Although most of the focus as teams look toward the 2013 NFL Draft is on the Scouting Combine, the importance of Pro Days can't be overlooked. It's a chance for franchises to do a closer examination of prospects that have caught their eye.
The draft process is a long and winding journey. It starts in college and continues through the combine and individual workouts. Every little test can make a major difference on where, or even if, a prospect gets drafted.
Ever since the college season ended, it's been crunch time for draft hopefuls. They are in the final stretch to prove their worth to teams at the next level. And their performance during Pro Day is an opportunity to make a lasting impact on the people making the decisions.
Brian McIntyre of Yahoo! Sports provided a list of schools that have released dates for their Pro Day. It stretches from early March to early April, showing exactly how detailed of a process the NFL Draft has become over the years.
|March 4||UAB, Minnesota, Troy|
|March 5||Buffalo, Northwestern, Youngstown State, Jackson State, Chattanooga, Tuskegee|
|March 6||Mississippi State, Pittsburgh, North Alabama, Alabama A&M, Eastern Washington, Northern Arizona, Kent State|
|March 7||Arizona, Illinois, Miami, Washington State, Idaho, New Mexico, Mississippi, Arkansas-Monticello|
|March 8||Texas Christian, Florida Atlantic, Southern Miss, Cornell, Wofford, Missouri State, Mount Union|
|March 11||Penn State, Central Michigan, California (Penn.)|
|March 12||Florida, Kansas State, Toledo, Portland State|
|March 13||Michigan State, Cincinnati, Washington, Central Oklahoma|
|March 14||Grambling, Arkansas State, Fort Valley State, West Alabama|
|March 15||Georgia State|
|March 18||Wake Forest, Houston, Memphis, Delaware State, Howard, Valdosta State, Air Force, Idaho State, Albany State, Montana State, Villanova|
|March 19||Louisville, Virginia, Richmond, Sam Houston State, Florida A&M|
|March 20||North Carolina State, Central Florida, Sacramento State|
|March 21||Boise State, Kentucky, Stanford, Eastern Kentucky, William & Mary|
|March 22||Vanderbilt, Tennessee State|
|March 25||Middle Tennessee, Stephen F. Austin|
|March 26||Texas, Louisiana Tech, N.C. Central|
|March 28||BYU, East Carolina, Yale, Central Arkansas|
|March 29||Southeast Missouri|
There are days where teams will be forced to spread out their resources if they are intrigued by multiple players. March 18 is the best example with 11 schools already scheduled for that date. Several days in early March are also stacked.
More often than not, the elite prospects take it pretty easy on Pro Day, especially if they are comfortable with their current draft stock. Players in promising positions aren't going to take any unnecessary risks and put their likely range in jeopardy.
That said, these workouts are an opportunity to get a better view of players that might be this year's diamonds in the rough. Players that are going to give it their all because they have nothing to lose, and can surprise some talent evaluators.
It's also why the list features so many non-power schools. The prospects that didn't garner as much attention during the college season need every possible chance to showcase their talent. That's exactly what Pro Days are for.