Scouts say pro days are a tiny part of their evaluations


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.

11 responses to “Scouts say pro days are a tiny part of their evaluations

  1. I’ve never attended a Pro Day in my life and it hasn’t stopped me from being better than most pro scouts at evaluating players. Nobody pays me a dime and I still do a better job than the vast majority of the scouts that draw paychecks.

  2. Like the Wonderlic, Pro Days are a tiny part of the evaluation until a player totally bombs one. Then it becomes a significant red flag, because a poor pro day for a QB means one of three things: 1. He’s under-prepared; 2. He’s inaccurate; or, perhaps worst of all, 3. He melts under pressure.

  3. Manziel looked great and he was wearing a helmet and shoulder pads as well as having tall tackling dummies at the line to represent lineman.

    His last pass to Mike Evans was a thing of beauty.

  4. The two evaluations that matter the most:
    1. College game films
    2. One on one interviews

    The rest is more about media attention, and promoting the NFL brand during the off-season.

  5. I think the the most important thing for an nfl draft prospect to have is the passion to be great. Athletically there isn’t much difference between most prospects, it’s the ones who want it more that turn out to be good players.

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