In the wake of the cancellation of the NFL Scouting Combine, the focus has turned to college “pro days” for scouting for the 2021 NFL Draft. Here is a breakdown of Monday’s Pro Days.
It was a big day down in Miami, as New York giants head coach Joe Judge was in attendance along with other top Giants personnel.
Giants contingent at Miami Pro Day, per source:— Art Stapleton (@art_stapleton) March 29, 2021
Joe Judge, director of college scouting Chris Pettit and assistant director of player personnel Tim McDonnell.
Might be good to have Patrick Graham back at the house to talk to Danny Shelton.
He was also joined by his former boss in Bill Belichek as well:
Of course, such high-profile players in the NFL scouting world must mean that top prospects were on display today. That was the case for the edge rushing trio of Gregory Rousseau, Jaelan Philips and Quincy Roche, as well as tight end Brevin Jordan.
Official test numbers from @CanesFootball pro-day:— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) March 29, 2021
DE Quincy Roche
BP 23 reps
DE Greg Rousseau
BP 21 reps
DE Jaelan Phillips
BP 21 reps
TE Brevin Jordan
BP 17 reps
Rousseau’s name has been up and down. The 6-foot-6, 266-pound defensive end was considered an elite talent coming off his second season in 2019, where he made All-ACC First Team and was named ACC Rookie of the Year with a conference-leading (and second in the entire FBS) 15.5 sacks as well as leading the conference with 19.5 TFLs. However, he opted out of the 2020 season. Monday, Rousseau showcased he still has his athleticism that made him a force and spoke about what being in the NFL means to him and his family.
Next up is redshirt junior Jaelan Phillips. Having sat out 2019 following his transfer from UCLA, the 6-foot-5, 266 pounder delivered his finest season in college after his disappointing tenure with the Bruins. With 7 sacks and 15.5 TFLs, Phillips was named Second Team All-ACC last season. Monday, he turned heads with his elite athleticism.
Finally, redshirt senior Quincy Roche also boosted his stock at The U after transferring from Temple (were he still dominated with 137 total tackles, 39.5 tackles for loss and 26.0 sacks in three seasons). With 14.5 TFLs, 4.5 sacks and an ACC-leading 3 forced fumbles and 2 recoveries, Roche took the spot Rousseau opened up by opting out and ran with it. And like Philips, Roche put everyone on notice today as well.
Finally, The U is known for its tight ends. Jimmy Graham, Greg Olsen and Giants legend Jeremy Shockey all came from Miami. Now, Brevin Jordan looks to join that list after two All-ACC Teams (2019 First Team and 2020 Second Team) as well as a career 105 catches, 1,358 yards and 13 touchdowns.
While Judge was in Miami, new Giants offensive line coach Rob Sale (who was hired from UL this offseason) and running backs coach Burton Burns were down in the Bayou to scout a late-round running back option for the Giants.
The #Giants had two coaches at the University of Louisiana Pro Day: OL coach Rob Sale and RB coach Burton Burns.— Zack Rosenblatt (@ZackBlatt) March 29, 2021
Witnessed RB Elijiah Mitchell run a 4.38 40-yard dash.
The star of the day, as previously mentioned, was RB Elijah Mitchell. The 5-foot-11, 201 pound senior was a beast for the Ragin’ Cajuns, putting up 141 ruses for 878 yards and eight touchdowns in 2020 after a monster 2019 season with 1,147 yards and 16 rushing touchdowns. And today he made himself a name to watch with a clinic in his pro day.
The Giants have been successful with UNC in the past (Lawrence Taylor ring any bells?). And today, some big names made their cases for NFL scouts.
The biggest name was running back Javonte Williams. Arguably one of the top three running backs in the class, Williams finished with 1,140 yards and 22 total touchdowns in 2020.
Due to the presence of guys like Najee Harris and Travis Etienne, Williams will likely fall down the board a slight bit. But make no mistake, he is a solid back who can carry the load for an NFL team if called upon.
Next up is linebacker Chazz Surratt. A former QB for the Tar Heels, Surratt transitioned from the offense and lit up opposing teams thanks to his athleticism and football IQ. For his two years spent at linebacker, Surratt put up a ridiculous 207 total tackles (22.5 for a loss) and 12.5 sacks with 2 interceptions and 8 passes defended.
Surratt will likely hear his name called on Day 2. Putting him in a linebacker room with Blake Martinez and Reggie Ragland would do wonders for Surratt. What do you think, Giants fans?
Nick Saban on DeVonta Smith
The ongoing saga regarding the weight of Heisman-winning wide receiver DeVonta Smith reached Nick Saban at Alabama’s media availability today, and here’s what the legendary coach had to say:
“I think his performance speaks for itself.
“I’ll be honest with you. When we recruited DeVonta Smith he weight 159 pounds and I wished he was bigger. Now he weighs 170 pounds and I think people at the next level are probably saying I wish he was bigger.
“There are bigger people who don’t perform anywhere near how he performs. There are people that are bigger than him that don’t have the competitive spirit that he has, not the competitive toughness.
“Tell me how many receivers are tougher than he, that block better, that play more physical than he does. I think maybe there’s a time when you say this guy really overcomes the fact that he’s not the biggest guy in the world and he really plays this game really, really well and I don’t think anybody could argue that fact.”
Smith is no doubt one of the most dynamic playmakers in the draft. And he would be a welcome addition to a Giants team that needed weapons badly a season ago.