Breaking down the QB Pro Days
Over the past week and a half we’ve seen a lot of different performances from former college quarterbacks that are hopefuls to be chosen within the first few rounds of the NFL Draft. Teddy Bridgewater’s performance was not what most scouts and coaches thought it would be, while Derek Carr’s performance was exceedingly better than expected. Which quarterbacks shined and what should we expect to see from Johnny Manziel on Thursday? We break it down here.
The former Louisville QB, Bridgewater, threw for 3,970 yards, 31 TDs and 4 INTs during the 2013 season and chose not to throw at the NFL Combine last month.
He told NFL Total Access that, “Basically my agent and I made a decision that we wanted to wait until the Pro Day, where I would be comfortable throwing in an environment I can control.”
During his Pro Day, Bridgewater didn’t seem to have as much control as he would have liked, and some NFL scouts were disappointed with his performance. Concerns about Bridgewater include his arm strength and his small build. Despite the critics, Bridgewater told NFL Draft Analyst Mike Mayock that he still felt he had a great day and good performance.
Former Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron is another signal-caller that is expected to be an early pick. McCarron has expressed in the past that he believes he is underrated when it comes to the draft and that he is a better quarterback than people think. He finished the 2013 season with 3,063 passing yards, 28 TDs and seven INTs.
When asked if he feels like he’s the best quarterback in the draft by a reporter after his workout, he responded with, “Why not? The rest of those guys, they feel like they’re the best. That’s the mind set you have to carry.”
In an article written for College Football 24/7 by Chase Goodbread, McCarron is quoted saying he felt very positive about his performance on Pro Day. He responded when it comes to arm strength, "I've been hearing everything about arm strength and deep outs and comebacks. I feel like I should silence all that. I threw it deep early in the workout and I threw it deep late. I felt like it was a real good day."
Former Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr had an exceptional performance on his Pro Day, despite being in the emergency room the night before with flu-like symptoms. Carr threw for 5,082 yards, 50 TDs and eight INTs in the 2013 season.
Carr talked with Paul Burmeister from the NFL Network to discuss his Pro Day performance, and his sickness didn’t stop him from impressing many scouts and outshining both UCF QB Blake Bortles and Bridgewater.
Carr threw 46 complete passes in a row, and when asked at what point did he know that he was having a good day, he responded to Burmeister, “It was right about that 10th throw in, you know you throw the hitches, you throw the slants and now you’re starting to throw the timing routes, the deep outs, the skinny posts, you know, trying to show the arm off a little bit. Once we hit those it’s kind of like the ball is rolling.”
Carr also told Burmeister he wants to go to a team where they really want him.
“I want to go somewhere where they fall in love. You go somewhere that you’re loved; it’s a comfortable environment. Let’s get better- let’s win championships.”
The Raiders sent out head coach Dennis Allen, quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo, general manager Reggie McKenzie and offensive coordinator Greg Olson to watch Carr’s Pro Day. Oakland owns the fifth pick in the upcoming draft.
Former University of Central Florida quarterback, Blake Bortles, is one of a few popular prospects for the Texans, with Bill O’Brien also attending his Pro Day performance. Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley, Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer and Buccaneers head coach Lovie Smith were also in attendance. Bortles threw for 3,581 yards, 25 TDs and nine INTs in the 2013 season.
There were mixed opinions on how he fared during his Pro Day. Some scouts reported that he seemed tired towards the end and the wide receivers had to help him out with the passes that were off the mark. Despite some small mishaps and a few overthrows on deep passes, his throws were overall extremely fast and mostly accurate.
Bortles told Tim Ritter from the Associated Press that he thought it went well, he did everything he wanted to do and that it was a great experience.
When asked by Ritter about what it feels like to being another step closer to achieving his dreams, he responded with, "It's all very surreal. In my mind, it hasn't really hit me. I'm still in my mind just a UCF football player walking around, not involved with football practice anymore. That's who I am in my mindset, and I'm trying to capture my NFL dream now. It's awesome."
"I don't care how many catches or drops or anything like that, I see a guy that clearly has raw physical tools present and is progressing towards a more finished product than what I saw from Bridgewater earlier this week,” said ESPN Draft Analyst Todd McShay in Ritter’s article, “If I'm absolutely taking a quarterback, I'm taking Blake Bortles."
After submitting an impressive performance at the Combine, former Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas had a lot to show at his Pro Day. He completed 56 of 59 passes, and among those present were Eagles head coach Chip Kelly, 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh and Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg. Thomas threw for 2,907 yards, 16 TDs and 13 INTs last season and has been compared to Cam Newton when it comes to arm strength. However, he has a career completion percentage of 55.5, which makes some scouts weary of inconsistency and inaccuracy.
O’Brien and Jim Harbaugh were also in attendance for former Eastern Illinois QB Jimmy Garoppolo’s Pro Day on Northwestern’s campus. Harbaugh is said to be very interested in drafting the 6-foot-2 player from EU.
Garoppolo threw for 5,050 yards, 53 TDs and nine INTs last season and told reporters after his Pro Day that he had a great time throwing the ball around with Harbaugh. He had 36 throws during his Pro Day and put all short and intermediate throws on target. The deeper passes weren’t as good, but still didn’t disappoint the scouts and overall he played very well.
When asked by CSN Chicago reporters after the workout how he feels about being a possible first-round pick in the draft, Garoppolo responded, “It’s cool to hear that. My brother is getting more of a kick out of it than I am. I try not to listen too much to that stuff. They fill me in. But it’s kind of a distraction. He’s not going to be the one picking me. I try not to think about it too much.”
David Fales, former San Jose State QB, was a surprisingly impressive prospect when he threw 52 passes and only missed one during his Pro Day performance at SJS. It was only ironic that Fales had his Pro Day the same date as Derek Carr’s, and led SJS to beat Fresno State back in November ending Fresno State’s undefeated season.
Fales’ arm strength is worth questioning to potential scouts, but he has good ball placement and is very accurate when passing. He threw for 4,189 yards, 33 TDs and 13 INTs in the 2013 season. His speed was extremely notable on his Pro Day and we might be calling David Fales the underdog in the near future if he keeps improving as a quarterback.
Jessica Reilly is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism and minoring in business. To contact her, email email@example.com.
About the Contributors
Senior / Broadcasting Journalism
Jessica has completed three internships with radio stations throughout the State College area and a fourth internship in Center City Philadelphia. She is a member of the ComRadio sports department and has developed a passion for radio and promotions throughout her college career. Jessica hopes to work on air and in the promotions department for a broadcasting company after her graduation in May 2015.