Analysis: ASU pro day returns are in

At least four former Arizona State who are likely to get selected in this year's NFL Draft were participants in the school's Pro Day Friday and several really helped their cause, led by a versatile defensive lineman.

Marcus Hardison -- No player in attendance at ASU Pro Day helped his stock more than Hardison, and that's saying a lot because he already earned very positive reviews earlier this year at the Reese's Senior Bowl and has been trending in a positive direction as a prospect. After not testing at last month's NFL Scouting Combine, the 32 NFL teams in attendance Friday no doubt wanted to get a better sense of his athletic measurable and Harrison didn't disappoint. He turned in two 40-yard dashes in the low-to-mid 4.8s and did so at 305 pounds. He also showed well in the short shuttle, l-cone drills and was as expected in position-specific work.

One of the things that makes Hardison so intriguing is his versatility. He can be a 3-technique tackle for 4-3 scheme even though it wasn't what he primarily did at ASU, but he can also be a 4-3 strongside end or a 3-4 end, so he can play in every scheme and also has shown he can change his body accordingly. Hardison got a little heavy after the season but has started to lean out and wants to continue to do so and get down to perhaps 295 pounds. He's rising up draft boards based on the buzz out of Friday, and could push up to as high as the second round now from the 3/4 round projections entering the day.

Jaelen Strong -- A great combine performance that included a 40-yard dash time that impressed a lot of people who had questions about his speed led Strong to choose be a limited participant in the testing phase Friday, but he caught balls from quarterback Taylor Kelly in what had to have felt second-nature. Strong had one bad drop in the end zone on a red zone play but otherwise was his usual steady self as a passer catcher.

What Strong knows he needs to continue to work on is change of direction, especially getting in and out of his breaks in the most economical fashion for a bigger 6-foot-3, 219 pounds. He's made significant strides in this regard in the last two years at ASU but still is relatively early in his overall refinement as a route runner when it comes to syncing his movements and using his arms, feet and hips in unison to gain separation on transitions. He didn't hurt himself but also probably didn't help his stock, and said he wasn't that happy with his l-cone performance, one of several testing components he did do.

Jamil Douglas -- Not only did Douglas look great on the hoof at 309 pounds -- 10 more than what he played at as a senior at ASU -- he moved extremely well at that weight. That included a posting of a 4.5 second short shuttle, which is blazingly fast for an offensive guard at his size and will be very well received by NFL scouts as it speaks to Douglas' ability to get out from a stance and run and reach places on the field as a pulling/kick out guard.

Over the court of his ASU career Douglas has continuously blossomed as a person and should convey well when he meets with executives. With the agility demonstrated on Pro Day, he probably will be viewed as being versatility enough to be able to play some tackle as a back up and that adds to his value. Getting his weight up into the 315 range will also be great for Douglas and he's showing that he's going to be able to do that without much trouble. He probably solidified that he will be Drafted and perhaps could even move into the middle rounds.

Damarious Randall -- Perhaps the biggest physical transformation in a three month period from ASU's bowl practices to Pro Day is Randall, who has gained about 15 pounds of muscle in that time period and is starting to look more like an NFL safety or nickel corner than he did during his ASU career. He didn't go through testing other than vertical jump because he did well at the Combine but tremendous Randall's hip flexion and fluidity were on display in an important showcase opportunity.

Randall too has good versatility for a defensive back because he's demonstrated he can be a nickel due to how ASU relies on the field side safety in a lot of man coverage situations. He's destined to be a mid-round pick at worst with how he solidified his standing from an athletic standpoint Friday but has to remain focused on having sound eye discipline in man coverage and not making gambling mistakes as well as being more physical and sound against the run. He's got a lot of potential on passing downs

Taylor Kelly -- It's very unlikely Kelly gets drafted, but he had a pretty good day overall and was excellent in the testing phase, running two 40s that were sub 4.6 seconds and turning in an electric l-cone run that was probably the most technically proficient of anyone who participated in the day. Kelly has worked on rounding out his throwing mechanic in recent weeks and he had a little more pop on his short-to-intermediate throws perhaps in part as a result. Accuracy too was really good on everything underneath to between the hashes at a moderate depth.

Where Kelly expectedly showed limitation is with his ball velocity when pushing in down the field, as the balls neither were clean enough or on time enough to have been able to beat Cover 2 -- and perhaps even single high -- safeties to the spot. But if he gets a chance to be a No. 3 guy somewhere as an underrated free agent, he might make the most of it for a team that is really system driving and doesn't take as many big play shots.


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