We’ve recently had a run of rather important pro days, so let’s discuss.
- Over at Bleacher Report, Matt Miller has the latest pro day-related buzz, which includes an updated mock draft. You can add Miller’s most recent mock to the growing pile that have the Bears taking LSU safety Jamal Adams (which makes a lot of sense) with the third pick. Also of note for the Bears is an update on their hunt for quarterback depth. Miller has learned the Bears are one of the teams Patrick Mahomes has met or will meet before the draft. The list also includes the Browns, Chiefs, Cardinals, and Chargers.
- Whenever the Bears do meet with Mahomes, they’ll get an up-close look at a player who reminds some of Jay Cutler, the quarterback the team just let go.
- Things aren’t lined up for the Bears to take a quarterback early, which made Cal’s Davis Webb appealing. Armed with a big frame (6-5, 229) and bigger arm, Davis projected to be a potential worthwhile candidate to be a developmental project for the Bears because of some issues with footwork, accuracy, and the fact he lacks familiarity with pro style offenses. HOWEVER, Davis says he has been told he will be taken in the first round – adding he has scheduled approximately 15 more meetings with teams, but offered no specifics other than being in contact with 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan. If Webb isn’t picked in the first, San Francisco could conceivably pick him with the second pick of the second round, which would come ahead of the Bears’ second round pick.
- While Webb said he was pleased with his pro day, the Daily Californian described his performance as uneven. Davis threw through a light rain at Cal’s pro day, and said quarterback coaches on hand said he did great. Even still, this description by Andrew Wild seems concerning: “Throwing in the rain is never easy, but Webb looked particularly befuddled, struggling to land at any happy medium approach.”
- Staying out west, Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio was on hand at Stanford’s pro day. Fangio, like many other attendees, was likely there to see defensive stud Solomon Thomas. San Francisco has chosen defensive linemen in the first round in each of the last two drafts, meaning it’s possible Thomas won’t be available when the Bears pick third. If the 49ers don’t make it a three-peat, Eric Branch of SFGate.com writes the Bears or Panthers (who own the eighth pick) could land Thomas.
- Let’s stick with Stanford for a moment, where former Heisman Trophy hopeful Christian McCaffrey (who was the Cardinal’s feature back on campus) attempted to display his versatility as a wide receiver.
— KTVU Sports Dept. (@ktvusports) March 23, 2017
- Michigan’s pro day was highly attended and highly informative, as far as certain players’ draft stock and status is concerned. Jabrill Peppers was the undisputed star of the show, writes JJ Conrad of NJ.com. He spoke to all 32 teams (30 of which have him pegged as a safety) and has 23 future visits planned. Peppers might be a tweener (one team envisions him as a linebacker) but the versatility in his skills can’t be ignored.
- So much so, Mike Mayock believes Peppers is a top-10 talent. Even though Chase Goodbread of NFL.com notes that none of the site’s analysts who have published a mock draft have Peppers higher than 17th, Mayock believes that Peppers’ abilities as a dynamic defensive back and returner make him worthy of top-10 consideration. Mayock has Peppers as his top-rated safety.
- One team believes he could be an offensive asset. Seriously. Senior analyst Gil Brandt sees the potential. Hey, he did some work on that side of the ball at Michigan.
- Peppers has heard the critics and understands their critiques, telling MLive’s Nick Baumgerner he’ll trust his skills as he improves on his technique. “I’m trying to trust my technique and that’s something I’m trying to hone in on now. Those are all fair questions. But at the end of the day, I’m an athlete. I’m a ball player. I only have to see something one time and I can do it.”
- This Peppers highlight package is certainly worth your time:
.@JabrillPeppers took the field today.
— NFL (@NFL) March 24, 2017
- Peppers wasn’t the only defensive stud showing off. Defensive lineman Ryan Glasgow said he will be at the Chicago Bears’ local pro day. Glasgow said he has already met with the Saints, Ravens, and Giants – with a future workout at Michigan scheduled with the Eagles.
- Michigan tight end Jake Butt might have been a first-round pick had it not been for an ACL injury he suffered at the Orange Bowl. But for what it’s worth, Butt is ahead of schedule and could be ready to play by the time training camp starts. This would be a pleasant surprise for him – and the team that drafts him. Even though the Bears signed Dion Sims to a three-year deal in free agency, Butt displays the kind of two-way skills a modern tight end must possess to be successful. The injury might slow him down short-term, but his value to an offense – especially one without many reliable targets – is unquestioned.
- On the other side of the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry, Cleveland.com has an inside look at cornerback Marshon Lattimore’s pro day workouts. The most important thing to come out of Lattimore’s performance was a clean bill of health. After skipping out on the NFL Combine’s on-field workouts, Lattimore impressed and proved what a healthy cornerback worthy of a top-10 pick looks like in drills.
- Senior Bowl superstar Zay Jones continues to make his case for being the best wide receiver in the draft. Jones starred at East Carolina’s draft day, showing off his refined route-running skills and top-notch footwork while running receiver drills – but also was fielding punts during workouts. Jones is trying to one-up his father Robert, who was the first ECU player drafted (taken by the Cowboys 24th overall in the 1992 draft) and NFL running back Chris Johnson, who was also selected 24th overall by the Titans in 2008.
- Jones seems plenty motivated to make it happen, too:
Zay Jones has delivered a lot of epic quotes over the years, but this one from today's Pro Day may be the best. pic.twitter.com/YK1E9HczZM
— Stephen Igoe (@StephenIgoe) March 23, 2017