Thursday, March 11, 2010

BYU Pro Day and NFL Draft Projections

Seven players from BYU’s 2009 team and two from previous teams, worked out in front of 20 NFL scouts on Wednseday as part of BYU’s pro day on campus. You can read the official BYU press release and check out photos here.

Dennis Pitta, Manase Tonga, and Max Hall were among 300 or so players invited to work out for scouts at last month’s invite only NFL combine, and took the chance at the Pro Day to build on what they had already accomplished. Jan Jorgensen, Shawn Doman, Andrew George, and Tevita Hola were the other players from the 2009 team to get a shot at impressing someone enough to get picked up either through the draft or as a free agent. A couple of semi-surprises from those that didn’t participate—Matt Bauman (who was just named recipient of an NCAA graduate scholarship), Coleby Clausen, Brett Denney, and RJ Willing—although perhaps they have already assessed their chances and decided to move on.

Jonny Harline and Curtis Brown represented the 2006 team at the workout, both of them determined to give it one last best shot before moving on. Good for them. Both have been busy of late, as Harline’s rock band membership has been well-publicized and Brown has been working as a pharmaceutical sales rep.

So how did everyone do and what is the current draft forecast? Let’s look at them in order likely draft status. There are numerous draft services, but I tried to use a mix of selective and comprehensive (see links at end of article for sources and commentary):

Dennis Pitta
Pitta had a fantastic combine performance already and so he used the Pro day to show off his skills blocking and catching. At the combine he ran a 4.63 in the 40 (third among TE’s), did 27 reps of 225 lbs (second), 6.72 seconds in the 3 cone drill (first), 4.17 seconds in the 20 yd shuttle (first), and 11.53 seconds in the 60 yard shuttle (first), 9.5’ broad jump (tied for fifth), and 34” vertical jump (tied for seventh). Here is where various services project him:

ESPN: position rank 6, overall 80 (mid third round)
Scouts, Inc : grade 77 position rank 7, draft round 3-4 position rank 4, overall 76, draft round 2-3

Max Hall
Hall had a rather so-so combine performance and was looking to improve his 40 time in particular. He clocked 4.84 at the combine, but turned in a 4.72 at BYU’s pro day (same as Tim Tebow), a significant improvement. His other combine scores: 32” vertical jump (seventh among QB’s), 7.07 seconds on the 3 cone drill (tied for sixth), 4.35 seconds on the 20 yard shuttle (sixth) and did not rank in the other drills. He demonstrated his accuracy today as he showed the scouts that he can make all the throws, and is trying to overcome his size (at 6’1”, 209 he is smaller than most NFL teams would like) and get a shot at an NFL roster. Max is likely to be a late rounder or a free agent pick up.

ESPN: position rank 19, overall n/a
Scouts Inc: grade 30 position rank 15, draft round 6-7 position rank 15, overall 277, draft round 7-FA

Manase Tonga
Not many NFL teams use a true fullback anymore (or colleges for that matter), but with that in mind, Tonga has elite skills at a position that is not necessarily in high demand, although teams that use a fullback are paying close attention. At the combine, Tonga’s performance with thrown in with all of the running backs, so only his bench of 19 reps at 225 (tied for eighth) ranked among the top scores, but he also turned in a 4.85 second 40. He tried to improve on those measurements again at Pro Day, but he has not yet talked about his performance.

ESPN: position rank 3, overall n/a
Scouts Inc: grade 41 position rank 3, draft round 6-7 position rank 7, overall 300, draft round 7-FA

Jan Jorgensen
Jorgensen had really only one shot to impress the scouts and wasn’t satisfied with his performance. He ran a 4.9 second 40 and put up 29 reps on of 225. He is hoping to get a shot at a roster via free agency, where his football skills will come through.

ESPN: position rank 33, overall n/a
Scouts Inc: 30 not ranked position rank 34, overall 409

Andrew George
George played in the shadow of Pitta for most of his time at BYU, and also used pro day as his only shot to show scouts what he can do. He ran a 4.7 second 40, and spent time showing off his hands on the other end of Hall’s arm. He is likely hoping for a shot via free agency.

ESPN: not rated
Scouts Inc: not rated not rated position rank 31, overall 590

Shawn Doman
Doman had a solid career at BYU and no doubt used the pro day to put his best foot forward on a childhood dream of playing in the NFL. He will likely be a long shot via free agency.

ESPN: not rated
Scouts Inc: not rated not rated position rank 182, overall 999

Tevita Hola
Tevita is in a similar situation as Shawn Doman and his NFL dreams will hinge on a long shot at free agency.

ESPN: not rated
Scouts Inc: not rated not rated not rated

A few other BYU seniors have shown up on scout boards, despite not working out, and although are unlikely to get picked up, could get a shot via free agency.

Coleby Clausen
ESPN: position rank 38, overall n/a
Scouts Inc: grade 30

Brett Denney position rank 55, overall 618

Matt Bauman position rank 35, overall 999

Terrence Hooks position rank 156, overall 999

So, with the NFL draft coming up on April 22-24, it looks like Pitta is a lock to get drafted. Hall and Tonga are hopeful on the draft and locks on free agency. Jorgensen and George have the best possibilities of a free agency pick up.

1. ESPN-- ESPN Draft Tracker
2. Official NFL Scouting Combine-- NFL Combine Top Performers
3. CBS/ CBS Sports / NFL Draft Tracker


  1. Any thoughts on Brown and Harline?

  2. Good question. First off, these guys deserve a hand for putting in the work and being willing to take a risk to find out once and for all if their dream of making it in the NFL can become reality. I imagine most of us could find a similar circumstance in our own life to apply their example to.

    That said, neither of them will be drafted, since they are already essentially free agents and if a team wanted them, they could sign them now. If their performances were good enough at Pro Day to warrant another look from teams, then they might get picked up by a camp for a shot at making the roster, or even the practice squad as a couple of players did last year (Nixon, Bright, Reynolds, Vakapuna).

    I don't know the specifics of all of their times, but reportedly (TBS) Brown is now up to 221 and ran a low 4.6, which wouldn't rank him among the top combine performers, but maybe would get him a shot at a camp given his hands.

    I haven't heard Harline's numbers from this year's pro day, but in 2007 he ran a 4.84 at the combine and a 4.76 on pro day, with 15 reps at 225, 28.5" vertical jump, 8'10" broad jump, 4.68 20-yard shuttle, and 7.05 three cone drill (would have been fifth in this years combine, just ahead of Jermain Gresham). One positive for him, is that any team looking for a tight end, probably had scouts at BYU on Wed and he would have been able to meet them personally and show them his stuff.