NFL Draft 2013: How Wednesday's Pro Days Can Improve Players' Draft Stocks

Christopher LeoneSenior Analyst IMarch 6, 2013

STARKVILLE, MS - OCTOBER 13:  Defensive back Johnthan Banks #13 of the Mississippi State Bulldogs looks to the sidelines for a play during their game against the Tennessee Volunteers on October 13, 2012 at Davis Wade Stadium in Starkville, Mississippi. (Photo by Butch Dill/Getty Images)
Butch Dill/Getty Images

As top college prospects continue to prepare for next month's NFL draft, 12 schools will host pro days for their best eligible players on Wednesday. This group of players, perhaps more so than any other, has plenty to prove after a series of disappointing performances in last month's NFL Scouting Combine.

The top player participating in a pro day today should be Mississippi State cornerback Johnthan Banks, who remains a first-round projection but didn't stand out at the combine. Banks ran a 40-yard dash time of 4.61 seconds and was so-so in his on-field drills.

To make matters worse, he told Al.com "I can own anybody," mentioning new single-season receiving yards leader Calvin Johnson by name while at the combine.

Pro day could be a huge make-or-break day for Banks. If he performs well and answers for that statement, he'll be fine on draft day. If he fails to stand out, there's a chance that he could fall out of the first round entirely.

For Wisconsin's Montee Ball, the all-time FBS touchdown leader, the primary goal is to bring down his time in the 40-yard dash. Ball's time of 4.67 seconds at the combine wasn't an abject disappointment for a player who is 5'11" and 212 pounds, but it wasn't anything special either.

Ball could also stand to improve on his bench press results, which saw him perform only 15 reps—tied for lowest among all running backs. If he can improve upon either or both, his measurables for speed and strength may merit a second-round pick from a team looking for a third-down back.

Kent State's Brian Winters, meanwhile, won't be trying to improve upon combine results as much as establish benchmarks for them. Winters suffered a pectoral injury through nine reps of the bench press drill at the combine and had to sit out the rest of the event.

Winters was an All-MAC First Team player at left tackle for the Golden Flashes last year, following two All-MAC selections at right tackle and right guard the previous two seasons. After playing left guard during the Senior Bowl, his versatility along the line should be a plus for any team struggling with depth.

If he can set solid marks during today's pro day drills, he could be a second- or third-round pick for a team in need of a guard.

A handful of other players will look to show improvement on Wednesday as well.

Mississippi State's Chad Bumphis, a wide receiver, and Pittsburgh's Ray Graham, who rushed for over 1,000 yards in 2012, will both look to post strong 40-yard dash times. Meanwhile, Wisconsin center Travis Frederick hopes to top his number of 21 bench press reps from the combine.

Wednesday's pro day players have mixed levels of ability, but one thing is constant among them: They've all got drills to improve upon. Doing so could prove the difference between righting the ship on their draft stock or falling down the board.

All combine results courtesy of NFL.com.

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