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#pounditSunday, February 25, 2024

15 NFL prospects with most to gain at Pro Days

The 2018 NFL Combine in Indianapolis has officially come and gone, and draft boards have been substantially shaken up due to the overall results. But that doesn’t necessarily mean anything is set in stone. Professional scouts will have one more opportunity to put a watchful eye on NFL Draft prospects.

Already underway, college Pro Days will provide one final opportunity for draft hopefuls to put on a display, improve their stock, and prove to the NFL decision-makers that they have what it takes to succeed at the next level.

Here’s a look at 15 NFL prospects with the most to gain at their respective Pro Days.

15. Durham Smythe, TE, Notre Dame

At 6-foot-5, 253 pounds and with big hands, Durham Smythe fits the bill of a talented and dominant tight end. Unfortunately, Smythe’s lack of college production (24 catches for 356 yards and five touchdowns total the last two seasons) meant he needed to put up big numbers during athleticism testing at the NFL Combine. That did not happen and, instead, Smythe ranked near the bottom of an otherwise talented tight end class, especially from a receiving standpoint. If Smythe wishes to become a more highly-touted tight end entering the NFL Draft, he’ll need to put up better athletic numbers at Notre Dame’s March 22 Pro Day.

14. Tim Settle, DT, Virginia Tech

Tim Settle had one of the worst defensive performances at this year’s NFL Combine, posting a dismal 5.37 40-yard dash and a 20-yard shuttle of 4.83 seconds. He added an 8-foot broad jump and a 20-yard shuttle of 4.83 seconds, which were also sub-par for a talent considered among the top five at his position. That lack of athleticism and speed is certainly concerning for NFL scouts, but Settle will have an opportunity to improve his stock during Virginia Tech’s March 14 Pro Day.

13. Luke Falk, QB, Washington State

Luke Falk had hoped to propel himself into the quarterback conversation and narrow the gap between him and the other top prospects at the position during the NFL Combine, but that did not come to fruition. He was extremely erratic and inaccurate with his throws, and did not put up any notable measurables. And while his college film should be impressive enough for most scouts, there’s a lingering concern about his ability to transition into an NFL offense from the “Air Raid” offense that’s run at Washington State. Falk will have an opportunity to perform for scouts later in March at Utah State’s Pro Day.

12. Mark Walton, RB, Miami

Most running backs performed well at the NFL Combine and improved their draft stock. Mark Walton was one of the few who did not. He posted a slower-than-expected 40-yard dash (4.60) and was average at best during positional drills. Of course, Walton is working his way back from a serious ankle injury, so his skills may have been suffocated a bit as a result. The good news is that the Miami running back will have another opportunity to improve his worth to scouts during the team’s Pro Day on March 28.

11. Jordan Lasley, WR, UCLA

Jordan Lasley was pushing towards a top-40 selection entering the NFL Combine, but things went rapidly downhill in Indianapolis. Not only did Lasley post a 4.50 40-yard dash, which was slower than anticipated, but he also suffered from a case of the “dropsies” during positional drills. That was a concern scouts had with Lasley based on his film, so having the same issue in-person undoubtedly did some damage to his draft stock. When UCLA holds their Pro Day on March 15, Lasley will have the benefit of catching passes from his teammates and running drills with his coaches. If he can show the scouts some more consistency and some more speed, he may be able to salvage that top 40 draft stock.

10. Ronald Jones II, RB, USC

With Saquon Barkley stealing the show with a remarkable performance at the NFL Combine, Ronald Jones II and other running backs needed to step up in a big way. Unfortunately for Jones, he tweaked a hamstring during the 40-yard dash, ultimately hurting his time and forcing him to sit out of positional drills. The injury won’t hurt his NFL Draft stock to any great degree, but it hindered his ability to climb the boards of most teams. Assuming he heals up in time, Jones will need to perform well at his March 21 Pro Day in order to begin climbing back up draft boards.

9. Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan

Unfortunately for Maurice Hurst, an NFL Combine physical revealed a potentially serious heart condition that forced him to withdraw from drills. And while it may ultimately turn out to be minor — Hurst believes re-checks will determine exactly that — it prevented him from being able to showcase his athleticism for NFL scouts. If the re-checks come back clean and Hurst is given the green light, the Michigan Pro Day on March 21 will be his final opportunity to prove he’s worth an early-round investment.

8. Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa

Josh Jackson entered the NFL Combine as a projected top 10 pick and was even battling to become the No. 1 secondary prospect in the draft, but that hype fell flat in Indianapolis. Not only did Jackson post a slower-than-expected 40-yard dash time (4.56), but he also struggled in positional drills. He looked raw in his backpedal, appeared stiff in his movements and wasn’t fluid with his turns. While most emphasis will be put on Jackson’s game film, he’ll still need to perform well and improve his numbers at Iowa’s March 25 Pro Day in order to solidify himself as a top 10 pick.

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