On Thursday, NFL scouts will be criss-crossing the United States looking at the best available talent for the 2014 NFL Draft. With less than two months until the draft, front offices are still putting together their evaluations of players, something helped along by these pro days.
For most of these players, a pro day simply is a mini-combine in familiar surroundings. It can help a tad, maybe pushing you up a few spots on a team's big board. For others, a good performance could mean the difference between a seventh-round pick and undrafted status.
There were reportedly 15 teams in attendance at Wyoming's pro day on Thursday, and wide receiver Robert Herron was a scene-stealer, with Benjamin Allbright reporting that he clock Herron at 4.25 and 4.29 in the 40-yard dash. The Wyoming receiver also had "natural hands" according to Allbright, and that could signal a rise up the draft boards for Herron.
Herron has been documenting the pre-draft process for USA Today, and he'll likely be feeling positive in his next diary entry after showing that kind of speed at his pro day.
A running back as a freshman, Herron worked his way up the receivers depth chart as his college career went on, culminating in a 937-yard, nine-touchdown senior season in 2013. He was noted for having an excellent Senior Bowl, but ran just a 4.48 at the combine despite hype that he'd be faster. On Thursday, he was.
The Patriots were one team that worked one-on-one with Herron on Thursday.
Defensive tackle Caraun Reid reportedly ran a 4.84 at Princeton's pro day on Thursday. He's been rising up the charts since an impressive showing at the Senior Bowl and combine. The 4.84 is significantly faster than the 4.91 he ran at the combine, which is already fast for a DT.
Cornerback Justin Gilbert had a very impressive day at Oklahoma State's Pro Day. He's one of the best cornerbacks coming out this year and has likely solidified his place among the top half of the first round. All 32 teams were represented at Oklahoma State's Pro Day, and they were able to see Gilber run the short shuttle in 4.43 seconds, a three-cone time of 6.91 seconds, and sat on the rest of his numbers from the scouting combine.
While there's not a whole lot of numbers to quote for Gilbert, all signs point to him looking very good in the positional drills, which were orchestrated by Philadelphia Eagles scout Andy Speyer, as noted by Gil Brandt of NFL.com.
Defensive tackle Calvin Barnett was on hand as well, though he had a somewhat disappointing day. Barnett ran just a 5.3 in the 40-yard dash and put up just 20 reps on the bench, according to Kieran Steckley.
Wide receiver Tracy Moore managed to put up a stellar 37-inch vertical leap, according to Steckley, and then ran a 40-yard dash that was timed between 4.4 and 4.5, according to Cody Stavenhagen, so he definitely helped his stock.
De'Anthony Thomas was one of the big names for Oregon's Pro Day, and he looked solid. He ran an unofficial 40-yard dash time of 4.39 seconds, a 20-yard shuttle of 4.23 seconds, the 3-cone drill in 6.95 seconds and the 60-yard shuttle in 11.46 seconds, all reported by Rob Moseley of GoDucks.com.
Wide receiver Terrance Mitchell managed to improve on some of his rather poor combine times on Thursday. He ran an official 4.63 40-yard dash and put up an 117-inch broad jump, both numbers being pretty disappointing. But at his Pro Day, he managed to put up a 4.52 40-yard dash, according to Murphy McGuire, and a 4-inch improvement in the broad jump, according to Tyson Alger.
Wide receiver Josh Huff managed a 4.43 40-yard dash and defensive tackle Ricky Havili-Heimuli managed a 5.38, according to Moseley.