Decoding Pro Day

According to longtime NFL scout Greg Gabriel, Ben Koyack remains Notre Dame’s top draft prospect. But the second-most attractive Irish talent is actually Cody Riggs, not DaVaris Daniels.

Notre Dame could be one-and-done in the NFL Draft next month.

Following Pro Day on Tuesday, veteran NFL scout and former Chicago Bears director of college scouting Greg Gabriel broke down Notre Dame’s draft prospects, putting them in context of next month’s seven-round talent grab. Eleven former Notre Dame players worked out but only five figure to make NFL draft boards with the potential for only tight end Ben Koyack to be selected.

Gabriel ranked Notre Dame’s draft prospects and cut through the testing numbers to put Koyack, Cody Riggs, DaVaris Daniels, Cam McDaniel and Kyle Brindza under the NFL evaluation machine. According to Gabriel, it’s Riggs who is the second most likely draftee in Notre Dame’s class, not Daniels.

Ben Koyack

Ht/Wt: 6-4?, 257
40-times: 4.72, 4.78
Vertical jump: 30 inches
Broad jump: 9-feet, 8-inches
Bench: 16 reps

Gabriel: He’s a 4.75 guy in the 40 and he plays that way. He’s kind of a tweener in that he’s not big enough. To put up 16 reps in the bench, that’s terrible. That means you’re a 320-pound bench press guy. For a tight end, that’s not very good. He’s playing a position where you’ve gotta be strong. He’s never been a strong blocker during his entire career there. He was better this year. He’s better blocking on the move than he is in-line.

He’s a mid-round or a late-round guy and it’s a poor tight end class. He’s good enough to make it in the league, but I don’t see him working on special teams unless he gets tougher. And teams want back-up tight ends to be special teams players. I think he gets drafted because he has good hands, can get open, makes good catches. But he doesn’t have a selling trait. If he was one-tenth of a second faster and ran a 4.62, you could draft him and know you could play him at H-Back or put him in the slot and not worry about it. He’s not fast enough for that. He’s not big enough either. Other years he might not get drafted at all, but this year he should with a weak tight end group.

Projection: Mid-to-late round pick

Cody Riggs

Ht/Wt: 5-8?, 187
40-times: 4.45, 4.46
Vertical jump: 33 inches
Broad jump: 9-feet, 7-inches
Bench: 13 reps

Gabriel: Obviously he ran well, but then he pulled up with the hamstring. The other stuff that he did was very, very average. A 9-7 broad jump, that’s not anything to write home about. What’s going to kill him is the 5-foot-8?. There are a lot of teams that won’t touch a cornerback under 5-foot-10. Obviously some will, but there are some that draw a line, regardless of talent. The cornerback out of TCU (Kevin White) measured 5-foot-9? and some teams won’t look at him based on ? of an inch. Not only is Riggs under 5-foot-9, he’s got short arms. If he had longer arms, that would be something to go on.

If he makes it into a few visits with teams where they bring him in for a physical, I could see one team pulling the trigger. But if there are no visits, no team is going to draft him. I do know there are some people who really like him. His tape is good, he’s just a little guy. When healthy, the guy played pretty damn good football.

Projection: Late-round pick

DaVaris Daniels

Ht/Wt: 6-1?, 195
40-times: 4.57, 4.58
Vertical jump: 39½ inches
Broad jump: 11-feet, 1-inch
Bench: Did Not Test

Gabriel: Obviously he can jump. He jumped well at the combine. I thought he’d be faster. He basically ran a half-tenth faster from his time at the NFL Combine and that’s not a whole lot. Between what he did in Indy and what he did today there’s a very limited chance that he gets drafted. He didn’t play last year and when he did play he was up and down his entire career. He’ll get into a camp for sure, but I’ll be surprised if he got drafted. I can’t say he won’t get drafted, though.

There are always a ton of receivers available. But you want guys who are reliable. DaVaris is not reliable. He will get signed and be in a camp, that’s for sure. The broad jump, that’s outstanding. You don’t see too many guys go 11-feet. He can leap and has some explosiveness, there’s no question about that. It’s the speed and reliability where there are questions.

To go deeper, look at Evan Spencer, his high school teammate that went to Ohio State. He was a program guy there and got playing time later in his career. He ran a 4.45. He’s a good special teams player. He pushed 20 reps on the bench. Maybe neither of them get drafted, but Evan would be the guy who gets picked first.

Projection: Late-round selection or undrafted free agent

Cam McDaniel

Ht/Wt: 5-9?, 185
40-times: 4.59, 4.62
Vertical jump: 35 inches
Broad jump: 9-feet, 10-inches
Bench: 17 reps

Gabriel: I think free agent. He’s 5-foot-9, 185 pounds, not very fast, but he’s quick and his three-cone drill was excellent. Sure, you can be coached in those drills where it’s a learned habit, but he did not take one false step there and his technique was perfect with the corners. He’s got good hands, he’s tough, he’s good enough to make a team. He can be a third back and will play on special teams. He’s not good enough to get drafted, but he’ll get into a camp. When he gets there they’re not going to like his size, they’re not going to like his speed, they’re not going to like his traits. Then he’s going to make plays. The special teams coach is going to notice him and that could get him a job. He’s reliable. You’re know what you’re buying.

Projection: Undrafted free agent

Kyle Brindza

Ht/Wt: 6-0? 234
40-times: Did Not Test
Vertical jump: 31 inches
Broad jump: Did Not Test
Bench: 21 reps

Gabriel: Talking to people scouting Brindza, they were disappointed that he missed five field goals at the combine. They thought he had a strong leg but didn’t really show it there. The NFL balls are a lot harder than what these kickers are using in college. It’s like kicking rocks. On top of that, Brindza was inconsistent during the season. There were games where he had a chance to make a difference and didn’t get it done. I think he’ll get into a camp and will get signed, but he’s really gotta turn around his game to make it. Very few kickers get drafted, but Brindza is good enough to get signed into a camp.

Projection: Undrafted free agent

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