You smell that? The aroma of "hope" is in the air. Free agency opens on Wednesday. The NFL Draft is next month. Fans of all 32 franchises think the Super Bowl is theirs for the taking. Well, maybe not you, Miami...
But I digress. With the NFL Combine behind us, there's little left to clear other than bad narratives and anonymous scouts leaking false information to the masses before the Draft is upon us! And Pro Days. Good ol' Pro Days, where the rules don't matter and everyone gets a tenth of a point deducted off their 40-times.
This week on Studs & Duds, we recognize the flashes and flops of the first week of the Pro Day circuit.
Stud - RB Devine Ozigbo, Nebraska
Devine needed a good Pro Day more than most, because for some reason the NFL decided they didn't want a top-10 RB in this year's Combine. Mission accomplished, Ozigbo.
All Devine did at Nebraska's Pro Day was check in at 233 pounds and run 4.53s in the 40-yard dash, plus log a 37" vertical and 10'04" broad jump.
My guy is EXPLOSIVE. Let the record state Ozigbo's 37" vert would have been tied for 4th best at the Combine this year (Damien Harris) and his broad jump tied for 6th (Miles Sanders).
Oh yeah, and only one of the names to out-jump Devine in either drill is also over 225 pounds. Good tape plus good testing = a good player.
Dud - WR Preston Williams, Colorado State
This is a big ol' box of "nope" from me. Williams, blacklisted from the NFL Combine because of a domestic violence incident, checked in at 6-foot-4, 211 pounds and, to be honest, bombed his testing.
A 4.55s 40-time is fine, but a 31.5" vert and a 9'08" broad are just woefully bad numbers. The average vertical for a defensive lineman is a quarter inch shorter than what Williams logged at his Pro Day. The average broad jump is 2 inches shorter than Williams.
For a receiver who was supposed to mask his deficiencies as a route runner by being a top-tier athlete, this is a really underwhelming performance. One that will cause scouts to take a closer look to his film. They're not likely to like what they see on the second pass.
Stud - LB Tre Crawford, UAB
Confession, I don't know anything about Crawford right now. But I do know this: he measured in at 6-foot-1, 228 pounds and logged a 42" vertical jump. That kind of number will grab your attention.
That's the upside to the Pro Day circuit. You get to find out who the elite athletes are that, for one reason or another, may not have performed to their physical potential in college. Crawford was a JUCO kid who logged 8 sacks last season. Might there be something worth looking into? The fact that he's on my radar now is all you can hope for in a Pro Day.
Stud - CB D'Angelo Ross, New Mexico
Surprise! Another stud. Maybe I'm getting soft in my old age (I turn 30 next month). But Ross (a diminutive 5-foot-8, 185 pound corner) ran 4.32 and jumped 39" in the vertical jump.
That ALONE will get him a spot on a 90 man roster this summer to see if he can stick. Teams in attendance? Arizona, Detroit, Green Bay, Jacksonville, San Francisco and Tampa Bay.