In one of the more important Pro Days of the week for NFL scouts to attend, the Florida State program held there’s, despite the rainy conditions.
With all 32 NFL teams in attendance, they were able to evaluate potential 1st rounders EJ Manuel, Bjoern Werner, Tank Carradine, Xavier Rhodes, and Menelik Watson in their final workout before April’s Draft.
EJ Manuel, Quarterback
Like the reason many of the NFL teams’ felt the need to flock to Tallahassee, EJ Manuel threw to receivers today in an attempt to add to his already growing bandwagon in the NFL and major media. He didn’t do any workouts besides throwing (as expected). While Emory Parker of said that Manuel was putting “everything on the money”, Alan Mundy discussed his weight transfer issues. This relates to one of my major concerns with Manuel: he does everything a bit too stiff and methodical. From a staff arm release regardless of the throw to tightness in his steps and re-direct ability, he’ll need to clean up a lot of that before he’s a capable NFL passer. He also has a total of 6 workouts coming up for NFL teams, one of them being known as the Bills.
Bjoern Werner, Defensive End
Werner stood on all of his NFL Combine numbers, but he did impress another way for NFL teams: as a linebacker. Based on his style of play and expected position (forceful, 4-3 strong side end), linebacker would see like a tough transition. But Dustin Tackett said that he actually “looks good in linebacker drills. Turns hips well and made some really good catches.” This versatility is a huge plus for Werner. If he can show he should be considered by 3-4 AND 4-3 teams, he could end up as high as #2 overall to the Jaguars (if they pass on Geno Smith), and likely won’t fall far out of the Top 10 (lowest being #15).
Tank Carradine, Defensive End
If it wasn’t for his mid-season injury, Tank Carradine might be touted as the best prospect from Florida State instead of fellow defensive end Bjoern Werner. And while Carradine won’t able to work out for NFL teams until his now schedule April 20th workout date (per TomahawkNation.com), he was able to wow NFL teams by putting up 32 reps on the bench press. That would have been the 4th best number put up at the NFL Combine (he did 28 himself in Indy), and no other 1st round hopeful defensive lineman put up 30 plus in at the Combine.
Xavier Rhodes, Cornerback
Rhodes also stood on all of his NFL Combine times, but did impress Tackett as well, saying that he and NFL scouts agreed that he “has size and athleticism, but needs to work on technique.” That matches up to what his film showed from this year, but his size, length, and physicality is what should vault him to being a likely Top 15 pick. San Diego, Miami, and Tampa Bay all could be options.
-Both Bjoern Werner and EJ Manuel have both been invited to the NFL Draft. For Werner, it’s not unexpected, as he’ll likely be a Top 15 pick. For Manuel, I wouldn’t assume he’ll be a 1st rounder because of this. Keep in mind that the NFL now invites likely 2nd-3rd rounders to the event as well now. However, I think he ends up someplace between picks 26 and 39 on draft day.
-Defensive end/linebacker Brandon Jenkins, who now seems just about recovered from his ACL injury this year (that allowed Tank Carradine to play early in the season), put up 19 bench reps. That seems a little better than expected for a likely 3-4 outside linebacker speed rusher at the next level. If his past injuries don’t concern teams too much, the Top 100 isn’t out of the question.
-The one year offensive tackle starter Menelik Watson also put up 19 bench reps, and stood on the rest of his NFL Combine numbers. Sub-20 reps is never a good thing for a power position like offensive tackle, but his longer arms may have been partially to blame. While our evaluations don’t agree with it, he may go as high as the Top 20, depending on how badly teams need offensive linemen in round one.
-Linebacker Vince Willams did 22 reps. Running Back Chris Thompson, who suffered an ACL injury in Novemeber, chose not to run, but isn’t far away in his recovery.
-Also today,20 NFL teams were at the Richmond Pro Day. Safety Cooper Taylor ran a 4.45 with a 36.5 vertical jump, impressive for a 6’4, 228 pound strong safety. He may go as high as the Top 100, especially for teams looking to employ the Seattle Seahawks hybrid/big-bodied defense. Also, fullback/H-Back Kendall Gaskins ran a 4.66 forty, had a 34 inch vertical jump, and put up 20 bench reps. He has some comparisons to Marcel Reese, and could be a 7th/PFA for most teams.
Thanks to @TomahawkNation Dustin Tackett (@dtackett_ ), Emory Parker (@EmoryParker) Alan Mundy (@idontwan2know )and @TonyPauline for their notes and contribute to the Florida State Pro Day report.