With the NFL Scouting Combine out of the way, teams will be focused on the start of the new league year on March 10, which marks the opening of free agency. But the 2015 NFL Draft will be shortly after that, and that means the month of March and parts of April will be populated by pro days from some of the bigger schools from around the nation.
Update: Check out our NFL Draft 2015 preview.
The first pro days of this offseason got underway on Monday, March 2, with Minnesota, Tennessee-Chattanooga, Troy, Virginia and Wake Forest showcasing their prospects. The final major pro day belongs to UTEP on April 9, with the NFL Draft set to begin on Thursday, April 30.
There are definitely big names to consider on just about every day, with guys like Maxx Williams on the first day, quarterback Brett Hundley headlining UCLA's pro day on March 10, and all the way through to Shaq Thompson showing what he can do for Washington on April 2.
Pro days are typically when players who didn't participate in the Combine, or who had a bad showing, have the chance to change the mind of NFL scouts. It's unclear how much the controlled environment of a pro day actually means to scouts, but last year saw quarterback Teddy Bridgewater plummet in draft projections after a particularly poor pro day.
We've got a list of notable pro days below, via NFL.com:
Tight end Maxx Williams of Minnesota was the biggest name on the day. Williams has the size and speed combination that NFL teams are after, though he mostly sat on his Combine numbers. Williams said that he wouldn't proclaim himself the best tight end in the draft, but that his Combine numbers should do it for him, according to Aj Mansour of KFAN1003. Running back David Cobb was there for support, but after injuring himself in the 40-yard dash at the combine, he will not attempt the drill again until April, according to Marcus R. Fuller of the Pioneer Press.
Wake Forest cornerback Kevin Johnson drew plenty of interest on Monday, with 23 teams in attendance, according to Jonathan Jones of the Charlotte Observer. Johnson wasn't exactly modest, saying that he's "the best cornerback" in this year's draft, via ESPN. Players who helped their stock include Virginia's Eli Harold, who looked good in pass-rush drills, via Gil Brandt of NFL.com, and Cedric Thompson of Minnesota, who ran a 4.37-second 40-yard dash, according to Jack Satzinger of Minnesota Daily.
New Mexico State
Sam Houston State
A backup running back stole the show at Auburn's pro day on Tuesday, which featured 21 players performing workouts and drills in front of scouts from all 32 teams. Corey Grant put up eye-popping times in the 40-yard dash, with various reports clocking him from as low as 4.19 to as high as 4.34 on his two runs. Grant said the NFL guys told him he ran a 4.26, while NFL.com draft expert Mike Mayock had him at 4.25 and 4.27. Regardless, his time would have been the fastest at the combine for a running back (Michigan State's Jeremy Langford ran a 4.42).
The other notable players at the pro day for Auburn were Nick Marshall and Sammie Coates. Marshall had a busy day performing on both the offense and defense. He threw passes to teammates during quarterback drills, and also put in some defensive back work. According to Gil Brandt, he "had some nice throws" and looked "very athletic" on defense. Coates caught the ball during his workout, solidifying his status as a potential deep threat for any team that drafts him.
Two Texas A&M players not invited to the combine -- wide receiver Malcome Kennedy and defensive back Deshazor Everett -- were the big winners in front of a bevy of scouts at the Aggies pro day on Wednesday. Per Rivals.com, Kennedy is reportedly drawing interest from the New England Patriots after a solid showing across the board in the workouts and testing. Everett also impressed with a 38-inch vertical, which would have tied for eighth among defensive backs at the NFL Combine, and also likely put himself in a position to get drafted.
Aggies OT Cedric Ogbuehi, considered one of the top offensive line prospects in this year's draft, did not participate in any drills as he continues to recover from a torn ACL suffered in December. He did update reporters on his status, saying that he expects to be "full-go" by training camp.
Reps from 29 teams were on-hand at Mississippi State's pro day, where the team's defensive players shined in front of the scouts. Linebacker Matt Wells "really stood out," according to the Clarion-Ledger's Michael Bonner, after posting solid 40 times (4.4 and 4.6) and a 35.5 inch vertical jump. LB Bernardrick McKinney and DE Preston Smith, who both attended the combine and were among the best performers at their positions, solidified their status as top 50 prospects with strong work in positional drills.
The biggest name on the day: defensive lineman/outside linebacker Vic Beasley of Clemson. All 32 teams were at Clemson for their pro day, though there were other players to watch like Stephone Anthony. But Beasley was the main event, despite many believing he'll go in the top five picks and few expect he'll escape the top 10. Beasley didn't run or lift on Thursday, but he went through "extended drill sessions" at both linebacker and defensive line spots, putting on a "stellar show," according to the Daily Herald.
Nebraska had a pair of big names in running back Ameer Abdullah and linebacker Randy Gregory. Abdullah opted go through drills and run the 40-yard dash, which is a big deal given he ran in the 4.6 range at the NFL Combine. There's video of his attempt here, via Bryan Fischer, and while there's not an official number, Abdullah improved on his time and ran in the 4.4s, per Fischer. Gregory stood on his Combine numbers and mostly ran drills. Fischer has video of him running the shuttle and a bag drill.
At Utah State's pro day, Kevin Whimpey put up 39 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press, according to Ben Wilson of KFAN 1320.
The top prospect to work out on Friday was Arizona State's Jaelen Strong. Because of his impressive 4.44-second 40 time and 42" vertical leap from the combine, Strong only ran routes. However, AZ Central reports that scouts were impressed. Meanwhile, quarterback Taylor Kelly went through most of the drills including a throwing session. ASU's pro day was well attended, with at least 12 teams in showing up.
Northern Illinois' pro day was a smaller affair, but still drew representatives from 15 clubs. The most noteworthy participant wasn't a draft prospect, however. Former Huskie quarterback Chandler Harnish took part in the throwing drills in hopes of attracting attention from NFL scouts.
Grand Valley State
Though Montana is an FCS program, it has a surprising amount of prospects. Chief among them is defensive end Zack Wagenmann, the school's all-time leader in sacks and NFL Scouting Combine invitee. According to the Missoulian, Wagenmann improved on his two low results from the combine. He might sneak into the third day of the draft in early May.
The biggest star of Tuesday's slate of pro days was UCLA's Brett Hundley. The quarterback looked "smooth" according to CBS Sports and could be solidifying his place as the top signal caller after Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota. Fellow Bruin Owamagbe Odighizuwa also performed well, and could come off the board in the 25-40 range per NFL.com.
The Arizona pro day included several former Wildcats including safety Jared Tevis. Most of the attention was on receiver Austin Hill. However, he disappointed with 40 times of 4.62 and 4.57. He also had 17 reps of the 225-pound bench press.
Wednesday's top prospect was Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon. The Heisman finalist was expected to run the 40 to improve on his combine time of 4.52 seconds, but he decided to stand on his numbers. According to ESPN, 28 teams were in attendance. Gordon is trying to separate himself from failed Badger tailbacks of yesteryear including current Broncos runner Montee Ball.
In Norman, scouts from NFL teams gathered to watch Dorial Green-Beckham. Green-Beckham never played for the Sooners, but he possesses incredible length (6'5) and speed (4.49-second 40). He sat on his combine results, but the receiver spent time talking to scouts.
Marcus Mariota was the big name on the day for Oregon, along with defensive lineman Arik Armstead and offensive lineman Jake Fisher. We talked at length about those guys in our recap of Oregon's pro day but to sum up: Mariota mostly looked fine but did not impress scouts, while Armstead and Fisher sat on their measurement numbers but looked good in drills.
There was also a big-name receiver on the day: Devin Funchess of Michigan. Funchess absolutely demolished his combine 40-yard dash time of 4.70 seconds. He managed to run a 4.48 at his pro day, according to NFL.com. Colorado wide receiver Tyler McCulloch turned some heads at 6'5 and 218 pounds. He ran a 4.51 40-yard dash, put up a 37'' vertical jump and a 10'10 broad jump, according to Adam Munsterteiger.
Tight end Nick Boyle was the big name at Delaware's pro day, and he put up a 4.86 40-yard dash, improving on his combine numbers of 5.04, according to Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.
Kevin White, who is expected to be the first or second receiver taken in this year's draft, was the big name at West Virginia's pro day. However, it was another receiver who stole the show. Mario Alford ran a blazing 4.28 40-yard dash after running it in 4.43 seconds at the NFL Scouting Combine. As for White, he did not participate in any drills other than receiver position work (running routes, catching passes). He ran a 4.35 40-time at the Combine, so he was fine keeping that number.
At Ohio State, Devin Smith is another receiver who should hear his named called within the first two rounds of April's draft. He stood on his Combine times, but did do position work for scouts and coaches in attendance. Defensive tackle Michael Bennett skipped the 40-yard dash and position drills during the Combine while nursing a hamstring injury. He then re-injured it while running his second 40-yard dash during his pro day, causing him to miss the remaining workouts and drills.
At Oregon State, cornerback Steven Nelson ran the 40-yard dash in 4.49 and 4.54 seconds, and then stood on the rest of his numbers from the Combine. As one of the better corners in a draft that's not very deep at that position, he's expected to be drafted somewhere in the second round.
Prairie View A&M
Most years, there isn't a lot of attention paid to the pro day at Prairie State A&M, a small historically black college in Texas. However, quarterback Jerry Lovelocke has the size (6'4") and arm strength to generate plenty of interest. He was an invitee at the NFL Scouting Combine in February.
There are a few players garnering attention at the March 16 pro days. Toledo linebacker Junior Sylvestre probably tops the group. He did not work out at the combine, so his workout here could have a considerable impact on his draft stock. Another important name is Jordan Haden, the younger brother of Cleveland Browns star Joe Haden. The younger Haden played safety during his college career.
It was another slow day for the March 17 pro days with only one Power 5 school represented (California). The biggest prospect on display was Cal wide receiver Chris Harper, who didn't receive a combine invite despite a strong season for the Bears last year (634 yards, 52 receptions, 6 touchdowns). Harper impressed scouts with a 4.42 40 time (per @Goldennblogs), and also looked very smooth running routes and catching balls in the position drills. Harper, a potential late-round pick, reportedly has already scheduled a visit with the Seahawks for April 15.
San Jose State
This year doesn't feature a particularly strong quarterback class, but there's room behind the top two of Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston for someone to separate and take the clear-cut No. 3 spot. Baylor's Bryce Petty could be that guy. He had his pro day on Wednesday and looked great, connecting on 74 of 77 passes, according to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. There were representatives from 27 teams at Baylor's pro day, including multiple quarterbacks coaches. The Baylor Twitter account tweeted multiple videos of Petty throwing.
Of further note from Baylor: Wide receiver Levi Norwood managed a 4.53 40-yard dash, a 4.18 in the short shuttle and a 6.87 in the 3-cone, all impressive numbers. Outside of Baylor, there was Michigan State's pro day, which featured big names in cornerback Trae Waynes and linebacker Taiwan Jones. Waynes said he ran the 20-yard shuttle in 4.01 seconds, a vast improvement over his combine time, according to Josh Katzenstein of the Detroit News. Waynes is expected to be a first-round pick. Jones also improved on his 40-yard dash time, running in the 4.7s, according to Tony Pauline of DraftInsider, as opposed to the 4.95 he put up at the combine.
San Diego State
William and Mary
There weren't a ton of big names on Thursday, but there were a few worth mentioning. Missouri's Shane Ray is expected to be a first-round pick and he had a good workout on Thursday. Ray chose not to run at the Scouting Combine, but did run at the pro day, putting up a time of 4.63 seconds, according to Terez Paylor of The Kansas City Star.
Ty Montgomery and Andrus Peat were both big names for Stanford, a school that has been pumping out top NFL talent for the past few years. Peat is expected to be a first-round pick, and had a good workout though he did not run the 40-yard dash. As an offensive lineman, that doesn't really matter, though. The Stanford Football Twitter account posted some video of Peat running drills. Montgomery posted a 40-yard dash time of 4.55 seconds at the NFL combine, and many felt that this was way too slow for him. There's no official numbers out there, but multiple tweets suggest he totally obliterated that time.
It wasn't a big day as far as pro days go, but there were some players of note. At Central Michigan, representatives from 18 teams assembled to see 14 players work out. Wide receiver Titus Davis was the big name. He mostly stood on his combine numbers, though he had a "good pro day workout, running and catching the ball well," according to Gil Brandt of NFL.com. Running back Thomas Rawls has a chance to be drafted and helped his stock on Friday by running the 40-yard dash in 4.42 and 4.5 seconds, beating his combine numbers.
Wide receiver Donatella Luckett of Harding isn't someone you hear a lot about, but he put up a 4.37-second 40-yard dash at Harding's pro day. Luke Tribble has video of the impressive run here.
North Carolina State
The biggest player of note to workout on Monday was Iowa offensive lineman Brandon Scherff. The former-Hawkeye left tackle produced a 32-inch vertical leap, according to Tom Kakert. He did not perform the drill at February's combine in Indianapolis. As for defensive tackle Carl Davis, he had 28 reps of the 225-pound bench and is set to visit with the Bills in early April.
The other big pro day occurred in Fort Collins, Colorado. There, Colorado State quarterback Garrett Grayson reportedly shaved his 40-yard dash down to the 4.6 range, per The Columbian. Grayson did not run the 40 during the combine due a tweaked hamstring.
Texas defensive tackle Malcom Brown is the biggest name on the day. He's expected to go in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft and there's no reason to suspect that's changed after his pro day. Brown had an impressive day in on-field drills, working out with various pass-rushing and leverage drills. He did sit on his combine test numbers though, as noted by Jeff Howe of 1300 The Zone.
The Houston Texans were on hand to witness Brown's workout, and they posted a quick vine of him performing some drills on Tuesday. Running back David Johnson and defensive tackle Xavier Williams were featured in the Northern Iowa pro day. Both guys are expected to be drafted at some point between the third and sixth rounds, and both impressed on the day. The Clinton Herald posted a video of some of the workouts, featuring Johnson.
South Dakota State
This was a big day for track stars. Central Florida's Breshad Perriman blazed a 40-time that was measured between 4.22 and 4.27 seconds. Watch his impressive run below:
Nearly as impressive was the 40-time for Duke wide receiver Jamison Crowder, who reportedly ran 4.39 in both of his attempts.
Middle Tennessee State
North Dakota State
Wide receiver Justin Hardy of East Carolina was one of the bigger names on the day. Hardy put up a 4.56 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine in February, and was told that he ran a 4.4 during Thursday's pro day, as reported by Black and Blue Review. Because he ran on an indoor track, that number is probably slightly off, but it's still a good sign for him. He also impressed in various pass-catching drills and should have helped his draft stock considerably.
The other big names to watch were Utah's Eric Rowe and Nate Orchard. Rowe, a defensive back, can play either cornerback or safety and said his workout on Thursday was supposed to highlight that fact, according to Carter Williams of Deseret News. It's unclear what he'll be drafted as, but he says all 32 teams have shown some kind of interest, according to Josh Furlong of KSL.com. Orchard had some fun at his pro day, playing quarterback and receiver, but for the most part did drills for both defensive ends and linebackers.
Missouri Western State
Of course, the major draw here is LSU. The Tigers have a ton of interesting prospects including a pair of potential first-round selections in corner Jalen Collins and offensive tackle La'el Collins. Jalen won't be participating after getting surgery done on his foot, giving La'el most of the spotlight.
Over at TCU, inside linebacker Paul Dawson had all eyes on him. Dawson has been writing a draft diary for USA Today and penned that his abysmal 40-yard dash time of 4.93 at the NFL Combine was because of a bad hamstring. Dawson somewhat redeemed himself by running the 40 in the 4.7 range, according to Tony Pauline.
Indiana (RB Tevin Coleman will have his own pro day April 15)
Samford hosted its pro day earlier in March, but held another specifically for strong safety Jaquiski Tartt on March 30. Tartt is one of the top safety prospects this year, and representatives from 18 NFL teams were on hand to see his workout, as noted by NFL.com. Tartt ran the 40-yard dash in 4.53 and 4.47 seconds, had a 33-inch vertical jump and a 10'3 broad jump. He ran a 4.29 20-yard shuttle and did the three-cone drill in 7.03 seconds. Tartt looked solid in drills, but some said he was rusty coming off the hand injury that ultimately kept him out of the Combine and Samford's first pro day.
While Tevin Coleman wasn't around for Indiana's pro day, wide receiver Shane Wynn stole the show with a lightning fast 40-yard dash. He posted times of 4.25 and 4.29 seconds, according to David Woods of the Indy Star.
Stephen F. Austin
Jameis Winston's solid yet underwhelming 102-throw performance headlined a busy pro day at Florida State, but the presumptive No. 1 overall pick wasn't the only Seminole that was trying to impress scouts in Tallahassee. More than 150 people from all 32 teams were on hand Tuesday to watch 20 players, including several that have a chance to hear their names called on the first day of the draft.
Cameron Erving, who snapped the ball to Winston on Tuesday, worked out as both a center and tackle and the likely first-round pick had a great day, per NFL Media's Gil Brandt. Cornerbacks P.J. Williams and Ronald Darby also were impressive in positional workouts; Williams looked smooth and fluid during drills, while Darby adjust well to the ball in the air, according to Tallahassee.com's Dustin Tackett. Brandt also noted that defensive tackle Mario Edwards Jr. really upped his stock with a fantastic workout, displaying outstanding athleticism in all of his drills.
Connecticut's Byron Jones, who was the star of the combine with his record-setting broad jump (12 feet, 3 inches), might have done even more to improve his draft prospects by running a 4.36 40-yard dash at the Huskies pro day. Jones skipped the 40 in February as he was recovering from shoulder surgery, but his time on Tuesday would have ranked second among all cornerbacks at the combine if he had run it there last month. According to the Hartford Courant's Desmond Conner, the Eagles had five representatives in Storrs -- including Chip Kelly -- and talked extensively with Jones during his workout.
Notre Dame's pro day didn't have the same buzz as previous years, but its still was an important day for several hopeful former Irish players. Cornerback Cody Riggs, who was a notable combine snub, ran a solid 4.45 40 before injuring his hamstring. Blue and Gold Illustrated's Andrew Ivins noted that kicker Kyle Brindza probably helped himself more than anyone at Tuesday's workout in South Bend. He consistently drove the ball out of the end zone on kickoffs and was 10 of 12 on field goal attempts, per Ivins.
All 32 teams were on hand in Coral Gables to watch the Hurricanes' pro day, which featured several prospects who could go in the first few rounds. Wide receiver Phillip Dorsett, who had a slightly disappointing 4.33 40-yard dash at the Combine, improved that mark considerably on Wednesday by running unofficial times of 4.25 and 4.27, per the Miami Herald's Adam Beasley. He also had a strong showing in the positional drills, catching the ball well and running solid routes.
Linebacker Denzel Perryman also lowered his 40 time from 4.78 to 4.68, but pulled his hamstring and didn't participate in the drills. Ereck Flowers, one of the top offensive line prospects, weighed in at 323, six pounds lighter than his combine weight. Running back Duke Johnson improved his 40 mark from 4.54 to 4.47, per the Sun-Sentinel's Omar Kelly, and also looked good receiving balls out of the backfield.
The top prospect at South Carolina's pro day was offensive lineman A.J. Cann, who looked very good in drills while working out at both guard and center, notes DraftInsider.net's Tony Pauline. Quarterback Dylan Thompson also impressed scouts with his accuracy (he didn't have an incomplete pass) and velocity, and tested well with a 4.65 40 time and 35-inch vertical. Running back Mike Davis ran an unofficial time of 4.38 in the 40-yard dash, a significant improvement over his 4.61 mark at the Combine in February.
Further off the radar, Towson hosted its pro day in Maryland, a showcase for defensive end Ryan Delaire. Though not a big name, Delaire did earn an invite to the NFL Scouting Combine. He only participated in the bench press and 40-yard dash, and neither of his results stood out for his position. However, Delaire showed improved speed at his pro day, running a 4.67 second time in his 40, according to CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora. He's considered a late-round prospect, likely as a pass-rushing linebacker in a 3-4 defense.
The biggest name of the day was Washington nose tackle Danny Shelton, a potential top-10 pick in the draft. Shelton and former teammate Marcus Peters decided to stand on their Combine numbers and stick to positional drills at their pro day. But Peters still turned heads in his CB workouts, according to Rob Rang of CBS Sports, while Shaq Thompson only participated in the bench press and went through both linebacker and defensive back drills.
Two prospects who didn't participate at the Combine tried to gain notice at the well-attended pro day. Pass rusher Hau'oli Kikaha sat out of the Combine due to illness, but disappointed with his unofficial 4.88 40. Still, he looked much better when going through DL drills and LB drills. Wide receiver Kalen Williams dealt with several injuries in college and his productivity suffered because of it. He tried to put the health concerns surrounding him to bed and told Thuc Nhi Nguyen of the Washington student newspaper that he was "pleased" with his performance, which included a 4.52 40 and a 35.5-inch vertical.
At the Maryland pro day, wide receiver Stefon Diggs put on a show for Bill Belichick, according to Ryan Mink of the Baltimore Ravens website. The strong winds almost overshadowed the afternoon, but Diggs demonstrated his reliable hands and hauled in all but one catch. Diggs, who recorded a 4.46 40 at the Combine, chose not to run, though he did take part in the shuttle run and bench press in addition to his WR drills. Although sleeper prospect Deon Long wasn't able to improve on his 4.5 40 time at the Combine, he'll try to rebound at the Ravens' local pro day on April 21.
At FAU's pro day, cornerback D'Joun Smith and wide receiver Lucky Whitehead stood out, impressing the likes of Bills GM Doug Whaley and Colts head coach Chuck Pagano. Both players ran a 4.4 40, per Ian Hest of ESPN West Palm. That's an improvement for Smith, who posted a 4.45 at the Combine in February.
There was a huge crowd in Gainesville on Tuesday, with reps from all 32 teams on hand to watch Florida's pro day. The big names on display for scouts were DE Dante Fowler Jr. and OL D.J. Humphries, both of whom could hear their names called on the first day of the draft. Fowler Jr, projected as a top-five pick, and Humphries both stood on their Combine numbers and only participated in position drills at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
According to various reports, both players performed well. DraftInsider.net's Tony Pauline noted that Fowler Jr. "looked fluid and moved well" during the drills, and looked especially good dropping back into coverage. The pass rusher is reportedly meeting with the Jaguars on Tuesday night, the Titans on Wednesday and the Falcons this weekend. Fowler got everyone's attention by saying he'd be "stunned" if he wasn't taken third overall by Jacksonville.
Humphries, who has helped himself since the end of the season by adding weight and testing well at the Combine, also had an impressive workout on Tuesday afternoon. Pauline reports that he "oozed athleticism" in the position drills, and showed "excellent feet, balance and fluid hips." He now appears to be a lock to be selected at the bottom of the first round.
Fowler Jr. and Humphries weren't the only former Gators that opened eyes at Florida's pro day. Max Garcia put up an impressive 30 reps in the bench press and may have solidified himself as the consensus No. 2 center in the draft. Wide receiver Andre Debose had the fastest 40 time of the day, clocking in at an unofficial 4.38 according to Gatorbait.net, and has the potential to make an impact as a return specialist at the next level.
Indiana University running back Tevin Coleman held his own pro day on Wednesday in Bloomington, where he worked out in front of representatives from all 32 teams. Coleman was unable to participate in drills at the NFL Combine in February because of a lingering foot injury that he suffered last season.
Coleman was clocked in the mid 4.3s to low 4.4s in the 40-yard dash, according reporters at the workout, which would have placed him among the fastest running backs at the Combine. The Indianapolis Colts appear to have serious interest in the former Hoosier. They sent a number of people to watch Coleman, including offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton, running backs coach Charlie Williams and scout Matt Terpening.