Scouts say pro days are a tiny part of their evaluations

AP

With the league meeting wrapped up and not a lot else to talk about, the football world will focus today on former Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, who will conduct his pro day workout for NFL scouts.

But while Manziel’s workout will get a lot of attention, it won’t do a lot either to help or hurt his draft stock.

Scouts for the Lions and the Cardinals have spoken to their teams’ websites about the usefulness of pro days and revealed just what you’d think: By far the most important part of a player’s evaluation is his game tape, and by the time the pro day rolls around, there’s little a player can do to affect his draft stock.

“That’s 95 percent of the grade,” Cardinals scout Chris Culmer said of college tape. “Pro day is a little tiny final piece of the puzzle.”

Lions scout Joe Kelleher says that by the time he is attending a prospect’s pro day, he has already watched about half of that player’s final college season. By the time a scout has seen that much of a player on the field, there’s not much that can change about an evaluation based on a workout in shorts and a T-shirt.

“Generally after that fifth, sixth or seventh game it’s not as dramatic as say bumping a guy up two rounds or dropping two rounds, you’re just saying, ‘Hey, he can do this,’ where I didn’t see it in my report before,” Kelleher said.

Obviously, NFL teams think pro days have some value or they wouldn’t attend: NFL teams aren’t in the business of wasting the time of their scouts, coaches and executives. But the value appears to be minimal. The talk of players rising or falling on draft boards thanks to a good or bad pro day workout is largely overblown.