Stock Watch

The NFL Combine gets the most attention in the national media in ranking college prospects, but the Pro Days at individual schools has become nearly as important. Players who had sub-par Combine performances can use their Pro Day to re-assert themselves as top draft choices -- or confirm bad Combine numbers. Here are some players who have helped and hurt their draft stock over the last few weeks.

The NFL Scouting Combine gets most of the national attention when it comes to evaluating the draft stock of players entering the NFL draft, but the Pro Days at the individual schools also have a big impact – despite not getting the same sort of national attention.

Much like political primaries, Pro Days are scattered out so schools can showcase their players at one time and teams have the ability to attend multiple Pro Day workouts. In some cases, they can elevate a player's stock significantly. In others, they have the opposite effect. Here's a short list of some of the big-name players whose stock is on the rise and those who may be bottoming out as a result of their recent Pro Day workouts.


Mario Manningham, WR, Michigan –
Running consistent 4.6 times in the 40 at the Combine had many questioning how Manningham could look so fast on game film, but not at the Combine. At his Pro Day, running on the new FieldTurf installed at the team's practice facility, he was running 4.4 40 times consistently and erased many of those concerns – likely vaulting him back into the middle third of the first round.

Vernon Gholston, DE,OLB, Ohio State – Not only did Gholston, viewed by many as a top-seven pick in this year's draft, drop his 40 times into the 4.5 range at his Pro Day workout, he also came through with an amazing 42-inch vertical jump. For those of us who don't have the greatest math skills, that's three-and-a-half feet straight up from a standing position. Not too shabby.

Gosder Cherilus, OT, Boston College – Following a coaching change at B.C., he was shifted from right tackle to left tackle and didn't look overly comfortable or as impressive as he did in his first three seasons. His workout re-affirmed that he has all the requisite skills needed to be an NFL tackle, but preferably a right tackle at the next level.


Early Doucet, WR, LSU – He had a solid performance catching passes at the Tigers' Pro Day, but once he got on the line to run his 40, things didn't change that much from Indy. LSU bobos had promised that his times would be top notch, but he never was able to run faster than 4.55 in the 40, which could severely hurt his stock in a year in which there are plenty of speed receivers available.

DuJuan Tribble, CB, Boston College – He didn't have an impressive Combine performance, but at his Pro Day, he weighed in at 196 pounds – seven pounds more than in Indy – and ran the 40 in the mid- to high-4.6 range. His stock may be in free fall.

Adarius Bowman, WR, Oklahoma State – What was worse? Not being able to improve on his hideous 4.7 40 times at the Combine or getting arrested for marijuana possession less than a month before the draft? He was going to struggle to be a mid-round pick anyway. Now half the teams in the league might take him completely off their boards.

At this time of year, it's all about momentum heading into the draft. Some players have it. Some don't. The difference between the two can be millions of dollars and getting good buzz or bad buzz and the "home cooking" workouts can make a huge difference. If you don't have momentum, you have nothing.

* The Vikings still haven't made it official on a contract with QB Gus Frerotte, but word is that a deal should get finalized today or tomorrow and Frerotte will join his new teammates in time to start working in the team's off-season conditioning program this week.
* The art of the trade on or around draft day used to be almost unheard of. Trading picks for other picks? That's always happened. But trading picks for veteran players has become a recent phenomenon that has become part of draft weekend almost every year. Last year, the Texans swapped spots in the first round with the Falcons and will give the Falcons a second-round pick this year as part of the Matt Schaub deal. On draft weekend itself last year, the Patriots and 49ers made moves to get wide receivers with very different results – the Pats landed Randy Moss, while the Niners got Darrell Jackson. We've already seen DeAngelo Hall go from the Falcons to the Raiders. The latest name being thrown around is Eagles cornerback Lito Sheppard, who is on the market and apparently close to being traded. Don't be shocked to see more veterans changing teams for Day Two draft choices when the draft rolls around in three weeks.
* One player who likely won't be part of a draft-day trade is Bengals WR Chad Johnson. Over the weekend, Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said that Ocho Cinco is under contract until 2011 and, if Johnson wants to play in the NFL, it will be with the Bengals or he will have to retire.
* The Redskins have typically been wild spenders in free agency, earning Daniel Snyder the nickname "Mr. March." This year has been a much different story, however. The Redskins signed wide receiver/return specialist Jerome Mathis, formerly of the Texans – the first significant off-season signing for the Redskins since free agency opened more than a month ago.

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