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Texas Football: 5 Players with the Most to Prove at Pro Day

Zach SheltonFeatured ColumnistFebruary 27, 2014

Texas Football: 5 Players with the Most to Prove at Pro Day

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    A lot of eyes will be on receiver Mike Davis at Texas' pro day.
    A lot of eyes will be on receiver Mike Davis at Texas' pro day.Eric Gay/Associated Press

    As much attention as the combine receives, it is merely the highest-profile stage of the evaluation process. Just as often, a player's pro day can make the biggest difference in his draft stock.

    On March 26, the remaining Longhorn hopefuls will take to their home field and attempt to make a lasting impression on an NFL scout. After his impressive performance at the combine, defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat will let his former teammates step into the spotlight. His draft stock is safe, as is kicker Anthony Fera's.

    But not every Longhorn attempting to get drafted got a chance to show off at the combine. For Carrington Byndom, Trey Hopkins, Donald Hawkins and Mason Walters, this pro day is their last chance to realize their dream of playing in the NFL.

    And for Mike Davis, it is an opportunity to put an untimely injury in the rear-view mirror.

WR Mike Davis

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    After missing the combine, Mike Davis needs to make a big impression.
    After missing the combine, Mike Davis needs to make a big impression.Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

    Whether it was during the Senior Bowl or his personal workouts with Marqise Lee, Mike Davis earned some solid hype heading into Indianapolis. Unfortunately, he was only able to participate in the bench press after sustaining a minor foot injury, according to NFL.com's Ian Rapoport.

    The injury is not severe, so Davis is still expected to take part in his pro day. But he now faces an uphill battle after measuring just 6'0" and 197 pounds at the combine. Lacking ideal size, he is already facing questions about his attitude and his hands.

    First off, Davis has to prove he can compensate for his size by running a blazing 40-yard dash. Anything under 4.5 seconds will alleviate those concerns. When he runs his routes, he has to catch the ball smoothly.

    If Davis can do both, he will solidify his status as a high-upside pick in the middle rounds.

CB Carrington Byndom

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    Carrington Byndom's size has been a knock on his draft status.
    Carrington Byndom's size has been a knock on his draft status.Stacy Revere/Getty Images

    A surprise snub from the NFL combine, Carrington Byndom has to prove to scouts he is physical enough to play at the next level.

    We've seen Byndom erase receivers, and we've seen him get exposed. His performance against Texas A&M, in which he had a 58-yard pick-six and three pass breakups is a case of the former. Other times, he's been roasted like he was in the East-West Shrine Game.

    Byndom has the height and the speed to play corner in the NFL, but he is paper-thin at 180 pounds. That lack of bulk got him into trouble in college because bigger receivers could simply shrug him off. Coming down against the run was also an issue.

    In order to be relevant in the late rounds, Byndom has to show up as a bigger, more powerful athlete. Pay close attention to his broad jump.

OG Trey Hopkins

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    There is a difference of opinion on how good Trey Hopkins will be in the NFL.
    There is a difference of opinion on how good Trey Hopkins will be in the NFL.TIM SHARP/Associated Press

    Trey Hopkins started 42 games in his Longhorn career and was a two-time All-Big 12 selection. Yet even those accolades could not get him invited to the combine.

    It seems ridiculous that a 300-pound lineman would be considered too small, but that is the hurdle Hopkins faces. He has been the team's best lineman over the past two seasons due to great quickness and simply executing his assignments. That just hasn't been enough for him to get noticed.

    However, there are those who consider Hopkins a great NFL prospect. If he can show off in the broad jump and bench press, a team is going to give him a chance.

OT Donald Hawkins

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    Is Donald Hawkins powerful enough to play at the next level?
    Is Donald Hawkins powerful enough to play at the next level?Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

    An All-Big 12 tackle in 2013, Donald Hawkins could sneak in as a late-round selection with a strong showing at Texas' pro day.

    A JUCO transfer, Hawkins started all but one game over the past two seasons for the Longhorns. He helped the team surrender just 16 sacks on the year, good for No. 17 in the FBS, and played solid football from the moment he stepped on campus.

    Hawkins' issue is that he is not long enough to play tackle and not big enough to play guard. It's not that he's not athletic, he just hasn't been able to stand out amongst his peers at any stage in the process. But if he can show off some power, a position change may be the best way for him to get drafted.

OG Mason Walters

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    Scouts will be paying close attention to Mason Walters' footwork.
    Scouts will be paying close attention to Mason Walters' footwork.Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

    Standing 6'6" and 320 pounds, Mason Walters certainly has the size to play guard in the NFL. It's the other aspects of his game that have teams turning their nose up at him.

    Like fellow guard Trey Hopkins, Walters' presence on the Longhorns offensive line has been like clockwork. After redshirting, he started every single game at right guard from 2010 to 2013, earning two honorable mentions for the All-Big 12 team.

    As big as he is, Walters can lumber and has struggled to stick with his blocks. Without improved short-area quickness, he will be lucky to get signed as a free agent.

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