The biggest day in the lives of Arizona State's draft eligible prospects looms just a little over a month away. While six of them received invitations and participated in last month's NFL Scouting Combine, all of the school's prospects had their chance to put on a show in front of NFL scouts on Friday during ASU's Pro Day.
Leading prospect, quarterback Brock Osweiler, attended but did not participate, as he has a workout scheduled for March 30th. However, everyone else took to the field, even linebackers Vontaze Burfict and Shelly Lyons, who were not expected to participate.
The day saw some fantastic performances and some others that did the player's draft stock no favors.
The biggest unknown among ASU's prospects was cornerback Omar Bolden. A First Team All Pac-10 player in 2010, he missed all of 2011 with a torn ACL. At the combine, he only participated in the bench press but made the most of it, leading all defensive backs in reps with 24. That left the major questions about his ACL recovery to be answered on Friday.
Those questions now have very positive answers. Bolden was timed as low as 4.45 in the 40-yard dash, an exceptional time. He also showed great quickness and agility in the shuttle drills, and looked very fluid in positional drills. Already recognized as being an intelligent player with great intangibles, Bolden likely locked up a spot in the third to fourth round.
Two offensive linemen stood out. Dan Knapp, not invited to the combine, put up 41 reps in the bench press, which would have led all offensive linemen in Indianapolis. He also reportedly ran a 4.8 in the 40 and looked good in the positional drills. A converted tight end, Knapp has good athleticism, and should now at least get a free agent call after the draft.
Center Garth Gerhart showed improved strength, increasing his bench press number from 25 at the combine to 33. As an undersized interior lineman, that number should help him secure a low-round selection.
Wide receiver Aaron Pflugrad put up a very impressive 22 reps in the bench press, a 4.6 in the 40, a 35-inch vertical leap, while also running crisp routes and catching all passes thrown his way. It's still a long shot for him to be drafted, but with his intangibles complementing these impressive numbers, it should get him in a training camp.
No player on Friday had an awful day, but some put on middling performances that certainly didn't help their cause.
The most discussed Sun Devil prospect is linebacker Vontaze Burfict. After a disastrous combine showing, he was in desperate need of a solid follow up. He didn't have it, although it should be noted he is scheduled to join Osweiler in the March 30th workouts.
He did not run the 40, although he most certainly will on the 30th to post something better than his glacial 5.09 from Indianapolis. He did lift in the bench press, after not doing so at the combine, and posted a disappointing 16 reps. He also looked, as an onlooking current ASU player said, "sloppy" in agility and positional drills. To his credit, he looked in better shape than he did three weeks ago.
Defensive end Jamaar Jarrett had a similar "eh" type showing. He posted only 16 reps, five less than he did at the combine, a figure that will not help his case, and may keep him from hearing his name called next month.
Wide receiver Mike Willie ran in the 4.7s and only had six reps in the bench press. It's hard to imagine that a team will come calling for his services after the draft.
For a complete recap of the action, including detailed observations on all of the prospects, check out House of Sparky's Pro Day Notebook.