month.
The Auburn Tigers pro day on March 8 will be the one to draw the most attention, with potential No. 1 pick Nick Fairley and the draft's biggest story in Cam Newton likely to participate. Across the state, the Alabama Crimson Tide (March 9) also have multiple first-rounders to showcase in Marcell Dareus and Julio Jones, should they elect to work out.
That Missouri Tigers pro day will be a very popular event, especially with the news that Blaine Gabbert will not throw at the Combine. The Nebraska Cornhuskers (March 10) and North Carolina Tar Heels (March 31) will also be worth monitoring, with likely top-10 picks Prince Amukamara and Robert Quinn expected to be included.
This isn't necessarily every school that will end up having a pro day, as many may be waiting to schedule theirs. LSU, Clemson, USC, and Colorado are among the schools with highly touted prospects who have yet to post a pro day notice on the NFL's official list: