Despite the rainy conditions, numerous NFL scouts traveled to Tallahassee, Florida on Tuesday to witness numerous potential first round talents at the Florida State Pro Day. It was one of the more important Pro Days this past week with players like EJ Manuel, Bjoern Werner, Tank Carradine and Xavier Rhodes taking part in drills.
Quarterback EJ Manuel only threw for scouts after a relatively solid NFL Combine. His 4.65 40-yard dash and 4.21 20-yard shuttle were very impressive and he led all quarterbacks in those categories along with the vertical, broad jump and three cone drill.
While throwing, the 6’5″, 237 pound quarterback looked “right on the money” according to Emory Parker from Noledigest.com. The only issues scouts are concerned with was his weight transfer on throws. They see him as very stiff in the pocket, especially on the release of the ball regardless of the throw he needed to make. In addition, Manuel needs to work on his footwork as well before he’ll be a successful passer in the NFL.
Currently, Manuel is rated as Mike Mayock’s second quarterback behind Geno Smith of West Virginia. Manuel does have six private workouts scheduled with NFL teams prior to the draft. The Buffalo Bills have confirmed he will work out for them Monday and he will visit the facility a few weeks later.
Bjoern Werner is another player scouts have had their eye on recently mainly due to his potential versatility. Werner mainly played defensive end at Florida State but showed scouts his athleticism during drills as a linebacker. Dustin Tackett from Tomahawknation stated he thought Werner has improved since the Combine:
“He looked good in linebacker drills. Turns hips well and made some really good catches.”
While Werner stood on his Combine numbers, he can move up NFL draft boards by proving he can play either linebacker or defensive end. This way, he can be targeted by 3-4 and 4-3 teams and could go as high as No. 2 overall to the Jacksonville Jaguars, if they pass on Geno Smith. Even if he doesn’t go second overall, position versatility will lock him into the top 15.
Cornellius “Tank” Carradine would be one of the top draft prospects in 2013 if he didn’t tear his ACL back on November 24. He is unable to perform agility drills for scouts until his April 20 workout date per TomahawkNation.com. The 6’4″, 276 pound defensive end impressed everyone with 32 bench reps during the Pro Day which improves on the 28 he did at the Combine. That ranks as the highest number of bench reps for any defensive lineman this year.
Carradine is ranked as a mid-to-late first round pick but only because of his injury and limited time playing as a junior college transfer in 2011. If one team falls in love with Carradine’s talent, he could go in the top ten due to a defense heavy first round, but not many people see him falling out of the first round.
Lastly, cornerback Xavier Rhodes also stood on his Combine numbers but did participate in the on-field drills. The 6’1″, 210 pound defensive back impresses scouts with his size and athleticism but he needs to work on his technique. Since he is a press corner, he does have issues if a receiver can fight through the press and run downfield. He has all the tools for a top 15 pick though.
Other notes include offensive tackle Menelik Watson who put up 19 bench reps. With offensive lineman, its never good to have less than 20 reps but that could be because Watson has long arms. He is a player that could be selected in the bottom half of the first round, but if he doesn’t, it could very well be attributed to his strength.
Running back Chris Thompson, who suffered an ACL injury in Novemeber, chose not to run, but isn’t far away in his recovery.
Topics: Bjoern Werner, Buffalo Bills, Chris Thompson, EJ Manuel, Florida State, Florida State Pro Day 2013, Jacksonville Jaguars, Menelik Watson, Mike Mayock, NFL Combine, NFL Draft 2013, Tank Carradine, Xavier Rhodes