The UNC Tar Heels Pro Day was held on Tuesday morning, and 19 former UNC football players gathered to try and impress NFL personnel enough to at least invite them to training camp, or, for several of them, invest a pick in the NFL draft. In total, 75 NFL representatives came to watch the event, representing all 32 NFL teams. Besides UNC’s seven NFL Combine representatives (Mitch “well, my mom calls me Mitchell” Trubisky, Elijah Hood, T.J. Logan, Nazair Jones, Ryan Switzer, Bug Howard, and Mack Hollins, who attended but did not participate), the 2016 team members at UNC’s Pro Day were:
- DE Mikey Bart
- C Lucas Crowley
- RB Khris Francis
- S Dominiquie Green
- CB Des Lawrence
- OG Caleb Peterson
- K Nick Weiler
Five Tar Heels from previous years - Jack Tabb, Kam Jackson, Sam Smiley and Damien Washington - attended as well to round out the attendees.
The undoubted headliner of the show was, of course, Trubisky. After a combine that was unremarkable other than his running numbers, some believed that Trubisky would have to work in order to prove that he really is the best passer in this year’s draft class. Whether or not that was true, Trubisky certainly delivered, impressing everybody in attendance.
In workouts, Trubisky threw a total of 68 passes and completed all but nine of them, of which six were catchable but dropped. He displayed his arm talent by throwing with velocity to all areas of the field, and threw anticipation balls across the route tree. One NFC scout in attendance came away very impressed, saying of Trubisky, “The kid looks good. He spins it clean and you can tell he has great chemistry with his receivers.” Trubisky chose to stand on his combine workout numbers, which included a 4.67 second 40-yard dash. Trubisky said after his workout that he has workouts scheduled with the Cleveland Browns, San Francisco 49ers, New York Jets, Kansas City Chiefs, and Arizona Cardinals.
T.J. Logan continued his impressive pre-draft season after posting the fastest 40 time among running backs (4.37) at the combine. He added a 4.29-second short shuttle and a 6.59-second three-cone drill, both above average for the position, and stood out in both ball-carrying and receiving drills. Logan has gone from being considered a 6th round prospect to hearing from NFL personnel that he may hear his name called as early as the third round. After a nearly invisible first 2.5 years at UNC, Logan has made a huge name for himself.
Bug Howard also impressed in receiving drills, and added a respectable 34’’ vertical jump to his combine numbers, which included a decent-for-his-size 4.58 second 40-yard dash. He also recorded 15 reps on the 225-lb bench press, which is just above average for the position. The bench press isn’t hugely important for receivers, but for one looking to make his name on strength, the number is slightly disappointing. His overall stock has gone up from the end of the regular season, however, and he now has a legitimate shot at being drafted.
Elijah Hood helped his draft stock a little with a 4.58 second 40-yard dash, which shows functional speed at his size, which was a concern for him going into draft season. However, reports have come back that he did not look totally ready for the event, which is somewhat worrying for his draft stock given that he eschewed running at the Combine. Especially for a purported workout warrior like Hood, these public workouts were his chance to wow people, and he has failed to do so. He is still draftable, but in an extremely deep class for running backs, his stock has likely dropped to Day 3. We know he’s an NFL-quality running back, but it is looking more and more like he’ll have to work his way up to showing it instead of being put in a position to succeed from the get-go.
Nazair Jones had a disappointing pro day, failing to improve on his decent, but unimpressive combine numbers. Questions have been raised about his conditioning, which may worry people who know about Jones’ past with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. His draft projections have been extremely varied, from the 3rd round to the 7th. This has likely not changed after the Pro Day.
Among players not invited to the combine, Des Lawrence and Mikey Bart stood out. Lawrence measured in at almost 6 feet tall, a good size for an NFL cornerback. His 40 time was 4.53, a bit below average for the position, but his ball skills on tape should make up for it. Lawrence is currently being mocked around the late 6th to early 7th round. Bart has not been on most NFL writers’ radar, but his brand of high-effort play impressed many in attendance and he may find himself on a roster because of it. He likely won’t get drafted, but he may have left an impression.
The offensive linemen showed off their strength on the bench press, Crowley recording 30 reps and Peterson coming in right behind him with 29. Both numbers are well above average for the position.
Another surprise in workouts was Dominiquie Green, who had a very impressive 10’1’’ standing broad jump and 35’’ vertical jump. Athletes often get a chance as undrafted free agents because they can contribute on special teams, so look out for his name after Draft Day.
Results can be seen here.