Pro days give potential draft picks another chance to shine. Who helped themselves the most? We look at five players who stood out.
The NFL combine is just the appetizer in the pre-draft process. It’s an introduction to the players for most coaching staffs, who haven’t yet had time to dig into the film. But by the time pro days roll around, most franchises have their sights set on a group of players.
On campus, they get one-on-one time with the players, often coaching them specifically on something or putting them through some kind of drill. It’s not quite the entree, but maybe a pasta course (draft season is a long, fancy, white tablecloth meal). It’s a crucial step in player evaluation, particularly for guys who didn’t participate at the combine or for players who needed an extra boost to their stock.
Here’s a look at five players who wet the appetite of NFL teams with impressive pro day performances.
Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
It’s not that Jackson had a bad combine, but it was a puzzling one. His testing numbers were quite solid, even if his 40 time (4.56) puts him in the bottom quartile for corners. The real problems arose in position drills, where Jackson vacillated between looking lost and stiff, while occasionally appearing to be both.
It’s not the reddest flag, but Jackson only had one year of production at Iowa and doesn’t have experience with some critical techniques and coverage concepts he’ll need at the NFL level. Whether it was nerves or lack of preparation, it was concerning.
But at his pro day, not only did Jackson improve his athletic testing, he blew it up, posting a 40-inch vertical, getting his short shuttle under four seconds, and according to Tony Pauline, most stopwatches had his 40 time in the 4.4s even if his official time was 4.52.
Jackson also looked much more comfortable with the drill work, something he admitted he had more time to focus on in preparation for his workout in Iowa City. Scouts were once again impressed with his ball skills, but Jackson showed his ability work on his craft, even in just a month, while showing off his considerable athletic gifts.
His pro day was an enormous win for him.