All eyes were on Georgia Pro Day as everyone wanted to see how competitive but talented NFL draft prospect Jalen Carter fared. With up to 50 NFL employees attending various workouts on March 15, here’s the latest pro-day news and rumor from Georgia, Minnesota and Louisiana Tech.
Per Day News and Rumors: Jalen Carter struggles while Nolan Smith shines
Pittsburgh Steelers’ Mike Tomlin, defensive line coaches for the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs, and most of the Atlanta Falcons’ front office were among the Georgia Pro Day spectators.
Let’s start with defensive tackle Jalen Carter i tweeted this morning, mentioning the bad reviews I heard from other participants. Carter weighed in at 323 pounds, nine pounds heavier than his NFL Scouting Combine weight. Carter didn’t exercise, but did position exercises and looked terrible.
Carter huffed and panted throughout the workout and looked out of shape. I am told that by the end of the workout he was on his knees – not praying but gasping for air. The defensive tackle-needy Detroit Lions, who hold the sixth pick of the draft, were stunned by what they saw.
MORE: Pro Day news and rumors – Adetomiwa Adebawore, Cam Smith and Bryan Bresee impress teams
This is yet another incident that will continue to tip the down arrow on Carter’s draft shares in a horrible run-up to the event for a prospect once ranked top of his class.
Nolan Smith took part in some position exercises after his insane Combine training. He was kept away from bag drills as a precaution as Smith missed significant playing time last season with a torn pectoral muscle. He looked good at cover drills, showing speed and fluidity while moving across the field.
Robert Beal was another prospect who put in an excellent combine practice and clocked 4.48 seconds in the 40-yard dash. Today he ran the short shuttle in 4.42 seconds, the three-cone in 7.2 seconds and touched 31.5″ in the vertical jump. His vertical was an improvement from Indianapolis.
Beal, who is attracting significant interest from the Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots, was put through drills on the defensive line. At the Combine, he weighed 247 pounds.
John Michael Schmitz stars in Minnesota
Minnesota’s Pro Day was held in front of representatives from across the league, including defensive backs coaches from the Cincinnati Bengals and Tennessee Titans, Green Bay Packers operations manager Milt Hendrickson, and almost the entire Minnesota Vikings staff.
Center John Michael Schmitz, who performed incredibly well during three days of Senior Bowl practice and looked good at the combine, only participated in positional practice.
Schmitz is a big, smooth, and fluid blocker, but he’s also tough and smart. He is the only available center in April who could realistically be selected in the first round and the likelihood of that happening is becoming more and more real. Schmitz is also the only center in this year’s draft to be an instant starter.
During my pre-combine mock draft, Schmitz was picked by the New York Giants with the 25th pick, and I can attest that Big Blue’s interest is genuine. There are several factors behind this, but nothing more than the fact that the franchise has made several large investments in skill players as well as quarterback Daniel Jones. However, they currently have no launch center under contract.
The other center-needing team that Schmitz really likes is the Seattle Seahawks. Schmitz has long had his eye on the franchise and fell in love with him during the Senior Bowl. With the 20th pick, their second pick of the first round, would they pull the trigger on Schmitz? Ideally, they would want to trade down, but you can never tell with Seattle.
MORE: 2023 NFL Draft Big Board
The Buffalo Bills are also very fond of Schmitz. Current starter Mitch Morse, who turns 31 next month, is in the second year of the three-year deal he signed last March.
As for the cast, pass rusher Thomas Rush was the star of the day. The senior measured 6’3″, 251 pounds and was as fast as 4.58 seconds in the 40, 4.22 in the short shuttle and 7.04 in the tricone. His vertical jump reached 35″ by 10’3″ in width. Rush looked great in all his exercises. The only concern was his arm length, which measured just 31 1/4″. Rush attracts interest from the Miami Dolphins and Green Bay Packers.
Shrine Bowl contestant Tanner Morgan also had a stellar day throwing the ball. He was accurate on all of his passes and displayed excellent speed on shots. Morgan could drive his deep passes, which is a problem for scouts.
The sixth-grader performed better than expected during Shrine Bowl practice and was even better during his pro day. Morgan was drafted the eighth pick of the USFL draft by the Michigan Panthers but told me today he has no intention of playing in any league other than the NFL.
Of some other notable performances, the safety of Jordan Howden must be mentioned after hitting 39″ in the vertical jump and clocking 6.87 seconds in the tricone.
Nearly two dozen teams turned up in Ruston, Louisiana yesterday to watch the Bulldogs practice. Also present were Dallas Cowboys defensive back Darian Thompson and New Orleans Saints scouting coordinator Will Martinez. The player they observed was Louisiana Tech cornerback Myles Brooks.
Brooks, who had several good days of practice during the Shrine Bowl, was as fast as 4.48s in the 40 seconds and touched 35″ in the vertical jump. The junior, who joined Louisiana Tech from Stephen F. Austin, enters the draft as a junior after a total of three interceptions and nine pass breakups last season. He’s attracted interest from the Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.