South Carolina Football: 3 Players with the Most to Prove at Pro Day
Not every former South Carolina Gamecocks can look as smooth and talented as Jadeveon Clowney did at the NFL Combine. But there is still time for the rest of the NFL hopefuls from the University of South Carolina to show off their skills during South Carolina's Pro Day.
Pro Day gives these kids an opportunity to showcase their talent in a familiar environment around their former teammates. Scouts will not be light on any of these players as all outside of Clowney have more work to get done.
Every NFL hopeful has to prove a lot at their Pro Day, and even Clowney will have to prove something by sustaining his high level of skill testing in drills. But some have more to prove than others.
Here are the three players with the most to prove at South Carolina's Pro Day.
I love the way Connor Shaw plays. Though the NFL is skeptical.
Shaw has the speed that makes NFL scouts happy because he can elude defensive players with fairly good breakaway speed. He ran the fastest unofficial 40-yard dash and third in the official times out of all NFL quarterbacks at the combine, which is a pretty impressive feat.
From an athletic standpoint, Shaw is top notch among this year's draft class of quarterbacks. He can jump, run and has good acceleration to go with a good frame.
However, he will need to show NFL scouts that he has the arm strength and accuracy to make it at the next level. He also needs to show vision and decision-making.
No one is asking Shaw to start right away. If anything, he will develop into a solid backup quarterback. With his ability to win games and be a real team leader, a coach would love to have Shaw's presence if he can back it up with the quarterback skills necessary at the next level.
Shaw had a fantastic combine and is now on the radar as a viable late-round pick, especially for contender teams with a mobile style quarterback like Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks.
Shaw can secure that a team picks him in the draft if he can show consistency and the ability to be developed at South Carolina's Pro Day.
NFL scouts are loving Victor Hampton's strong body and good size for the cornerback position. In fact, they are liking his size and strength so much that some see him translating into a better safety than a cornerback, which is also a little alarming for Hampton.
Hampton is one of the upper-tier players in the draft class of cornerbacks. He is extremely physical and has the aggressive style of play necessary at the next level.
Sure, the versatility of being wanted as a cornerback or safety combination is a major perk, but it can also be a downfall. Hampton will have to show safety-like capabilities at South Carolina's Pro Day. And that means speed, more speed.
But, more importantly, Hampton needs to interview well and show that his character has changed.
Hampton had some issues in the past with anger, and his off-field character has come into question and that is a big red flag for a lot of NFL teams. Hampton can brush aside all of those concerns by either playing so well that scouts brush over the character issues or Hampton can address those issues and questions straight on and silence the people who doubt his character by showing a new-found maturity.
Either way, Hampton still has more to prove despite positioning himself well for the draft.
Kelcy Quarles is one of those types of players who is in a state of limbo after the NFL Combine. He wasn't good, but he also wasn't bad. Though, there are NFL scouts questioning whether he should be in college still to benefit from another year of playing in the tough SEC.
He's pretty strong and has good size for an interior lineman, so that isn't in question. Quarles is also pretty good out of his stance and has a good burst. So what gives?
Why does he still have to prove more?
Despite being decent at the combine, NFL scouts want more from Quarles. There is a looming idea that Quarles was the direct beneficiary from Clowney's presence on the defensive line. And Quarles needs to shake that idea really quickly if he doesn't want his draft stock to fall.
At South Carolina's Pro Day, Quarles needs to come out there hungry and explosive. And he also needs to show that he has the stamina to sustain a good level of play.
Quarles' Pro Day will be all about proving stamina, speed and explosiveness. However, he needs to show independence that he can make it in the NFL without needing someone to piggy back off of.
It's a difficult situation for an incoming player to be in. Quarles needs to come up big at South Carolina's Pro Day to prove to NFL scouts that he deserves a fairly high draft pick and the chance to play in the NFL.