The week comes to an end, but for Boston College, BYU, Michigan, Navy, South Dakota State, Southern Mississippi, and Virginia Tech the most important day of some young lives are about to change. It’s Pro Day time for all these schools and some serious players are going to be on display. The notable teams with possible first rounders are BYU, Michigan and Virginia Tech, however today is the day for every to put their stock on the rise.
We begin with the obvious choice with Brigham Young University, better known as BYU, home to a very important piece in the 2021 Quarterback class.
The Wilson Show
The BYU Pro Day, better known it seems as the Zach Wilson Classic, began with a small surprise. Zach Wilson did not complete any drills outside of his throwing session. This was reportedly due to a tight Hamstring, however this did not hamper him at all in his throwing drills. He measured in at 6ft 2 and weighed in at 214lbs.
So, the throwing drills, because this is what we are all here for. He looked calm and like he was having fun the whole time, natural in his ability. He throws across his body as well as anybody in the league, something no one will teach you. He changes the pass velocity for the throw he is making, putting touch on the ball to make sure the receiver has the best chance to make the play. He makes every throw put in front of him, the short passes, the deep balls and the throws on the run. While he is making all the throws, he can make plays with his legs too, with 10 rushing Touchdowns last year to show this.
He is the consummate professional, he works harder than anyone in learning the position and is always switched on. He sees coverage as if it is in slow motion and he goes through the reads to find the most optimum pass to make. He has impossibly quick hands, this means he gets the ball out with incredible speed. He also has what many are calling his ‘Wild Throws’ these are the passes that no one else can make, and we saw this on display with my throw of the day.
Throw of the day – Zach Wilson Collected the ball, rolled to his left and launched a perfect pass on the run, right on the money into the receiver’s hands, without question the hardest throw anyone has made yet in the Pro Days so far.
Wilson treated today like an audition, which is absolutely what it is, but it was an audition that he was ready for. Working with the receiver’s for weeks, Wilson showed he could make all the throws and he did it with a smile on his face. Zach Wilson is the real deal, with some even comparing him to the last Quarterback drafted out of BYU in the first round, well Supplemental first round. That player was Steve Young, that’s right, Hall of Famer Steve Young, and the comparisons are something Wilson will run with.
Make no mistake here, Zach Wilson, despite the ‘lower level’ of competition he faced in college is the BEST Quarterback in this draft.
Notable Highlights from BYU
For most the day began, and ended with Zach Wilson however there some highlights elsewhere, especially for BYU Offensive Tackle Brady Christensen. He thanked Wilson for bringing the eyes to town, but with the world watching he posted a 4.89-second 40 yard dash, he broke the schools Offensive Lineman broad jump record by 3 inches, setting the new bar at 10ft 4 and he managed 30 reps on the bench press. He may have been the highest riser in a class of linemen without many stars.
Both Chris Wilcox and Micah Simon ran under 4.40 seconds for their 40 times at the Pro Day, with Wilcox running a 4.37 and a 4.31 and Simon running a 4.34. With speed like that expect both players to have their name called in the later rounds of the NFL draft.
Finally, a somewhat low light of the day was the unfortunate situation that befell Troy Warner, brother of NFL Linebacker Fred Warner. A potentially significant Pectoral injury occurred during the beach press, making his slim chance of being drafted almost none existent.
Moving across to Michigan and two potential first round picks, Kwity Paye and Jalen Mayfield, the stage was set for them to try to become the names topping the lists on either side of the trenches when draft day rolls around. Both players had an opportunity to really stake their case to hear their name called on day 1 and what better chance to impress than at your teams pro day.
Pro day, Paye day
Kwity Paye is easily into the top 5 of most peoples Defensive Ends, with the majority of Mock Drafts calling his name within the top 20. This is something that I think is attributed to his versatility which showed in the shortened Michigan season. Paye played all over the front for them and while he does project as a Defensive End, his ability to play across that line will get him on the field from day 1. He is a relentless pass rusher, who displays a very strong motor and an innate ability to get into the back field and make plays.
He measured at 6ft 2½ and 261lbs and ran the 40 in a respectable 4.52 seconds. His bench press yielded 36 reps which impressed and showed off a little bit of power in a man looking at a highly productive career in the NFL. He helped his draft stock by showing that the tape matches the measurables, whoever looks to Paye in April, will reap the rewards come September.
Mayfield Maybe Not
The other name on the lips of many of the scouts down in Michigan was that of Jalen Mayfield. He is a big Offensive Linemen, who is projected to go within the first two rounds in April, however from the tape, this feels a little too early. Mayfield has boosted his stock somewhat with the knowledge that teams see him as a player who can play either Tackle position, with even a possible move to Guard in his future. Thing is, I think there are better prospects out there who will be available after he has gone.
Measuring in at 6ft 5 and 326lbs, he is an excellent size for an Offensive Lineman, however he did not bench, so his power was not on display for the masses to witness. The most disappointing part of the day came in his 40 where he ran a 5.31. Now for a Lineman this is not overly slow, but with other posting significantly quicker times it becomes all the more noticeable.
Notable Highlights from Michigan
Only really one highlight, especially as Michigan do not open their doors to the media on Pro Day. Cornerback Ambry Thomas showed off his pace with a 4.37 second 40-yard dash.
The third hyped Pro Day of the day came to us from Virginia Tech, and like Michigan, the team had two potential first rounders with Offensive Tackle Christian Darrisaw and Cornerback Caleb Farley. Both players should come off the board in round 1, however how high they are picked is down to them and how much they can impress the teams in attendance. Darrisaw and Farley want to be the first player at their position off the board, and this Pro Day could help them do this.
Farley Fairly Quiet
One of the top Cornerback prospects in draft did not participate in his pro day, as he underwent a microdiscectomy to address a small back ailment. Farley should be back by training camp, and this should not stop him going fairly early in the first round, however crucially without anything to watch at a Pro Day, his positional rivals may leapfrog him if they turn out.
Darrisaw showing his worth
The Pro Day at Virginia Tech had some serious highlights, however Darrisaw only completed the positional drills, therefore the hype around the measurables was not there for him. He completed positional drills which we knew he could do under the close eye of the Offensive Line coaches. Darrisaw will go in the first round and is looking like he is the 3rd best Lineman in the draft, but I cannot help but wonder if a good 40 time would have pushed him higher.
Notable Highlights from Virginia Tech
Divine Deablo, who owns the best name in the draft was a highlight for his measurables, coming in at 6ft 3 and 226lbs. He is a very large safety, who may end up transitioning to a more versatile player wherever he goes in April.
The game was truly changed by a wonderful Pro Day for Zach Wilson, he has all but cemented as the number 2 Quarterback in this years draft, and he is the real deal, you heard it here first!
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