UNC’s Pro Day was not, understandably, nearly as well-publicized this year as it was last year. Not only did UNC have one of the draft’s top quarterback prospects last year, but the team sent 7 players to the NFL Combine. This year, UNC sent just two prospects to the Combine, and thus, while last year’s Pro Day was attended by 75 scouts from all 32 teams, this year’s hosted just around 20 NFL personnel, including but not limited to scouts from the Carolina Panthers, New England Patriots, Kansas City Chiefs, Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers, Atlanta Falcons, New York Giants, Baltimore Ravens, and Houston Texans.
The event had 15 participants, listed here:
Here are participating players. CB M.J. Stewart and LB Andre Smith are UNC’s top two prospects pic.twitter.com/WDnLfjxRyS— Chapel Fowler (@chapelfowler) April 3, 2018
(The defensive end’s name is spelled Dajaun, but I digress)
Other than M.J. Stewart and Andre Smith, Tar Heels with a serious chance of bringing their names into the draft conversation included Proehl, Miles, and Dillard, and they did what they could in order to be remembered. Austin Proehl in particular is gaining a lot of traction, having allegedly stolen the show at the NFL Regional Combine Invitational.
We don’t have all the official numbers yet, but here are a few nuggets from the event and from subsequent interviews:
- Stewart and Proehl elected to sit on their previous 40-yard dash times. Stewart ran a 4.54 at the NFL Combine, and Proehl ran a blazing 4.41 at the RCI.
- Smith, who ran a 4.63 while pulling a hamstring at the Combine, was apparently targeting a 4.5 flat. This would be an incredible time for a linebacker, but he missed the mark, allegedly being told that he’d been hand-timed between 4.55 and 4.70 by various scouts in attendance. UNC’s official record timed him at 4.61. That’s still more than serviceable, and actually well above average for the position. It’s a nice rebuttal for criticisms that Smith is “too slow” to play three downs in the NFL.
- While UNC hasn’t published official results at the time of this writing, Smith’s agent has given us his, and they look like this:
At @TarHeelFootball pro day today, client @AndreSmith_9 had himself an impressive showing during testings and his position drills in front of #NFL teams #TarHell #ChapelHill #NorthCarolinaTarHeels #Day1SportsEnt #DownWithDay1 #NFLDraft— Day 1 Sports (@Day1SportsEnt) April 4, 2018
graphics by: @Mav_Artistry pic.twitter.com/YT3jAW4hO2
Beyond what we knew already from his 40 and bench press from the Combine, that’s slightly below average in the short shuttle, 3-cone, and vertical tests and above average in the broad jump. Even those subpar measurements are far from prohibitive for an NFL prospect, though. He’s going to play.
- One of the highlights of the event was Proehl running routes with his father, longtime NFL player Ricky, acting as defensive back:
Proehl later said he had a private visit scheduled with the team for which his father was both a player and a coach, the Carolina Panthers.
- Donnie Miles put together an admirable workout, including 21 reps on the bench press, which would have been the 2nd highest total among safeties at the Combine. He was also timed in the 4.5x range in the 40, a good time for a strong safety. His profile isn’t eye-popping, but combined with his tackling production over the course of his Tar Heel career, he has shown that he can play in the NFL.
- Cam Dillard surely opened some eyes with 29 reps on the bench, which would have been 6th among offensive linemen at the Combine. Dillard is a monstrous blocker who might be better suited to guard than center. His movement scores will be important, but his ability to move defensive linemen should land him a spot in a training camp this summer.
This post will be updated when UNC makes official results public. Until then, watch these interviews with Stewart, Smith, and Proehl, containing footage from their position drills (from Inside Carolina):
UNC has published Pro Day results, minus the 40-yard dash, at GoHeels.com. Here’s a snapshot: