With the NFL Combine in the rearview mirror, the 2023 Pro Day schedule is now underway. While the early round of pro days has focused on Texas and Bijan Robinson, there has been action at other places around the country in the past couple of days. Let’s round up some of the latest pro day news and rumors from the first couple of days of action.
Pro Day News and Rumors | Purdue’s Aidan O’Connell Stock on the Rise?
By my count, all 32 teams from the NFL were on hand for Purdue’s Pro Day. Among the bigger names at the workout were Las Vegas Raiders offensive coordinator Mick Lombardi, Cincinnati Bengals receivers coach Troy Walters, and Tennessee Titans special teams coordinator Craig Aukerman.
Aidan O’Connell continued the momentum from one of the best passing workouts at last week’s Combine and looked terrific today. For those counting, he hit on 47 of 50 passes and looked very accurate. The three misses were all drops by a walk-on receiver.
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Just like last Saturday in Indianapolis, O’Connell was on target with his throws and did not have receivers adjusting for errant passes. Scouts I’ve spoken with said they graded O’Connell’s passing workout at the Combine just below C.J. Stroud’s performance.
O’Connell met with the Raiders last night and is meeting with the Los Angeles Rams and Detroit Lions today.
The initial word is that tight end Payne Durham and receiver Charlie Jones looked terrific in pass-catching drills. Meanwhile, defensive back Cory Trice — who measured 6’3’’ and 206 pounds at the Combine — ran 4.47 seconds in the 40, timed the three-cone in 6.70 seconds, and the 20-yard shuttle in 3.96 seconds.
Former Indiana safety Reese Taylor, who played for Purdue in 2022, shined during pro-day. Taylor’s marks included forty times which ranged from 4.46 to 4.49 seconds, a swift three cone time of 6.63 seconds and 4.09 seconds in the short shuttle. His vertical was 38.5 inches and broad 10’4’’.
Taylor really looked terrific in position drills from people I spoke with and his pro day was labeled a “plus workout.” The Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers are showing interest in the priority free agent.
Fordham’s Tim DeMorat Impresses
The Fordham Pro Day was actually held at Columbia University on Wednesday as scouts from more than a dozen teams showed up to watch prospects from several schools work out. Among the teams on hand included representatives from the Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears, New York Jets, Miami Dolphins, Indianapolis Colts, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Fordham quarterback Tim DeMorat, who participated in the Shrine Bowl, impressed scouts with his arm strength. He measured 6’3 1/2”, 220 pounds, timed 4.70s in the 40, 7.1 in the three-cone, and touched 33.5 inches in the vertical jump. DeMorat drove deep passes with speed and displayed the ability to make all the throws. Scouts feel DeMorat grades as one of the stronger arms in this year’s quarterback class.
Linebacker Ryan Greenhagen, who recorded more than 400 tackles in the four seasons he played at Fordham, timed as fast as 4.72 seconds in the 40. One interesting note on his workout — Greenhagen was run through a battery of fullback drills on Wednesday.
Offensive lineman Jacky Chen, who also participated in the Shrine Bowl, participated in the workout. He measured 6’5”, 300 pounds, timed 5.28 seconds in the 40, touched 29 inches in the vertical jump, and 8’10” in the broad. A left tackle in college, Chen is getting looks at both center and guard at the next level.
UNLV’s Adam Plant Jr. and Austin Ajiake Show Off
The UNLV Pro Day took place on Wednesday in front of almost two dozen teams, including the Jaguars, Seahawks, Raiders, Bills, Chiefs, 49ers, Vikings, Packers, Dolphins, Titans, Bears, Broncos, and Commanders. They were on hand to watch a pair of linebackers.
Adam Plant Jr. measured 6’5’’, 255 pounds, timed 4.75 seconds in the 40, and completed 19 reps on the bench press. His broad jump mark was 9’7’’. Plant, who began his college career at TCU, has been used in a variety of schemes at UNLV and is coming off a career season that included 62 tackles, 13.5 TFLs, and eight sacks.
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Austin Ajiake, a late fill-in at the Shrine Bowl who recorded 132 tackles last season, turned in a phenomenal workout. Measuring 6’1 1/2” and 224 pounds, Ajiake timed 4.55 seconds in the 40, 7.19 seconds in the three-cone, and 4.27 seconds in the short shuttle. His marks in the jumps included 38.5 inches in the vertical and 10’3’’ in the broad jump.
Scouts estimated Ajiake to be a 4.75-second 40 player, two-tenths slower than he actually ran. His pro day marks will now put him in late-round conversation.
Miami (OH)’s Mac Hippenhammer Getting Attention
Scouts traveled to Miami, Ohio, on Wednesday, primarily for one next-level prospect slot receiver/return specialist Mac Hippenhammer.
Hippenhammer, a Penn State transfer who has averaged well over 15 yards per reception in college and caught nine TDs last season, measured 5’11’’ and 177 pounds. He timed as fast as 4.53 seconds in the 40 and 6.99 seconds in the three-cone. Hippenhammer, a smaller but very quick wideout, looked good running routes in position drills.
The Indianapolis Colts, San Francisco 49ers, and Houston Texans have all expressed interest in the wideout.
Harvard’s Truman Jones Shines In Drills
About a dozen scouts showed up for Harvard pro-day, including three from the hometown New England Patriots. They were on hand to watch linebacker/edge rusher Truman Jones, a Shrine Bowl participant.
Jones measured 6’3 1/2” and 251 pounds, touched 37″ in the vertical jump and 10’2” in the broad. He also completed 17 reps on the bench press. His forty timed as fast as 4.60 seconds on some watches while the three-cone came in at 7.31 seconds and shuttle 4.30 seconds.
I’m told he looked exceptionally smooth in coverage drills- important as Jones was primarily used at the line of scrimmage and up the field for Harvard. His numbers last season were reflective of this as Jones totals included 40 tackles, 13 TFL’s, six sacks, and just 1 PBU. Jones never intercepted a pass on the college level.
Jones has an official 30 visit set up with the Kansas City Chiefs and the New York Jets will be working him out.