It's hard to believe that Synjyn Days is getting serious consideration as an NFL RB after being a backup QB in the triple option just a few years ago. Days has worked as hard as anyone, and he's found himself to be an extremely talented ball carrier who could certainly transition to the NFL as a running back.
- Synjyn is in incredible shape. As an NFL scout, it has to be impressive to see how hard he has worked to get his body into the correct form to be able to play running back in the NFL. There are definitely no worries about work ethic or taking hits at the next level here. The guy looks like a legitimate NFL-ready back.
- Days was hoping to run a 4.5 in the 40 but unfortunately was clocked at around 4.6 for both runs. I don't doubt that he can run a 4.5 like he has said. In both runs, it seemed like he wasn't at perfect balance and missed a few strides that threw off his time a little bit. 40 times don't determine everything, but scouts do put a lot of focus on them for skill position players.
- Many people have been lobbying for the Atlanta Falcons to take a look at Days in the draft, and D. Orlando Ledbetter confirmed that the Falcons have spoken to him. He would fit perfectly in the scheme that Kyle Shanahan will run in Atlanta. A Falcons scout was in attendance, and he had to have liked what he saw with Days in a few areas.
- Days did struggle with the three-cone drill. He had to attempt it three different times due to knocking down the second cone in the L-shaped cone drill. He seemed a little fatigued on the drill, and it's not necessarily a big deal as long as his times were fine and he was showing the agility to complete the drill. His first run was the best, but he barely grazed the cone with his inside leg.
- His route running and catching out of the backfield in drills seemed to exceed many's expectations. His routes were crisp, and he caught the passes with extended arms and solid hands. I'm sure it was something many scouts wanted to see due to Days catching very few passes and not running many routes in his college career. Days stated that he really wanted to prove he could be effective in the passing game, and he definitely impressed.
- Draft Stock: It's tough to really say if Days gets drafted. Running backs stocks have become lower and lower in the NFL, and this is a fairly deep draft. It wouldn't be shocking if a team took Days in the last couple of rounds. If he doesn't get drafted, Days will definitely get a chance with a team as an undrafted free agent this offseason.
Zach Laskey is a guy that many seemed to believe wouldn't have a true position in the NFL. Despite that belief, Laskey has gained around 15 pounds of muscle since the season, and he's only improved his quickness and speed. Out of everyone at the GTPD, Laskey seemed to surprise people the most with his performance.
- Laskey's 40 time was very impressive. From what I heard and what I saw with my inaccurate timing, he had the quickest 40 time out of the Tech seniors who ran at 4.5. That's pretty good for a RB that would be considered a power back.
- Zach was also very solid in his shuttle runs and three-cone drill. For a guy with his size, he showed some nice lateral quickness, explosion, and agility in the drills. His three-cone drill also seemed to be the most fluid of anybody who ran it.
- We saw Laskey was pretty reliable during his time at Tech in the passing game, and he showed that during his route drills. He may not be as crisp at route running as Days, but his hands are extremely reliable, and he didn't drop a single pass during the ridiculous amount of routes they ran. Side note: Laskey's hamstring tightened up at the end of route running drills, which made one San Diego Chargers scout realize the former UConn quarterback had thrown more than enough passes and made him stop.
- Don't forget about the chip on Laskey's shoulder. He noted in interviews that he's aware that he's been mostly overlooked as NFL caliber player, and that only fuels his type of playing style with a chip on his shoulder. He's confident he can prove everyone wrong like he has most of his career.
- Draft Stock: It seems unlikely that Laskey will be drafted, but he did improve his chances with his performance at Pro Day. His position of choice is still in the air - he's heard H-Back, fullback, 3rd down back, and slot receiver. I still think he did more than enough to show that he deserves a chance as a UDFA, and he'll get signed on with a team to show what he's made of this preseason. Slot receiver would be an extremely interesting choice for him if he went all in on it.
Quayshawn Nealy has all of the mental tools and talent to play at the next level. It's his size that have many worried if his game can translate to the NFL.
- Nealy ran a 4.6 40 time which exceeded most scouts expectations. He was hoping he could break 4.6, but he was very proud to beat the 4.8 that many had him projected at.
- He ran a lot of defensive back drills with Isaiah Johnson for the Eagles scouts, and he looked very comfortable. While it's unlikely that Nealy would move to DB because of the weight he'd have to drop and how much work it would be to transition to that position, it has to be a good sign that Nealy can play OLB and be relied upon to drop back into coverage.
- OLB is definitely where Nealy would make a living in the NFL. His height isn't as big of a deal, while his ability to blitz the QB and drop into coverage makes him a perfect fit as an OLB at the next level.
- Draft Stock: It's again tough to know if Nealy will get drafted. He hasn't been shown as a guy to get drafted in most mocks mainly due to his size and likely transitioning to the outside, but I wouldn't be too shocked to see a team grab him late because of the skill set he can bring. I still think Nealy goes as an UDFA and also gets signed by a team to work for a spot in the preseason. I've always believed Nealy will make it the NFL, and I'll stand by that.
As an All-American, Shaq Mason should be getting looked at as one of the best offensive lineman in the draft, but once again because of the overrated importance of height, many have overlooked Mason as an NFL-caliber OL.
- Mason ran a 4.9 40, which was very good. At his size, Shaq still has very good speed and athleticism.
- He absolutely dominated the OL drills in front of every single scout. Mason was put all by himself to do drills coordinated by a Kansas City Chiefs scout. He repeatedly lifted Tech's strength coach and displayed all of the skills and knowledge needed by an offensive lineman in the NFL. All eyes were on him for awhile, and Shaq nailed it.
- After the drills in front of all scouts, Shaq went off to the side with a Patriots scout and a few others to work on snaps and blocking as a center. It was an extended workout that showed the major interest in him by a few teams. It looks like center will definitely be the potential landing spot for him due to height and length not being as big of a deal and his ability to get low and show his great leverage.
- Draft Stock: I believe that Shaq is as talented as just about any offensive lineman, but his size will knock him down the board. I'm expecting him to go somewhere in the middle rounds and someone to get a huge steal with one of the best in the nation. I'd be absolutely shocked if he goes undrafted.
Isaiah Johnson was considered one of Tech's best prospects for the NFL a couple of years ago before his injury and medical redshirt. He had a solid senior season to get back in that picture as a prototypical SS in the NFL.
- Like Days, Isaiah Johnson is in really good shape. He's been training in Dallas, and he's definitely gained some size to get ready for the next level.
- He ran a mid 4.5 in the 40. It's a pretty good time for someone his size and definitely not a time that a scout would complain about for a safety.
- Johnson was extremely impressive in DB drills. He was out there alone for much of the time and had a very extended workout with most scouts watching and two Eagles scouts coordinating it and watching very closely. They had multiple one-on-one talks with him and tested him out on a number of drills. It was the most any one scout talked to a specific Tech player all day. He stated that they wanted to get an idea of his knowledge at DB and they thought he did really well.
- Draft Stock: I'm leaning towards thinking Johnson gets drafted somewhere between rounds five and seven. He has everything you want in a strong safety, and he had a very strong career at Tech. While nothing in his game exactly pops out to you as extraordinary, he's a guy that could be a nice fit just about anywhere as a defensive back who can do just about anything. Don't be surprised to see the Eagles take him in the sixth round.
Darren Waller never exactly broke out at Tech except for his great final drive in the ACCCG, but his size and potential to be a huge deep threat in the NFL have prompted many teams to show interest in him.
- Waller was smart and didn't participate in any clocked drills at Pro Day. He had a very good performance at the NFL combine and had no need to run again.
- His route running seemed much more polished than I expected out of a guy who didn't have much of a route tree in college. He's definitely worked on his footwork and his attention to detail on routes.
- He made it a priority to flash his hands and extend his arms when catching the ball. That proves as much as possible that his hands are a plus to his game and not a liability. His deep routes were also good, and he made some nice over-the-shoulder grabs.
- Draft Stock: Waller definitely has the most uncertainty for his draft stock. Due to his size and rawness, he could be drafted just about anywhere or even go undrafted. There have been whispers about the Buccaneers (holy tall receivers Tampa Bay) being interested in him in as high as the early rounds, while some experts have said he's an undrafted guy. I think there's no way someone with his potential doesn't get selected, so I'm thinking he's a mid-to-late pick. Either way, Waller will absolutely get a shot with an NFL team next season.
DeAndre Smelter was awesome in 2014 at Tech. He showcased absolutely everything you want in a wide receiver. Unfortunately, a torn ACL made him unavailable for the two most watched games the Jackets played last season and for the NFL combine.
- Smelter had talks with various scouts off to the side during Pro Day. Due to the classiness and professionalism we've seen from him, I'm sure that can only be a plus for his stock.
- He talked about receiving interest from quite a few teams still and credited that to the work he put into the 2014 season and his play that made his tape impressive to NFL scouts. He also stated that he's ahead of schedule on his recovery.
- Draft Stock: I've given a ton of credit to DeAndre Smelter since the beginning of the season. I've even said that he's the best receiver that's played on the Flats since Calvin Johnson. I'm not forgetting about Demariyus Thomas, but I think Smelter was more polished, more explosive, and had more reliable hands while they were playing at Tech. DeAndre hasn't gotten the exposure because of less time playing football and now, of course, the injury. Unfortunately for him, this is considered an extremely deep class of WR's. I still think he may get selected later on in the draft by a team looking for a home run selection at receiver. If not, Smelter will get an opportunity with someone as a UDFA when he's healthy, and they'll get a huge steal.
Returning Players at Pro Day:
Orwin Smith, Robert Godhigh, Jay Finch, and Sean Poole returned to Tech to workout for scouts on Pro Day.
- Smith looked good. He participated in all of the drills and ran routes out of the backfield. He looks like he's cut down on some weight to gain some speed. I wouldn't be surprised to see him get a look with a team in the preseason and to at least make another practice squad this season.
- Godhigh only participated in route running drills. Instead of lining up in the backfield, he spread out wide to run routes with Waller. He struggled early on and dropped quite a few easy passes but warmed up and showed some nice hands and good route running ability as the drills went on. I don't think Godhigh will get a look by an NFL team at this point, but there was a CFL scout there, and I think he'll get another shot to stick on with a team in the CFL. If he can perform well there, he might have a better chance in the NFL.
- Finch long-snapped a little while during the Pro Day, but he didn't seem to have very much attention on him from what I could tell unfortunately. At the same time, he was off to the side for much of the day, so he may have had some work with scouts that I didn't get to see.
- Poole ran the 40 at around 4.9 if that's important to anyone for a punter. Towards the end, he took the field to punt and actually received a lot of attention from a Houston Texans scout. He watched Poole punt 20-30 times and requested different heights and distances while clocking his hang times. Hopefully Poole can get a shot this season to try out for an NFL team.
Paul Johnson stepped to the side during drills and spoke to media for a pretty long time. He mostly talked about how great this class of players was and how much the team would miss them. He spoke in length about how good Zach Laskey looked and how much he's improved. He also had some interesting things to say about the team looking forward.
- Johnson talked about how the momentum going into next year was nice, but the last time the team had a really good year, the following year was pretty bad. He said he's been telling the team that they haven't won a single game yet and that this is an entirely new and separate team and season.
- The team has been participating in morning runs and will begin official spring practice on March 23rd.
- Qua Searcy has been confirmed at A-Back. Brady Swilling has moved from quarterback to B-Back. There were no other confirmed positional changes.
- Johnson confirmed that there will probably be two scholarship-eligible players on the team last year that won't be playing this year, which makes sense with the recruiting numbers. He said one was definitely dismissed, while the other "probably won't be out there." His expressions during the quote made it seem like a fairly big blow to the team, but reports seem to think neither guy was in the two-deep depth chart. Johnson displayed his hilarious sarcasm when the media was trying to get the two names out of him. He confirmed we'd know next Monday.
Well, that's my entirely too long report from Pro Day 2015. Hopefully you have some insight on what to expect from the former Jackets as they aim for the NFL, and who to come make fun of when I'm completely wrong about everything!