Next up on the NFL Pro Day schedule: Utah, BYU, and Penn State. Let’s dive into the latest news and rumors surrounding Dalton Kincaid, Blake Freeland, and Juice Scruggs, as well as the other headlines coming out of Utah, BYU, and Penn State.
Pro Day News and Rumors | Dalton Kincaid Did Not Test for Utah
The attendance sheet for Utah’s Pro Day, which took place Thursday, stretched two pages long and included Bengals DBs coach Charlie Burks, Chargers TEs coach Kevin Kroger, and Saints assistant OL coach Kevin Carberry. Directors of college scouting from the Chiefs, Vikings, Raiders, and Colts were also on hand.
For starters, I tweeted out Thursday that tight end Dalton Kincaid would not participate in the testing, just as he didn’t during the Combine. Rest assured, there’s nothing nefarious going on, nor is Kincaid afraid to test. The tight end suffered a small fracture in his back late last season, which has prevented him from working out for scouts.
It was well known back in January that there was a chance Kincaid would not be able to work out for teams before the draft — hence this is a surprise to no one. I’m told there’s still a slight chance the tight end could work out before the draft, but there are no guarantees, and it’ll be a wait-and-see process.
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And while scouts would prefer to get marks on Kincaid, no one will deny his tape screams top-40 prospect. The senior is very much the downfield threat teams want at the position these days and plays like a tough, nasty tight end.
Offensive lineman Braeden Daniels, who had a terrific Combine performance, looked outstanding in position drills. Daniels weighed in at 307 pounds, 13 more than his Combine weight, yet easily moved around the field for what seemed an eternity.
The Saints ran the offensive line drills and tried to break Daniels, but the versatile blocker did not relent. Daniels has been steadily rising up draft boards and has cemented himself as a solid middle-round pick. He met with the New York Jets, Seattle Seahawks, and Baltimore Ravens at Utah’s Pro Day.
There was a huge crowd on-site for BYU’s Pro Day, with multiple offensive line coaches in Provo. The Cougars’ top prospects did not disappoint.
Offensive tackle Blake Freeland continues his ascent up draft boards. After a sensational Combine, Freeland looked good at his pro day. He completed 25 reps on the bench press, a terrific number considering his arms measure a shade under 34″. His times in the short shuttle were clocked in the low 4.3s, with a three-cone that came in right around 7.2 seconds — both outstanding marks.
Freeland displayed his athleticism during position drills as offensive line coaches from the New York Jets (who privately worked out Luke Wypler and Paris Johnson Jr. during Ohio State’s Pro Day), Cincinnati Bengals, and New Orleans Saints put him through an excruciating workout that was described as unique.
Freeland did a lot of drills to simulate pulling across the line of scrimmage and was asked to pick up tennis balls on the way. He’s solidified himself as a top-50 pick for a zone-blocking-heavy offense.
Quarterback Jaren Hall had an outstanding throwing session today. He threw more than 50 passes, and many of them had a high degree of difficulty. Hall wasn’t just accurate — he displayed pinpoint pass placement and drove deep passes downfield with speed. The criticism from scouts after the Combine centered on Hall’s footwork dropping into the pockets from center and setting himself to throw.
Some believe that won’t be an issue as Hall will be used out of the gun at the next level more times than not, and when he does line up under center, he’ll be handing the ball off or running some type of boot action and rolling out then throwing on the move. Hall has come across great in interviews, as he’s a mature 25-year-old married man.
The age does not bother teams as we see more quarterbacks playing, and thriving, into their 30s. The Minnesota Vikings, Seattle Seahawks, Detroit Lions, and Indianapolis Colts all have interest in Hall. In fact, Indianapolis has compared Hall to Jalen Hurts, the quarterback developed by new head coach Shane Steichen. Also, keep an eye on the Rams, who are looking to come out of the draft with a No. 2 signal-caller.
Receiver Puka Nacua looked terrific as the recipient of passes delivered by Hall. He was incredibly smooth, ran terrific routes, and even showed another gear. Nacua timed as fast as 4.49 seconds in the 40, despite a tight hip. He missed three weeks of training due to the hip condition and a concussion he suffered during the first day of practice at the Senior Bowl.
Rather than set a date in the future for a private workout, Nacua chose to participate in the pro day. He’s a natural pass catcher with a great head for the position. Nacua will come off the board somewhere in the fourth or fifth round, and he’s being courted by the Jets, Cardinals, and Rams.
Harris LaChance, the offensive tackle who moved into guard last season, measured 6’7″ and 307 pounds, timing 5.17 seconds in the 40 and a very quick 7.34 seconds in the three-cone.
Running back Chris Brooks measured 6’1″, 219 pounds, posted a 37″ vertical jump, and ran well. He timed 4.58 seconds in the 40, 4.18 in the short shuttle, and 7.13 in the three-cone. Brooks looked terrific catching passes from Jaren Hall.
Big Name Decision-makers at Penn State’s Pro Day
Mike McDaniel and Chris Grier of the Miami Dolphins, as well as Ryan Poles of the Chicago Bears, were just a few decision-makers on hand for Penn State’s Pro Day.
Center Juice Scruggs, a Shrine Bowl participant, looked terrific. He timed 4.64 in the short shuttle, an improvement of two-tenths from his Combine mark. He then looked athletic and fundamentally very sound during drills. PFN interviewed Scruggs in Vegas, and he explained why he has a bit of a chip on his shoulder.
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He was forced to take a backseat to Minnesota’s John Michael Schmitz and Ohio State’s Luke Wypler in the Big 10. It must be noted Scruggs made the successful transition from guard to center in 2022. Scruggs had dinner with the Bears last night and met at length with the Dolphins at the pro day. Right now, it seems unlikely Scruggs gets past the Bears’ pick, which opens the fourth round.
Safety Ji’Ayir Brown ran 4.62 seconds at the Combine and was slightly faster today, timing 4.58 in the 40. Despite the improvement, he looked slow during drills at Penn State’s Pro Day. The bottom line on Brown? Good football player — poor athlete.