After combine, pro-day workouts last chance for prospects to shine

Publish date:

For the next month, the attention of the draft world will be on college campuses across the nation as general managers, coaches and scouts attend pro days. (For a full schedule, click here.) Many of the players working out had disappointing performances at the combine in Indianapolis and must make the most of their pro-day opportunity. Here are a dozen such prospects.

Tony Pike/QB/Cincinnati: Pike had a terrific senior campaign but has struggled recently and looked ineffective in Indianapolis. More than anything else he needs to throw the ball well for scouts. He displayed marginal arm strength at the combine and many of his throws fluttered, in part due to his delivery.

Montario Hardesty/RB/Tennessee: Hardesty's workout numbers were impressive as he ran a 4.50 40 and turned in a vertical jump of 41 inches. But he did not look nearly as athletic when handed the ball in drills. During his pro-day workout, Hardesty must show more authority and self confidence carrying the ball. He must display the ability to cut back in drills without losing a great deal of momentum, something he didn't do at the combine.

Riar Greer/TE/Colorado: He's primarily a pass-catching tight end. His 40 at the combine was slower than 5.00 on many watches, and Greer dropped an inordinate amount of passes during drills. He must find a way to significantly improve both to stand any chance of being drafted.

Nate Byham/TE/Pittsburgh: Another prospect who ran poorly last week, Byham showed no burst and lumbered about the field in pass-catching drills. He did, however, display strength during blocking drills. He did not participate in the bench press at the combine, but a large number of repetitions at pro day could put him back in the good graces of scouts.

Damian Williams/WR/USC: Williams struck fear in opponents the past two seasons with his ability to break games open. During the combine he looked like an ordinary prospect. He ran poorly in the 40 (4.55) and dropped a number of balls early in his workout. He must prove he has the burst of speed and game-breaking skills once displayed in college if he wants to have any shot at going in the first round.

Anthony Davis/T/Rutgers: His combine workout was as ugly as it gets. He was slow in the 40 and lacked strength on the bench. Some scouts believe Davis will now slide into the late part of round one. The Rutgers pro day is March 10, which means Davis has little time to work to significantly improve those marks.

Alex Carrington/DL/Arkansas State: We covered Carrington during his phenomenal showing at the Senior Bowl, but his combine performance was disappointing, to say the least. His 4.97 40 in Indianapolis was two-tenths slower than his time a year ago. Worse, his 10-yard split was poor. Both must significantly improve.

Arthur Jones/DL/Syracuse: It's tough to claim Jones had a poor combine as he's still recovering from knee surgery and did not participate in the workout. Regardless, he is sliding down draft boards because so many other defensive linemen looked sensational in Indianapolis. Jones has an individual workout set for early April and needs a good overall performance. He may never regain the first-round grade many believe he deserved entering the season, but it will be an opportunity for a pre-draft bounce.

AJ Edds/LB/Iowa: His physical tests at the combine were terrific. His 40 was in the mid-4.6s after he weighed in at 246 pounds. His linebacker drills on Monday were disappointing, which was very surprising. Edds can easily improve his draft grade by displaying quickness and being smooth at Iowa's pro day.

Dekoda Watson/LB/Florida State: He impressed scouts with his physical skills yet looked very ordinary in drills. His 40s were in the low 4.5-area, some of the fastest at the position. His bench press of 24 repetitions was also solid. Watson did not transfer that athleticism to the position specific drills. He came to a complete stop changing direction and generally struggled from start to finish. Like Edds, he'll need to display linebacker skills at pro day, something that Watson has lacked since his sophomore season at Florida State.

Crezdon Butler/CB/Clemson: He measured 191 pounds and just under 6-foot, then ran his 40 in the mid-4.4s, classic numbers for a cornerback. Butler's drill session was poor. His backpedal was slow and stiff. He wasn't smooth flipping his hips, and he displayed poor hands for the interception. There's no need for Butler to run for scouts on his pro day, but he must display improved defensive back mechanics.

Perrish Cox/CB/Oklahoma State: He was mentioned as a late first-round pick prior to the combine. His 40 times, which barely got underneath 4.6, knocked him out of consideration as a top 35 pick. Obviously, speed is the area Cox must improve on at pro day.

• Nearly 20 NFL teams had representatives at Kansas State's pro-day on Wednesday. The main attraction was defensive lineman Jeffery Fitzgerald, who many thought should have been invited to the combine. The 271-pound defender didn't disappoint as he ran the 40 in 4.84 and had a vertical jump of 35 inches.

• One final note from the combine. Immediately after Taylor Mays streaked across the field at Lucas Oil Stadium, Kyle McCarthy of Notre Dame stepped to the start for his first attempt at the 40. When McCarthy crossed the line, his time was one-quarter second slower than Mays', motivating one scout to say, "In a nutshell, that's why Notre Dame has not beaten USC in almost a decade!"