Biggest Winners and Losers from Pro Day Workouts so Far
We're in the thick of pro-day season, and with a number of elite prospects having completed theirs, it's time to declare winners and losers thus far from the process.
Compared to the scouting combine, where players compete alongside one another and are held firmly under the microscope, the pro-day workout provides a comfortable setting designed to maximize a player's attributes and raise his draft stock.
That fact makes it all the more stunning when a player doesn't put forth an optimal performance at a pro-day workout.
The winners on this list were chosen because they either answered questions raised of them or improved their stock with an excellent workout.
The losers were chosen because they either performed poorly and potentially hurt their stock or were unable to compete because of injury.
Here are the biggest winners and losers from pro-day workouts thus far.
Winners: Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles and Derek Carr
Out of the consensus top-four quarterbacks in May's draft, three had stellar pro-day workouts: UCF's Blake Bortles, Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel and Fresno State's Derek Carr (more on Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater in the next slide).
Especially for quarterbacks, pro-day workouts are constructed in a way to make the player feel as comfortable as possible, so in many ways, it's not breaking news when an elite prospect draws rave reviews for his performance. But with that said, there's no doubt that Bortles, Manziel and Carr all emerged as winners from the process.
ESPN.com's Todd McShay also gushed over Bortles, and lavished him with praise, saying:
I don't care how many catches or drops or anything like that, I see a guy that clearly has raw physical tools present and is progressing towards a more finished product than what I saw from Bridgewater earlier this week. If I'm absolutely taking a quarterback, I'm taking Blake Bortles.
Manziel also received a ton of praise for his pro-day workout, which was a spectacle unto itself. His decision to throw wearing a helmet and pads was classic. All that was missing was a live Drake concert while he threw darts to receiver Mike Evans.
NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah was impressed with Manziel, who definitely quieted his critics with his performance.
And Carr also sparkled. According to a scout at the pro day (via CBSSports.com's Rob Rang), he "didn't have a bad throw" and completed 56 of 63 passes.
Loser: Teddy Bridgewater
It's quite possible that Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater had the worst pro-day workout in the history of pro-day workouts.
And no, that isn't an exaggeration.
Quarterbacks are supposed to come out smelling like roses after their pro day, and instead, Bridgewater carried the scent of an especially agitated skunk.
NFL.com's Mike Mayock (via NFL.com's Mike Huguenin) called Bridgewater's effort "average at best" and said he saw "a lot of flutters, a lot of inaccuracy."
ESPN's Ron Jaworski had this to say of Bridgewater's workout, via ESPN.com's Michael DiRocco:
.. he struggled with accuracy, he struggled with velocity on the deep throw and the sideline throws. And the one thing I thought was going to be his trademark was the accuracy -- and he struggled in areas. I think clearly, in this pro day workout, Teddy Bridgewater took a step backwards.
It's important to note that Bridgewater's pro day isn't the be-all, end-all of his evaluation. There are many, including Bleacher Report's own Michael Schottey and Matt Miller, that believe he's still the best quarterback in the draft.
But there's no doubt that Bridgewater's dismal effort makes him a loser from the pro-day process.
Winner: Khalil Mack
University of Buffalo pass-rushing demon Khalil Mack appears to be chiseled from granite, standing 6'3" and weighing 251 pounds.
And at his pro-day workout, he married his impressive physical stature with a lighting-fast 40-yard dash time that had scouts drooling.
Per John Kyk of the Toronto Sun, Mack ran the 40-yard dash in an unofficial 4.54 seconds, which is over a tenth of a second faster than his combine run of 4.65 seconds. ESPN's Adam Schefter tweeted that a longtime NFL scout told him he clocked Mack at a preposterous 4.45 seconds.
Mack was already a surefire first-round pick, but his pro-day workout could have pushed him up into the top five. He's currently the fifth-ranked player on the most recent big board of Bleacher Report's Matt Miller.
For more on why Mack emerged a winner from his pro day, check out this piece from Bleacher Report's Zach Kruse.
Loser: Eric Ebron
North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron didn't exactly put on a show at his pro-day workout.
The draft's best tight end showed off the athleticism that will make him a first-round pick this May, but also raised flags with a series of dropped passes.
According to Rotoworld's Josh Norris, Ebron had a drop rate of 11.4 percent in 2013, making his inability to haul in every pass even more scrutinized than usual.
CBSSports.com's Dane Brugler wrote that Ebron "needs some seasoning to his game to help with the inconsistency issues."
Despite the substandard pro-day workout, Bleacher Report's Matt Miller perhaps summed it up best with this tweet. While Ebron emerges from the pro-day process as a loser, it likely won't affect his draft status a great deal.
Winner: Mike Evans
While Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel received the lion's share of the attention at the Aggies pro-day workout, it was receiver Mike Evans who might have put forth the finest performance.
Evans solidified his status as the second-best receiver in the draft (behind Clemson's Sammy Watkins), with two teams teams even slotting Evans in ahead of Watkins, per Dane Brugler of CBS Sports.
Manziel might have stolen the show, but Evans was every bit as good, if not better.
Loser: Loucheiz Purifoy
University of Florida cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy decided to leave school after his junior year to enter the NFL draft, a decision that Bleacher Report's Matt Miller called "curious" in his latest scouting notebook.
Miller wrote that Purifoy was timed in the "low 4.6" range on both of his 40-yard dash attempts and that he "struggled in position drills." Miller also noted that Purifoy's stock is "bottoming out."
While the poor 40-yard dash times could be attributed to the inclement weather (CBSSports.com's Rob Rang reported that heavy rain forced the players to run indoors and barefoot), Purifoy needed a better effort after a substandard combine workout.
Winner: Jeremiah Attaochu
Because of a partially torn hamstring, Georgia Tech pass-rushing specialist Jeremiah Attaochu didn't work out at the combine, lending added importance to his pro-day workout.
And Attaochu nailed it.
Per Dane Brugler of CBSSports.com, Attaochu was "impressive" and ran his 40-yard dash in "the late 4.5, early 4.6 range."
Georgia Tech's all-time sack leader needed a positive performance, and he delivered. That makes him an easy winner from the pro-day process.
Loser: Austin Seferian-Jenkins
The University of Washington won't hold its pro-day workout until Wednesday, but we already know that tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins won't participate.
At the scouting combine in February, doctors found a stress fracture in Seferian-Jenkins' foot that hasn't allowed him to work out for NFL teams. After undergoing surgery, he'll miss his pro day, per CBSSports.com's Rob Rang.
While Seferian-Jenkins will be able to eventually showcase his skills for interested suitors, the fact that he hasn't been able to work out certainly doesn't help his stock.
Nick Kostos is a featured NFL columnist for Bleacher Report and an executive producer for SiriusXM's Mad Dog Sports Radio. You can follow him on Twitter here.
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