In recent years, especially in light of the pandemic-ridden offseasons, NFL Draft Prospects have had the opportunity to show off their talents at program-specific Pro Days. And, in most, instances these Pro Days serve as the final step in the NFL Draft Process. That is no different for the Miami Hurricanes 2022 NFL hopefuls who will reach their final official benchmark of the draft process on Wednesday (*reported date).
The intimate Pro Day experience should give the eleven draft-eligible players the most exposure to media, scouts, coaches, and GMs prior to the NFL Draft at the end of April. To that end, while only four Hurricanes were invited to the NFL Combine in Indianapolis earlier this month, it is anticipated that D’Eriq King, Bubba Bolden, Charleston Rambo, Jonathan Ford, Mike Harley Jr., Cam’Ron Harris, Jarrid Williams, Deandre Johnson, Zach McCloud, Amari Carter, and Navaughn Donaldson will try to make the most of this opportunity. Nine of these guys have had some NFL scout exposure by way of the Senior Showcases/Bowl Games.
In past years, the pro days on college campuses served as one portion of the multifactorial draft process. However, with seven of the Canes’ prospects not having the opportunity to participate in the Combine, the pro day serves as a one-stop shop for combine drills, face-to-face interviews/networking, and a personalized platform for NFL evaluators to test prospects with individualized workouts.
NFL DRAFT PROCESS SCHEDULE:
February - Senior Showcases: Complete - (East-West Shrine Bowl, NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, Hula Bowl, and CGS Bowl)
March 1-7 - NFL Combine, Indianapolis: Complete - Charleston Rambo, D’Eriq King, Bubba Bolden, Jonathan Ford invited
March 30 - Miami Pro Day
April 27: Deadline to time, test, and interview draft-eligible players
April 28-30 - NFL Draft, Las Vegas
To make matters even more magnified, the NFL’s Annual League Meeting took place at the Breakers in Palm Beach from March 27-30, where all 32 NFL Head Coaches, GMs, and other personnel meet to discuss the state of the league. Thus, many big names involved in the draft process may take advantage of the opportunity to hang out in Miami at the end of the League Meeting. For instance, at the 2021 Canes Pro Day, scouts from all 32 NFL teams were in attendance at Greentree, including Patriots HC Bill Belichick, Giants HC, Joe Judge, Dolphins HC, Brian Flores, Titans GM, Jon Robinson, Cardinals GM, Steve Keim, and Vikings GM, Rick Spielman. For what it’s worth, Alabama also has its Pro Day on March 30th, as well as Florida International (before you laugh, they have a top tier running back prospect that teams may be interested in - D’Vonte Price).
2022 NFL Draft Update: Miami Hurricanes Draft Combine Coverage and Recap— StateOfTheU.com (@TheStateOfTheU) March 7, 2022
D’Eriq King, Charleston Rambo, Bubba Bolden, and Jonathan Ford Represent Miami in Indianapolis. All the Details on their Combine Experience. https://t.co/yVXYZea1eR pic.twitter.com/bIKt6R8fcV
So how does one value a Pro Day Workout and What Should Viewers Look For?
The exact answer to this question will drastically differ depending on the position, as well as the individual’s strengths and weaknesses at the position. In particular, the workouts and focus on certain drills will greatly differ for D’Eriq King, who is expected to try out for both QB and WR (but has been recovering from a shoulder injury), compared to Charleston Rambo and Mike Harley Jr., compared to lineman on both sides of the ball like Jarrid Williams, Deandre Johnson, Jonathan Ford, and Navaughn Donaldson, and then Bubba Bolden, Amari Carter, and Zach McCloud, while it is unclear how limited Cam’Ron Harris’ involvement will be as he continues to bounce back from injury. Even more, each players’ Pro Day regimen tomorrow may vary as scouts seek to examine each athletes’ strengths and weaknesses.
2022 NFL Draft Update: East-West Shrine, NFLPA, and Hula Bowl Recap and Combine/Pro Day Preview— StateOfTheU.com (@TheStateOfTheU) February 21, 2022
Rambo Continues to Impress in the Draft Process While Others Hope to Boost their Draft Stock. Details on the 10 Declarants‘ Journey to Date.#Miami #NFLDraft
When accounting for how a prospect will pan out at the next level, the specific pro day workouts do not necessarily provide a foolproof mechanism of the college player’s success. For example, the 40-yard dash is largely an overrated metric as players are almost never running in a straight line for 40 yards undeterred.
To that end, a word of caution when reviewing Pro Day results and potential inconsistencies: Similar to standardized tests being used as a barometer for earning school admission and/or professional licenses, the Pro Day workouts/combines are a necessary evil in order to evaluate talent, athleticism, and the like. Through these drills, evaluators can fill in gaps and script areas that do not necessarily show up on game film (i.e. bench press, vertical jump, broad jump, shuttle run, 3-cone, as well as size measurements). Also, scouts and coaches could force the players to workout in a way to expose potentials areas the player struggle in during game tape. That is, in the position drills, a coach may request a pass catcher run a certain route a few times if that player appears to struggle with it during live action. Scouts essentially want to make sure the traits match the tape.
So, even though the pro day results are not a perfect science and are in fact like apples to oranges when compared to game film, there is immense value that will come out of Miami’s testing. Position drills for those who did not get to go to the Combine will be integral, as well as the in-person interviews.
Will There Be Current Canes and Older Alumnus in Attendance?
In addition, teams have been unique with their Pro Days. For example, Ohio State projected top tier 2023 Draft quarterback, CJ Stroud, to throw passes to the Buckeyes’ litany of receiving prospects, Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson, and Jeremy Ruckert.
We could definitely see Tyler Van Dyke in attendance as he has developed significant rapport with Rambo and Harley. Van Dyke has been garnering serious national recognition and this could provide invaluable exposure to NFL scouts and coaches for him early in the process.
Also, keep in mind that older NFL free agents have the opportunity to try out at the Pro Day in front of the NFL personnel if they so desire.
Regardless, the focus will be on the 11 prospects who are eligible for the 2022 NFL Draft as this will likely be the last, and most important, opportunity to impress NFL evaluators. There is a chance the players opt for additional individualized pro days before the draft in late-April. However, without more information on that front, the Pro Day and upcoming interviews will be the final steps in the process before April’s Draft.