The NFL Draft is set to begin on May 8. Currently, college prospects have one last chance to showcase their physical tools for 32 NFL teams. Those opportunities are taking place around the country on college campuses.
PHOTOS: Pro Day Workouts
It’s officially pro day season and 49ers.com has you covered for all the notable notes and quotes from these events.
Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald, NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock’s top-rated interior defensive line prospect, continued to show why he should be a high first-round selection.
The 6-foot-1, 285-pound lineman was one of the top lineman performers at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine. Donald, a first-team All-American and All-ACC performer, backed up his efforts at his pro day. Donald didn’t run another 40-yard dash; he stood on his impressive time of 4.68 seconds. Donald posted 35 reps of the 225-pound bench press, registered a 32-inch vertical jump and a 116-inch broad jump at the combine. Donald stood on all those numbers and only participated in field drills.
“I retired my 40 cleats,” Donald jokingly told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Even so, Donald impressed in limited work. According to NFL.com’s Gil Brand, Donald “looked very good, showing fluid movement.”
Ford, 6-foot-2, 244-pound defensive end, ran the 40 in 4.59 and 4.63 seconds, according to NFL.com. He also posted a 35.5-inch vertical jump, a 10-foot, 4-inch broad jump and put up 29 reps on the bench press.
“I’m very pleased,” Ford said of his testing results via ESPN.com. “I put in a lot of work.”
Elsewhere on the pro day circuit, Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo held his workout at Northwestern University. Jim Harbaugh was there to personally give the emerging quarterback prospect a private workout.
“It went real well,” Garoppolo said of his time with Harbaugh. “We were back there slinging it around and he can still throw it… I learned a lot from him. He was teaching me little things here and there.”
Jake Matthews was the only potential first-round draft pick to work out at Texas A&M’s pro day. The left tackle’s well-known teammates, quarterback Johnny Manziel and wide receiver Mike Evans, will be working out at the former Heisman Trophy’s personal workout for NFL teams.
According to The Houston Chronicle, 49ers director of college scouting Matt Malaspina was on hand to have a private meeting with Evans. The 6-foot-4, 231-pound wideout is likely to be the second receiver drafted in 2014. Evans ran a 4.53 in the 40 at the combine and has 35 and 1/8 inch arm length, a noteworthy trait for 49ers draft picks.
Evans has set his sights on being a top-10 draft pick.
“That’s what I’m gunning for,” the productive receiver told The Houston Chronicle. “I’m trying to showcase my talents and make teams like me.”
Clemson’s pro day was the most notable event on this day. Star wide receiver Sammy Watkins did not run a 40. Instead, he stood on his 4.43 time from the combine. Watkins, however, wowed coaches with his pass-catching skills during field drills.
“It’s not just about me,” Watkins told NFL Network. “It’s about the other players here. I wasn’t the type of guy who would sit out. I wanted to show my face today and work out.”
It was also a showcase for Tigers quarterback Tajh Boyd. According to reports, 31 teams were represented at the Clemson event.
“I feel like I answered a lot of questions today,” Boyd said, via ESPN. “I’m looking forward to see how everything plays out.”
Arizona State defensive tackle Will Sutton continued his offseason weight loss tour. The two-time Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year has shed six pounds since the combine. Sutton is currently at 297 pounds and looked much faster at his Sun Devils pro day according to multiple reports. Sutton was clocked at 5.15 in the 40, a two-tenths of a second improvement from his combine time.
Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier also made good use of his pro day showing. The 4-3 outside linebacker ran an unofficial 4.36 in the 40. He did so despite battling hamstring issues. Brandt wrote that Shazier's time was more like a 4.38. Shazier pulled up at the end of his final run and the injury was later called a hamsring strain. Minor injury aside, Shazier showed impressive speed with 31 NFL teams in attendance.
UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr solidified his draft status with a 4.44, 40. The time was released by UCLA head coach and former 49ers defensive coordinator Jim Mora.
Barr, a potential top-10 selection, ran a 4.66 at the combine.
Elsewhere, Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard stood on his 40 time from the combine (4.51), but he did post a 36-inch vertical jump and an 11-foot-2 broad jump. Dennard is in the conversation of being the top cornerback drafted in 2014.
Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron had several NFL coaches watching him throw, including Chip Kelly of the Philadephia Eagles. McCarron was one of the most notable players at the Crimson Tide pro day, but he's not likely to be the first one selected.
Linebacker C.J. Mosley and safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix figure to be first-round selections. Mosley was clocked in between 4.5 and 4.6 seconds for his 40 time. Clinton-Dix ran an unoffical 4.58 and decided not take part in field drills.
Perhaps the biggest story of the day was the workout of tackle prospect Cyrus Kouandijo. Reports at the combine emerged about the Alabama left tackle, saying that his surgically repaired knee would be an issue in the NFL. Kouandijo, however, said he hasn't been told by any team that he failed a physical at the combine. The massive tackle prospect took part in field drills and was weighed at 311 pounds, 11 pounds lighter than his combine weight.
USC's Marqise Lee, considered to be a first-round wide receiver, did not run at his pro day. Instead, the 6-foot, 192-pound wideout stood on his 4.52-second time from the combine.
"I knew I could do better but at the end of the day, you have to understand that film is different than a 40 time," Lee told The Los Angeles Daily News.
Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert worked out in front of representatives from all 32 NFL clubs. Gilbert, considered by many to be the top cornerback in this year's draft, stood on most of his combine numbers. He did, however, take part in field drills and looked "outstanding" according to NFL.com.
"Gilbert cemented his position as a top-15 caliber draft pick," Brandt wrote.
Oregon State wide receiver Brandin Cooks, a popular 49ers draft target in recent mock drafts, stood on his combine numbers. Cooks, the 5-foot-9, 185-pound wideout, ran a 4.33 in Indianapolis. At his pro day, Cooks took part in field drills and was watched by New York Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg and Seattle Seahawks wide receivers coach Kippy Brown, according to NFL.com.
Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro improved his 40-yard dash and vertical leap at his pro day workout. Amaro ran a 4.68 and posted a 33.5-inch leap. The unanimous All-American posted a 4.74 in the 40 and a 30-inch vertical jump at the combine.
Amaro told the Dallas Morning News that a scout compared him to 49ers tight end
"He was just telling me how I resemble Davis a lot and what he did and what he does still," Amaro said of the scout's comments. "He's excited to see if I end up falling to the 49ers."
Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater's pro day was a mixed bag according to reports. NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock wasn't impressed with Bridgewater's workout. He called it, "average at best."
According to Gil Brandt, Bridgewater connected on 57 of his 65 throws.
Louisville safety Calvin Pryor stood on most of his combine numbers, but he did post times of 4.31 seconds in the short shuttle and 6.98 seconds in the three-cone drill.
All 32 NFL teams were represented at Florida State's pro day. Several NFL head coaches and general managers were there to see a standout crop of Seminoles. Star wide receiver, Kelvin Benjamin, decided not to run a 40-yard dash. The 6-foot-5, 240-pound receiver posted a 4.61 at the combine and decided to only take part in positional drills. Benjamin had a "pretty good" day according to NFLDraftScout.com.
Harbaugh has been spotted at another pro day. Virginia Tech tight ends coach Bryan Stiney tweeted photo proof of the 49ers coach in Blacksburg, Va.
Coach Jim Harbaugh taking in our Pro Day! pic.twitter.com/6cswhuTFRE— Coach Stiney (@BryanStiney) March 19, 2014
Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News wondered if Harbaugh was there to watch top cornerback prospect Kyle Fuller or "intriguing" quarterback prospect Logan Thomas.
Elsewhere, CSN Bay Area's Matt Maiocco reported that 49ers quarterback coach Geep Chryst attended San Jose State's pro day, presumably to watch Spartan prospect David Fales.
The bulk of the nation's media attention, however, was directed in Florida where top quarterback prospect Blake Bortles took the field at UCF's pro day. Bortles peformance "looked like it was supposed to look," according to Mayock, who sees Bortles as a potential franchise quarterback.
Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr appeared to improve his draft stock with his pro day performance. Despite battling the flu, Carr completed 66 of 72 passes, according to NFL.com. Carr performed in front of representatives from all 32 teams. He, like many of this year's top passers, declined to throw at the combine. Carr reportedly met with the Oakland Raiders following his throwing session.
"I think he's still a sixth-round draft choice at the high side," NFL Network analyst Charles Davis said. "A lof of people may have lower grades than that."
Stanford's pro day featued an appearance from new 49ers tackle
According to Maiocco, general manager Trent Baalke and coach Harbaugh were not in attendance at Vanderbilt's pro day. Jordan Matthews, a 6-foot-3, 211-pound wide receiver, is the school's highest-rated prospect in this year's draft. According to Maiocco, the 49ers had an area scout in attendance.
Gil Brandt of NFL.com noted that Matthews only participated in field drills and had a "few drops in the drills, which is usual for him."
North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron, a potential first-round pick, drew mixed reviews. The 6-foot-4, 253-pounder no doubt impressed with his sheer athleticism (even though he didn't run the 40 or participate in the vertical leap), but he didn't help his stock with a few dropped passes.
Still, Ebron has his impressive combine measurements to fall back on, and he has a strong chance to be the first tight end drafted come May.
— David Hamilton (@DavidHamiltonTV) March 25, 2014
Texas defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat, a 2013 All-American, also relied on his combine numbers. The Longhorns top NFL prospect did go through positional drills; he profiles as a project at outside linebacker.
NFL Network analyst Kurt Warner came away impressed.
"His deep balls, great touch, great trajectory," Warner said. "Being able to put the ball 45 yards downfield on the money, those things don't happen everyday."
Manziel reportedly threw 65 passes before 75 NFL officials from 30 different teams to a handful of receivers, including teammate and likely first-round pick in Mike Evans.
South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney once again had the attention of the NFL world.
With all the other top quarterback prospects having taken their turns at their respective pro days, Clowney made another case being the No. 1 overall pick of the Houston Texans.
NFL Media draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah descirbed the performance as a "phenomenal" day for Clowney.
Clowney did not run another 40-yard dash, but he did compete dispite dealing with a slight groin pull.
Clowney's pro day was much different from quarterbacks who get to plan out every throw they make on the field. A defensive end like Clowney is subjected to performing in whatever drills the NFL coaches and scouts request.
Clowney, a 4-3 defensive end in college, was asked to take part in linebacker drills for 3-4 teams wondering if Clowney could convert to outside linebacker in the NFL.