The college pro day circuit kicks off in earnest this week. The carefully scripted workouts take on extra importance in this draft season with no scouting combine and less game tape on many of the prospects.
Kansas started the run of pro days on March 5th, but the calendar fills up quickly over the next few weeks. Here are six colleges (plus a bonus school!) that will hold pro days this week (March 8-12) that should interest the Detroit Lions scouting staff and GM Brad Holmes, himself a longtime collegiate scouting director for the Los Angeles Rams.
Northwestern Wildcats – March 9th
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The Wildcats welcome NFL teams to check out two players who are top-50 overall prospects.
OT Rashawn Slater – The massive tackle opted out of the 2020 season. Slater is best-known for his tour de force performance against Ohio State’s Chase Young in 2019, though he quietly had some struggles reaching wide rushers outside of that game. This is the first chance scouts will have to see Slater do football things in 15 months. He’s a potential top-10 overall pick.
LB Paddy Fisher
DE Earnest Brown
CB Greg Newsome – one of my personal favorite choices for the Lions’ second-round pick–if he’s still on the board–Newsome is capable of playing inside or outside with exceptional technique and polished instincts.
Wisconsin Badgers – March 10th
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The Badgers don’t have any top-end prospects this year. In fact, Wisconsin might not have a player drafted before the middle of Day 3. But it’s still worth knowing the Badger players who could interest the Lions late in the draft or as undrafted free agents.
CB Rachad Wildgoose – A natural slot corner with good size and decent quickness, Wildgoose would rate a lot higher if he didn’t hold so much. He was a penalty machine (12 enforced in his final 15 games). The aggression comes in handy against the run, however. If Wildgoose can learn to trust his technique, he stays in phase and has decent coverage instincts enough to play a lot in the NFL. Big “if” though…
DL Isaiahh Lowdermilk
OL Cole Van Lanen – Much like former Badger — and current Rams starting right tackle — Rob Havenstein, Van Lanen is a picture of function over form. He wins with brawn and jolting power off the snap but he’s also got just enough footwork to not get pigeonholed. His agility numbers and arm length will determine if Van Lanen can stay on the outside or kick into being a right guard.
OL Jon Dietzen
LS Adam Bay
Personnel who check out Wisconsin can travel from Madison to Whitewater to attend the pro day at UW-Whitewater, which has one of the best interior offensive line prospects in this class in Quinn Meinerz. The Senior Bowl standout is a legit Day 2 talent. That’s awfully high for yet another interior lineman in Detroit one year after using a 3rd and a 4th on the guard spot and with 2018 first-rounder Frank Ragnow firmly entrenched at center, but Meinerz is a good one.
Clemson Tigers – March 11th
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Clemson’s primary attraction is Trevor Lawrence, but the presumptive No. 1 overall pick already had his pro day on his own. But the Tigers still have some talent worth watching.
OL Jackson Carman – the left tackle’s profile coming out of Clemson is quite similar to current Lions right tackle Tyrell Crosby when he came out of Oregon. Good power, nice punch, strong hands, good mobility in the run game, major struggles with speed and shorter rushers off the edge. Many project Carman as a guard in the NFL and he’s generally anticipated to be drafted in the 80-120 overall range.
RB Travis Etienne
WR Amari Rodgers – Rodgers worked out last week at his training facility and impressed, but he’ll also be at the Tigers pro day. He’s a definite middle-round prospect for Lions fans to know as a slot receiver. Rodgers thrived in the quick-hit passing game and screens.
TE J.C. Chalk
WR Cornell Powell – A Day 3 sleeper who has a limited body of work but shined when given a real opportunity to show what he could do as a senior. The pro day should help his stock.
Arkansas Razorbacks – March 11th
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The Razorbacks have a few draft-worthy talents to check out on Wednesday.
CB Jerry Jacobs
RB Rakeem Boyd – A “Last Chance U.” alum and transfer from Texas A&M, Boyd has a lot of ability but hasn’t always put it all together on or off the field. An impressive showing for the powerfully-built speedster could answer some questions and get his name called in April.
DT Xavier Kelly
QB Feleipe Franks – The lanky transfer from Florida is a developmental project with a lot of impressive traits and some truly fun game film. Fun doesn’t always translate to productive or smart, but the thrill ride is worth investigating.
DT Jonathan Marshall – A personal favorite of mine as a potential priority undrafted free agent nose tackle for the Lions. He could put on a show in the bench press drill.
North Dakota State Bison – March 12th
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The Bison have two players who will be drafted in the first two rounds. One of them is of particular interest for Detroit…
QB Trey Lance – One of the top quarterback prospects in the draft, Lance has some gravity as a potential selection for the Lions as the No. 7 overall pick. Accurate, athletic and smart, all eyes will be on his ball velocity and touch on his throws on Friday.
OT Dillon Radunz – The Bison standout left tackle is widely regarded as a top-50 prospect. A good athlete with movement skills in space, his strength and weight are what to look for during the pro day.
Oklahoma Sooners – March 12th
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The Sooners are loaded with intriguing prospects for Friday’s pro day in Norman.
OL Creed Humphrey
RB Rhamondre Stevenson – Stevenson is a load at 240-something pounds, and his height and weight are part of the pro day intrigue. He’s got nice feet and good balance, making him a middle-round candidate to be the thunder to D’Andre Swift’s lightning in the Detroit backfield.
EDGE Ronnie Perkins – Like Stevenson, he missed five games in 2020 due to a suspension for a failed drug test. Also like Stevenson, Perkins showed some legit NFL impact ability when he was on the field. He nicely fits the role Trey Hendrickson played in the Saints defense under new Lions coordinator Aaron Glenn, a heavy-handed pass-rush specialist with great upfield burst and finishing power.
CB Tre Norwood
OT Adrian Ealy