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2023 NFL Pro Day Bonanza (Part 1)

Pro Day

We are winding down the 2023 NFL Pro Day season. There are still a few schools that we are waiting on. We are also waiting on a few individual Pro Days to take place.

Today we are going to look at several notable results from all of the Pro Days that have taken place between March 7th and March 24th.

2023 NFL Pro Day Bonanza

INDIANA

Shrine Bowl participant, OT Luke Haggard had the best pro day from the Hoosiers’ contingent. The 5th-year player put up decent enough numbers to test as an 81% athlete. Haggard is likely a PFA.

UNLV

Rebels LB Austin Ajiake was a highly productive player at UNLV. He double-dipped on the All-Star circuit (Shrine and Hula). Ajiake ran a 4.6 in the forty, had a 38.5″ vertical, and a 10’3″ broad jump. He could hear his name called late on day three.

HARVARD

Crimson edge rusher Truman Jones ran a 4.68 in the forty and had a 37″ vertical. The 6’2″ 251-pound prospect had a good week at the Shrine Bowl. Jones also projects a late-day three-priority free agent type.

ILLINOIS STATE

The Redbirds had a pair of defensive standouts at their Pro Day. LB Zeke Vandenburgh was on my radar prior to the year. While he didn’t run a forty, the rest of his testing put him in the top 86% of all linebacker prospects.

EDGE Jason Lewan came out of nowhere to me. He participated in the CGS in early January. Lewan, at 6’6″ and 288 pounds, ran a 4.97 forty. he also had a 31-inch vertical and a 4.54 time in the short shuttle.

PURDUE

Little used CB Reese Taylor had a decent showing at the Boilermakers’ Pro Day. Taylor ran a 4.46 in the forty with a tremendous SS of 4.07 and a 6.63 three-cone. At 5’9″ and 191 pounds, he likely projects as a nickel corner that is worth a camp invite.

TEXAS

Former Alabama TE Jahleel Billingsley measures in light for a tight end but he had a decent workout for the Longhorns. Unfortunately for Billingsley, he has been a perpetual underachiever for two programs and will be fighting an uphill battle to be selected or make a 90-man roster.

ILLINOIS

Nearly every Illinois prospect in this class tested like an elite athlete. IOL Alec Pihlstrom is no exception. The 6th-year center ran a sub-5-second forty. Pihlstrom put up 24 reps of 225 on the bench. All told, he tested in the 92nd percentile. Pihlstrom could be a day three selection.

DAVENPORT

Are you ready for an obscure freak athlete? I give you Davenport WR Sy Barnett. Barnett ran a blazing 4.38 forty (1.5 10-split). He also vertical leaped 40 inches and broad jumped 10’11”. And not to be outdone, Barnett also obliterated his shuttles. I don’t know if he gets drafted but those numbers are fantastic.

OREGON STATE

Diminutive WR Tyjon Lindsey stood out at the Oregon State Pro Day. Lindsey is only 5’8″ and 170 pounds. However, he is scorching fast (4.47), with a 39″ vertical, and elite shuttle times.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Josh Vann should have been the Gamecocks’ wide receiver at the Combine in lieu of Jalen Brooks. Vann showed this at the Pro Day with a 4.43. He was exceedingly more productive during his time in Columbia. Vann should be drafted on day three. 

WESTERN MICHIGAN

WMU had a pair of 90+ percent athletes. Zaire Barnes is the most likely to get drafted. The 6’1″ 232-pound linebacker ran a 4.56 in the forty. IOL Dylan Deatherage moves well for a large man and may have worked his way into a draftable range.

CENTRAL MICHIGAN

EDGE Thomas Incoom is the only Chippewas prospect that is going to hear his name called next month. He did all of his tests at the combine. The other prospect worth noting is RB Lew Nichols. However, he is still injured and didn’t work out.

NORTHERN MICHIGAN

I didn’t even know Northern Michigan was a Division II school until I saw the pro day from OT Jake Witt. Now he is receiving all kinds of buzz. Good luck finding any tape to watch. Witt is 6’7″ 302 pounds and tested like a tight end. ironically, that is where he played before switching to OT. Dane Brugler had a tremendous write-up on him in the Athletic last week. Will Jake Whitt be drafted? Maybe?

CLEMSON

Trenton Simpson finished off his good Combine workout with fabulous times in the shuttles at his Pro Day. The linebacker ran a 4.24 short shuttle and a 7.06 in the three-cone.

LOUISIANA TECH

The top prospect for La Tech is CB Myles Brooks. He had a solid workout. However, there has never been a more athletic fullback prospect to test than the Bulldogs’ Griffin Hebert. I don’t know if that is draftable but it is noteworthy.

NORTHWESTERN

Every Northwestern player on our watchlist has tested over 87%. That didn’t include RB Andrew Clair. Clair didn’t get many carries for the Wildcats in 2023. But his 42″ vertical would have been tops at the Combine.

OREGON

Speaking of late watchlist additions, Ducks’ WR Chase Cota was put on after his Pro Day performance. Cota ran a 4.51 forty, a 4.14 SS, and a 6.86 three-cone.

COLORADO

We likely will not see a Colorado player drafted in 2023. That will change in the future with Coach Prime around. But for now, we are going to see a lot of UDFAs. This includes WR Daniel Arias.

GEORGIA

The story out of the Georgia pro day was DL Jalen Carter showing up ten pounds heavy and not being able to finish the field drills. Carter obviously didn’t test and we likely will not get those numbers prior to the draft. Will this knock Carter down the board? Time will tell.

KENT STATE

LB Marvin Pierre showed up to the Kent State pro day and decided to jump onto draft boards. Pierre had a 40.5″ vertical leap and an 11’1″ broad jump. His teammate, safety Nico Bolden, also tested well. Bolden vertical jumped 41″ and broad jumped 10’7″.

LOUISIANA

Out of nowhere, Ragin Cajuns’ TE John Stephens Jr shows up and tests over 90%. Stephens has made big plays in his career in Lafayette, but those have come far from each other. He will be an intriguing player to bring to a camp.

MICHIGAN STATE

Shrine Bowl participant Ben VanSumeren has tested as one of the most athletic linebackers in this class. BVS ran a 4.45 forty, benched 225 29 times, and had a 42.5″ vertical, and a 10’11” broad jump. That kind of athleticism likely gets him drafted. At worst, VanSumeren should excel on special teams.

For more on NFL Draft Prospects check these out:

Mock Drafts

Shane P. Hallam Mock Draft

Brian Bosarge Mock Draft

NFL Draft Rankings

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