Thursday, March 19, 2015

Stanford Pro Day…Sights and Sounds

I just got back from Stanford’s Pro Day. This is the event where the scouts for many (if not all) NFL teams come to watch the Stanford football players who declared for the draft. Some of the players were invited to the NFL Combine in Indianapolis last month (Andrus Peat, Alex Carter, David Parry, Ty Montgomery, etc.). Others were not and this is just an opportunity for them to get in front of the teams one more time.

AJ Tarpley getting ready to run
They do various drills, are timed, etc. As I am not an NFL scout, I do not know how they evaluate these players based on these drills. I just know what I have seen on the field on Saturdays.

Stanford football has tremendous athletes and Coach David Shaw and his staff do a great job at reloading every year. I look at many of these players and wonder how they will fill that hole next year, but someone is always waiting for their shot.

This is my second Pro Day at Stanford. And no, my first Pro Day was not Andrew Luck’s. I actually watched him on TV trying to release the ball before the broom attacked. I attended the following year.

One thing you have to know about going to Pro Day at Stanford. It’s going to be hot. There is no shade, although the athletic department does put up a few umbrellas. So bring plenty of water and a hat.

Many former Stanford players show up. This year I noticed Indianapolis Colts teammates Coby Fleener and Griff Whalen, among others.

Coby Fleener on the right
Coby, who is a tight end, had a breakout season with 51 catches for 774 yards and eight touchdowns this year. Something just seemed to click this year for Coby.

“Playing under Pep Hamilton’s (Colts offensive coordinator and former Stanford OC) system helped…and people don’t realize that the stripes on the ball are different and they are coming right at you. The pro game is much different than the college game.”

I also spied Oakland Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie talking to San Jose State wide receiver Jabari Carr in the parking lot. Jabari, who had his Pro Day yesterday and enjoyed it, said, “It was fun to get back out there on the field.”

The Stanford players also shared some thoughts.

Andrus Peat, an offensive tackle, who is predicted to go in the first round of the draft, stands at 6-7, 313 pounds. He made All-Pac-12 first team, Outland Trophy quarterfinalist, Sporting News and All-America, and on and on. Andrus is the son of former NFL offensive tackle, Todd Peat, who played for the Cardinals and the Raiders.

“Today was what I expected,” he said. When asked about San Francisco 49er Chris Borland retiring earlier this week due to concerns around concussions, Andrus said, “It’s his decision. I want to play as long as I can.”

Ty Montgomery
Ty Montgomery, wide receiver (and return specialist) who finished the season with a team-high 61 receptions for 604 yards. He was a Hornung Award finalist, All-America honorable mention, All-Pac-12 second team (return specialist), etc. He lost 10 pounds of muscle between the combine last month and today.

“I was lighter and felt more flexible (today),” he said. “My emphasis was on flexibility. I got a little stiff (at the combine). I felt fast and explosive today. It’s been a little stressful and tiring, but this is what I signed up for…what I want to do. I’m very grateful to be here.”

Now, all that is left is the waiting…until their name is called on draft day(s), April 30.