Pro Day March 14: Arizona State, Oklahoma, Nebraska & More

nfl's picture

Tony Pauline

Draft Analyst Writer

The first of two busy pro-day workouts is getting underway, with Oklahoma on tap today and Oklahoma State going tomorrow. We’ll start off with a few housekeeping notes from yesterday.

Arizona State

The big story out of ASU’s pro day is Kalen Ballage and what some are calling the best pro-day workout they’ve ever witnessed from a running back. Ballage timed as fast as 4.35 in the 40 while a few watches had him in the low-4.4s. He hit 37 inches in the vertical jump, a vast improvement from his mark of 32.5 inches at the combine.

Ballage was sensational during position drills and really stood out catching the ball. He looked explosive in and out of breaks and showed natural hands. The ball carrier met with the Buffalo Bills and Atlanta Falcons and New York Jets running back coach Stump Mitchell.

Throwing the ball to Ballage was former Houston and Texas A&M quarterback Kyle Allen

The signal caller measured 6032 and 209 pounds, timed 4.66 in the 40 and by all accounts threw the ball well.

Nebraska

Offensive lineman Nick Gates stood on his combine numbers but did position drills. He’s being looked at as a right tackle or guard for the next level. Gates met with the Miami Dolphins and Los Angeles Rams after the workout.

Receiver and return specialist De'Mornay Pierson-El touched 37.5 inches in the vertical jump, 10 feet even in the broad jump and timed 4.57 in the 40 and 4.2 in the short shuttle. He spent extensive time with the Chicago Bears, Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers.

Fullback Luke McNitt really impressed scouts. He measured 6003 and 237 pounds, touched 34 inches in the vertical jump and 9-foot-5 in the broad jump and completed 26 reps on the bench. He then timed in the mid-to-high 4.7s in the 40. Besides blocking drills, McNitt really looked good catching the ball.

Wisconsin

There was a large crowd on hand for the Wisconsin pro day, including linebackers coaches from the Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia Eagles, Cincinnati Bengals, Chicago Bears, Tennessee Titans, Tampa Bay Bucs, Denver Broncos and Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals as well as the New York Jets and New York Giants had their defensive backs coaches on hand.

Fullback Austin Ramesh, who many believe should have been invited to the combine, measured in at 234 pounds -- a drop in weight of about 16 pounds. He completed 24 reps on the bench, touched 32 inches in the vertical jump and timed 4.79 in the 40.

Cornerback Nick Nelson stood on his combine 40 but timed 3.89 in the short shuttle and 6.70 in the three-cone.

Linebacker Jack Cichy, who sat on the sidelines in 2017 after injuring a knee in August camp, timed 4.17 in the short shuttle and 6.87 in the three-cone, posted a 33.5-inch vertical jump and looked good in position drills. Teams left the combine believing Cichy could go as early as the fourth round if his knee checks out medically.

I’m told Nick Caserio of the New England Patriots was on hand specifically for Nelson and Cichy.

Safety Natrell Jamerson touched 38 inches in the vertical jump, three inches better than his combine mark. His broad jump of 10-foot-3 was also a three-inch improvement. In drills, Jamerson was described as “awesome” and looked good in every aspect.

Both Jamerson and Nelson had dinner with the Seattle Seahawks.

Tight end Troy Fumagalli sat on the sidelines. Fumagalli told teammates he is suffering with a hernia and expects to be out up to two months.

Oklahoma

Quarterback Baker Mayfield will stand on his combine numbers but threw at OU's pro day.

Who was in Norman for the workout?

I’m told the entire front office of the Denver Broncos, including John Elway, was on hand. Mike Maccagnan of the New York Jets was at the pro day, as was New York Giants offensive coordinator Mike Shula. Shula and the Giants contingent met with Mayfield after the workout.

Los Angeles Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Wisenhunt was at the workout, along with the team's quarterback coach. The Chargers took Mayfield to lunch yesterday and spent extensive time with him.

Mayfield had a solid pro day workout. I thought his three-step, five-step and seven-step drops were good. He was quick setting up and there was not a lot of wasted motion. His downfield passes were dead-on accurate, and the ball showed good speed. I was a little disappointed with his timing, as receivers seemed to be waiting for the pass to arrive. He also seemed to be pressing on his release, and as a result many of the passes came out of his hand wobbly.

All in all, it was a plus day for Mayfield.

The other big story was receiver Jeff Badet, who scorched the track timing 4.27 in the 40. Badet, who looked good all week during Shrine Game practice, not only ran fast but also hit 39.5 inches in the vertical jump, 10-foot-11 in the broad jump and completed 16 reps on the bench. Badet was terrific during pass-catching drills and translated that speed into his routes. Surprisingly he was not asked to field kickoffs or punts, the hidden value in his game.

I’m told when Badet showed up from pro day training in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, back in January, he was fast out of the box, timing 4.31. A combine snub, he has more than a half-dozen official predraft visits, including the Minnesota Vikings.

Next week along with Mayfield, Badet will be working out for the New York Jets.

Richmond

Twenty-six teams were on hand for Richmond's pro day, including quarterback coaches from the Arizona Cardinals (Byron Leftwich), Baltimore Ravens (James Urban), Carolina Panther (Scott Turner), Cincinnati Bengals (Alex Van Pelt), Tampa Bay Bucs (Mike Bajakian) and Washington Redskins (Kevin O'Connell). The New York Giants had executive scout Jeremiah Davis on hand.

By all accounts, Kyle Lauletta, who had a terrific Senior Bowl performance, looked very good despite the cold conditions. The Richmond senior is projected by some as a potential second-day choice. We presently grade Lauletta as a fifth-round selection.

Northern Arizona

More than two dozen teams were on hand for NAU's pro day, and receiver Elijah Marks was the prospect they came to see. 

The speedy Marks measured just under six feet and weighed 185 pounds. His 40 times ranged from the high-4.4s to the low-4.5s. This is in stark contrast to Marks' playing speed, as well as the fact that he was estimated as a high-4.3s athlete coming into the year. Speaking to people with knowledge of the situation, I’m told Marks had been running 4.3s in the lead-up to pro day, but bad weather and a running track which was worse all had a hand in the slower time. We mentioned Marks as our small-school prospect of the week on October 2 of last year.

His other numbers included a 36.5-inch vertical jump, 9-foot-10 broad jump, 4.25 short shuttle and 6.90s three-cone.

Marks, who had dinner with the receivers coach for the Tampa Bay Bucs the night before pro day, is taking official visits to see the Chicago Bears and Kansas City Chiefs. He’s also working out for the Arizona Cardinals next week.

In other NAU news, Emmanuel Butler, the team's other receiver who was stamped as a potential fourth-round prospect before the season, was given an additional year of eligibility after missing most of last season with a shoulder injury.