Falcons Pro Day Round-Up 3/22
Vaughn McClure reports the Falcons will work out UCLA outside linebacker Anthony Barr before the end of the month. Barr is potentially a target for the team at the top of the draft. Barr was able to improve on his Combine numbers in the 40-yard dash and bench press at his pro day last week. He reportedly clocked a 4.44-second 40 time and lifted 225 pounds 19 times on March 11, improvements from the 4.66 seconds and 15 reps he did last month at the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
McClure also reports that Arizona State outside linebacker Carl Bradford worked out for the Falcons this past Thursday. After a solid Combine, where the 6-1/250-pound linebacker ran a 4.76-second 40, he was able to improve to a 4.64-second mark at his pro day two weeks ago. Bradford played linebacker, defensive end and special teams during his career at Arizona State. This past season, he led the team with 8.5 sacks.
Tony Pauline of TFY Draft Insider also brings some scoops in terms of players the Falcons worked out this week.
Tony Pauline reports that Falcons defensive line coach Bryan Cox worked out Delaware DT Zach Kerr on Wednesday. Kerry is a bulky nose tackle prospect that measured in at 6-1, 326 pounds at the Combine last month. He did 28 bench reps also. This past season, Kerr had 57 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. He worked out in front of 14 teams at Delaware’s pro day on Tuesday, which likely included the Falcons.
Bryan Cox of the Atlanta Falcons to workout Zach Kerr/DT/Delaware tomorrow…
— Tony Pauline (@TonyPauline) March 18, 2014
The Falcons also worked out Wake Forest linebacker Justin Jackson on Thursday. Jackson did not run the 40 at his pro day on Monday due to a strained hamstring, but he did lift 27 reps in the bench press, and had a 39-inch vertical and 10-foot, 9-inch broad jump. Jackson is a two-year starter that finished this past season with 56 tackles, 5.5 for loss, two sacks and an interception.
Atlanta Falcons will be working out linebacker Justin Jackson at Wake Forest tomorrow.
— Tony Pauline (@TonyPauline) March 19, 2014
The Falcons also took a close look at Boise State offensive tackle Charles Leno on Monday, as their scout worked out several Broncos linemen during the school’s pro day in front of 28 other teams. Leno is an undersized tackle, as he measured at 6-4, 303 pounds at the Combine. He also lifted 225 pounds 21 times there, and had a 29-inch vertical jump.
More Atlanta Falcons pro-day news: they worked out Charles Leno/OL/Boise State at pro-day on Monday…
— Tony Pauline (@TonyPauline) March 18, 2014
Andy Bitter of the Roanoke Times reports that Virginia Tech linebacker Jack Tyler has individual workouts scheduled with the Falcons and New England Patriots.
The Falcons did attend Virginia Tech’s pro day on Wednesday along with the remaining 31 other NFL teams. Tyler reportedly ran a 40 time in the 4.7-second range.
Other notable workouts included: cornerback Antone Exum measured in at 5-11, 219 pounds. He ran a 4.53-second 40, 7.01-second three-cone, and jumped 33.5 inches on the vertical and 9 feet, 11 inches on the broad jump. Outside linebacker/defensive James Gayle measured in at 6-4, 259 pounds. He ran a 4.60-second 40 time and lept 34 inches on the vertical jump.
Also on Wednesday, Falcons head coach Mike Smith was on hand in Orlando on Wednesday to check out Central Florida’s pro day. Most eyes were there to see quarterback Blake Bortles, who is vying to be the first overall selection in this May’s draft.
Smith also got the chance to see running back Storm Johnson, a bit of a bruiser at 218 pounds, run a 4.57-second 40 before tweaking his hamstring. Johnson also had a 34-inch vertical jump, 10-foot, 1-inch broad jump and did 19 bench reps on Wednesday.
On Monday, reports indicate either 29 or 30 teams sent representatives to Louisville’s pro day, which included the Falcons. The buzz from the day was generated by quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who was lackluster by many accounts.
But as far as the Falcons were concerned, they were much more interested in linebackers Preston Brown and Marcus Smith, with reports indicating the pair conducted individual workouts for the team this past Wednesday.
Brown is a four-year starter that moved to middle linebacker as a junior. A noted thumper, he measured in at 6-1, 250 pounds. This past season he led the team with 98 tackles. He was unable to improve on any of his drill results from the Combine at the pro day, but did manage to lift 26 bench reps, up from 23 in Indianapolis.
Smith played for the North team at the Senior Bowl in January. He stood on most of his Combine numbers, but did manage a notable improvement to his three-cone time, lowering it from 7.48 to 7.08 seconds. A former high school quarterback, Smith broke out during his senior year at Louisville, tallying 14.5 sacks, which was second in the nation behind only Stanford’s Trent Murphy.
Speaking of Murphy, he got a chance to show off his skills in front of every NFL team on Thursday at Stanford’s pro day. He was able to improve his 40 time from 4.86 to 4.72 seconds.
But the story of the day was the performance of fellow edge rusher Ben Gardner who was not invited to the Combine. He impressed with a 39.5-inch vertical and 10-foot, 2-inch broad jump. He clocked a 4.83-second 40-yard dash with a 6.78-second three-cone drill. Measuring in at 6-4, 262 pounds, Gardner projects potentially both as a 3-4 outside linebacker or 4-3 defensive end.
Also Tony Pauline of TFY Insider reports that the Falcons are among a few teams showing “heavy interest” in Stanford offensive tackle Cameron Fleming.
On Tuesday, all 32 NFL teams descended upon Tallahassee to see Florida State’s pro day. Several Florida State prospects that were invited to the Combine were looking to improve on a couple of individual drills.
- Wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin added half an inch to his vertical leap to get to 33 inches.
- Safety Terrence Brooks added three inches to his broad jump to give him a mark of 10 feet, 2 inches. He also added one bench rep to his Combine total of 10.
- Defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan shaved a hair off his Combine 40 time of 5.06 to improve to 5.02 seconds.
- Running back James Wilder was able to improve his 40 time from 4.86 to 4.64 seconds.
- Running back Devonta Freeman did 11 bench reps.
- Linebacker Christian Jones did 17 bench reps and ran a 7.03-second three-cone drill.
- Linebacker Telvin Smith had a 7.04-second three-cone drill and did 16 bench reps.
All 32 NFL teams were on hand to check out Fresno State’s pro day on Thursday. While most eyes were locked onto quarterback Derek Carr, who was “outstanding” according to some observers, the Falcons were able to look at other prospects. They saw wide receiver Davante Adams improve his 40 time to 4.47 seconds from a 4.56-mark from the Combine last month. Tackle Austin Wentworth also got a chance to work out in front of scouts after not earning a Combine invite. He clocked a 5.09-second 40 time with 29 bench reps and 28.5-inch vertical jump. A two-year starter at left tackle, Wentworth did positional drills at guard and center.
Other notable efforts on Thursday included defensive back L.J. Jones clocking a 4.45-second 40 time, and defensive tackle Anthony Williams lifting 225 pounds 39 times on the bench press.
Missouri defensive end Kony Ealy was seen chatting with a Falcons scout at Missouri’s pro day on Thursday.
Ealy significantly improved his disappointing 40 time (4.92 seconds) from the Combine in February. He clocked an unofficial 4.57-second 40 at his pro day, although other reports have him running in the mid-4.6 range.
A lot of eyeballs were also drawn towards fellow pass-rusher Michael Sam on Thursday. Sam also improved on a disappointing Combine, running a 4.73-second 40, leaping 30 inches on the vertical jump and benching 19 reps of 225 pounds.
California (PA) had 15 teams attend their pro day on Thursday, including the Falcons.
The Falcons were in attendance at Valdosta State’s pro day on Monday.
All 32 teams attended Notre Dame’s pro day on Thursday. However, many of the major prospects were dealing with injuries including wide receiver T.J. Jones (hamstring), offensive lineman Zack Martin (hamstring), defensive end Stephon Tuitt (foot surgery) and tight end Troy Niklas (double hernia). One player that did work out was nose tackle Louis Nix, who managed to improve on some of his Combine numbers with a 5.34-second 40 and 8.01-second three-cone drill. He also did 24 bench reps.
Guard Chris Watt also did a full workout after only lifting at the Combine last month due to lingering issues from a PCL tear he suffered in his knee in the fall. Watt ran a 40 time of 5.05 seconds, 7.67-second three-cone drill and jumped a vertical of 28.5 inches. He did 29 bench reps in Indianapolis.
Marc Basham of WV Sports reports that the Falcons were among several teams spotted at West Virginia’s pro day on Friday. Both running back Charles Sims and defensive end Will Clarke opted to focus on positional drills, standing on most of their numbers from the Combine. Both players were coached by the Falcons coaching staff during the Senior Bowl week in January.
Some other highly attended pro days from this past week include:
Monday: Virginia (28 teams attended), Rice (23), Florida (15)
Tuesday: Sam Houston State (15), Montana (14)
Wednesday: Baylor (29), Utah (28)
Thursday: Middle Tennessee (13)
Friday: Vanderbilt (25)