The NFL Pro Day circuit rolls on, with college prospects getting the chance to show their stuff in front of NFL general managers, head coaches, and scouting departments. With the 2023 NFL Draft just over a month away, players can improve or impair their draft stock with their performances.
We’re covering the latest NFL draft news and rumors, including all pro day news related to Thursday’s action. Be sure to bookmark our NFL Pro Day schedule and check back daily for the most important takeaways.
Bryce Young Meets With Panthers and Raiders Ahead of Alabama Pro Day
Given that Alabama is the premier college football program in the country, it’s no surprise that a large contingent of NFL teams are sending their staffs to Thursday’s Crimson Tide Pro Day. At least a dozen clubs will have their general manager on-site, while 10 organizations plan to send their head coach, according to Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy.
While teams will want to get a look at first-round prospects like edge rusher Will Anderson Jr., safety Brian Branch, and running back Jahmyr Gibbs, most of the focus will undoubtedly be on quarterback Bryce Young, who will throw for the first time after forgoing passing drills at the NFL Scouting Combine.
The 2021 Heisman Trophy winner did not weigh in at his pro day, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL Media. Instead, Young will stand on his weight — 204 pounds — from the Combine.
Young had dinner with the Carolina Panthers, who own the No. 1 overall pick, on Wednesday night, as Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer reported. Panthers owners David and Nicole Tepper, general manager Scott Fitterer, head Frank Reich, assistant general manager Dan Morgan, vice president of football administration Samir Suleiman, and coaches Jim Caldwell, Thomas Brown, and Josh McCown were all in attendance.
Young also met with the Las Vegas Raiders on Thursday, per Garafolo. While the Panthers will have their choice of quarterbacks at No. 1, the Raiders might have to get creative to land a signal-caller. All four of the draft’s top QBs — Young, C.J. Stroud, Anthony Richardson, and Will Levis — could be off the board by the time Las Vegas is on the clock at No. 7, so Josh McDaniels and Co. may have to consider trading up.
Meanwhile, the Seattle Seahawks will meet privately with Young later on Thursday, according to Breer. The Seahawks re-signed Geno Smith to a three-year deal, but they could still choose a quarterback with the fifth overall pick. Whether Young will still be on the board at that point is an open question, but it seems unlikely.
Panthers Haven’t Received Any Calls About No. 1 Pick, Plan to Dine with Will Levis
The Panthers gave up a haul to acquire the draft’s top selection from the Chicago Bears, but reports immediately after that trade suggested Carolina could trade back down if they were comfortable with more than one quarterback.
However, rival front offices don’t believe that the Panthers would abandon the No. 1 pick, according to Jason La Canfora of the Washington Post. Asked this week if he’d received any calls about the choice, Fitterer simply said, “Not yet, no.”
The betting odds indicate Stroud is the favorite to be chosen first overall, and that’s who Carolina’s coaches would draft “if left to their own devices,” per La Canfora. However, the Post suggests that Young may be Tepper’s preferred prospect, and ownership often holds outsized influence on high-end quarterback selections.
The Panthers met with Stroud before Ohio State’s Pro Day on Wednesday and intend to visit with him again before the draft, as NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero reports. Given that the NFL discourages teams holding the No. 1 pick from revealing their selections ahead of the draft, Carolina will likely keep things close to the vest until April 27.
Levis doesn’t seem to be in consideration for the first pick, but the Panthers are doing their due diligence on all the available quarterback prospects. The same Carolina group that met with Young on Wednesday night will dine with Kentucky’s signal-caller Thursday evening in Lexington, per Breer. Levis, who threw at the Combine, will throw again Friday at the Wildcats’ Pro Day.
Giants Meet With Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Zay Flowers
The New York Giants have reworked to rebuild their pass-catching depth chart this offseason, acquiring tight end Darren Waller from the Raiders while adding Parris Campbell and re-signing Darius Slayon. But further additions could be on the horizon.
Giants general manager Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll had dinner with Ohio State’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba on Tuesday night, per Ralph Vacchiano of FOX Sports. JSN is expected to come off the board in the first round, but New York — at pick No. 24 — might not be in range to land him.
Smith-Njigba isn’t the only receiver the Giants are interested in, as they’ll also meet with Boston College’s Zay Flowers on Thursday night, according to Pelissero. Flowers is scheduled to have back-to-back dinners with New York and the New Orleans Saints this evening.
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