The Alabama, Liberty, and Virginia Pro Days were the next stops on the NFL Pro Day schedule, as several highly-rated prospects worked out in front of NFL decision-makers. Let’s take a look at how prospects such as Bryce Young, Demario Douglas, and Dontayvion Wicks performed during today’s events, as well as the other headlines coming out of Alabama, Liberty, and Virginia.
Pro Day News and Rumors | All Eyes on Bryce Young at Alabama
A day after Ohio State worked out for scouts, it was Alabama’s turn. Info has been slow coming in, as many scouts left immediately to catch planes to Lexington, Kentucky, so here’s what I got.
There’s been a lot written about Bryce Young — all I will add is scouts I spoke with were impressed with his arm. They felt his deep passes and longer lateral outs were stronger than they expected. Scouts were also impressed with his footwork and placement when Young simulated dropping back from underneath center.
Defensive lineman DJ Dale stood on his Combine numbers but did position drills. He looked fluid and very smooth. Dale is receiving a lot of interest from the New Orleans Saints, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Detroit Lions.
Scouts had 40 times on tight end Cameron Latu in the low 4.6s. That is two-tenths better than the 4.81 seconds scouts projected prior to the season.
Demario Douglas and Durrell Johnson Shine at Liberty’s Pro Day
There were approximately 30 teams on hand for Liberty’s Pro Day — a workout that saw two players stand out.
Shrine Bowl participant Demario Douglas continues his upward move on receiver boards. He timed 7.00 seconds in the three-cone, which was the only test he did not complete during Combine workouts. Just as he did during the Shrine Bowl and Combine, Douglas ran sensational routes, looked incredibly quick-footed, and caught everything thrown in his direction.
The measurements (5’8 1/4″, 30 1/4″ arms, and 8 3/4″ hands) could be an issue for some teams, but in the right system, Douglas will be a tremendous slot receiver/return specialist. The Tennessee Titans, who need a speed receiver (Douglas timed as fast as 4.38 seconds on watches at the Combine), as well as the 49ers, are showing a lot of interest. I have Douglas graded as a fifth-round pick, but it would not surprise me if he sneaked into the fourth.
Durrell Johnson, one of the most underrated linebackers/edge rushers in the upcoming draft, was impressive.
He measured 6’5″ and 251 pounds — almost 20 heavier than scouts expected. On a sore hamstring, he timed 4.68 seconds in the 40 with a 1.44 10-yard split. Prior to the hammy issue, Johnson had been timing 4.55 seconds in training. He jumped 38.5″ in the vertical and 10’4″ in the broad.
Johnson, who totaled 27.5 tackles for loss and nine sacks last year, looked solid in position drills as well. The drills were run by the Titans and Dallas Cowboys. The fact Johnson came in over 250 pounds and ran as well as he did was a relief to scouts. Many perceived him to be 235 pounds, a bit light for a 3-4 OLB. Moving forward, teams feel he has the size and athleticism to be used at the line of scrimmage on a consistent basis.
The two Cavalier prospects considered draftable both impressed scouts on hand during Virginia’s Pro Day Wednesday. Cornerback Anthony Johnson looked brilliant in position drills — to the point many of the scouts on-site applauded his effort.
Johnson is a bigger (6’1 1/2″/205 pounds) cornerback with terrific ball skills. On Day 2 of Combine workouts, it was reported Johnson “ran an official 4.63 seconds” in the 40, yet the official sheet dispensed to teams around the league lists his best time at 4.56. The Saints and Kansas City Chiefs interviewed Johnson at length.
Receiver Dontayvion Wicks timed 4.57 seconds in the 40, slightly better than his Combine mark of 4.62 seconds. He also timed 4.20 seconds in the short shuttle and 6.91 seconds in the three-cone. According to scouts, Wicks looked good in drills, was very twitchy running routes, and caught the ball well with no drops.
Final Notes From Ohio State’s Pro Day
As I was exiting the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba was meeting with the receiver-needy Houston Texans. Everything I’ve heard this week leads me to believe the Texans will draft a receiver with their second pick in the first round (12th overall). Right now, it seems that
pick has come down to either Jaxon Smith-Njigba or Jordan Addison.
Several teams came away from Ohio State’s Pro Day with even more affection for center Luke Wypler — two in particular: the Buffalo Bills and Arizona Cardinals.
Last week, during my write-up on the Minnesota Pro Day, I mentioned the Bills had Gophers center John Michael Schmitz rated highly. This week it’s Wypler — another Big Ten center. If nothing else, this confirms my posting last week that the Bills will be looking for a center as Mitch Morse closes out his career.
I was told outright at the end of the pro day that the Cardinals will draft Wypler, and it makes sense. Presently, Hjalte Froholdt is listed as Arizona’s starting center — his fourth team since 2019. The Cardinals own a pair of picks in the third round and could use one to select the OSU center.
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