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2021 NFL Draft: Early Pro Day winners

Standouts from first batch of college pro days

Without the benefit of a formal, televised NFL Scouting Combine, the focus this late in the draft process has solely been on college’s respective spring Pro Day workouts. Without the proverbial “Underwear Olympics,” Pro Days are now the only place where teams have access to clear athletic testing numbers as well as medical information for NFL prospects. This increased emphasis has meant that most these college events have been extremely well-attended by team scouting departments. For example, NFL Network reported on Thursday that Auburn’s Pro Day drew representatives from 30 NFL teams.

This late in March, we’re already through the first batch of events, including those from big programs like, Wisconsin, Clemson and the aforementioned Auburn. Along with the NFL scouts, the NFL reporting community has descended on these colleges. In doing so, it has been helpful in tallying the testing results, which prospects aren’t meeting the particular height/weight/speed thresholds, and defining particular standouts. Below are some of the players who have made good use of the events to raise their draft stock.

Joseph Ossai EDGE (Texas)

A former off-the-ball linebacker who made the difficult transition to edge rusher, Ossai coming in and weighing 256 lbs was already a win. Then he put up insane testing numbers to go with the weigh-in, to the tune of a 4.63 second 40-yard dash, a 41.5 inch vertical, and a 131” broad jump. Granted, it wasn’t in a true sequestered setting, but to put those numbers into perspective, that’s almost the same speed as Robert Quinn, the same vertical as Myles Garrett and about the same broad jump as Haason Reddick in 2017, who weighed 20 lbs less than Ossai. These athletic traits should unequivocally make him a first rounder. The question with Ossai is his ability to learn the nuances of the position.

Robert Rochell CB (Central Arkansas)

It’s small-school players like Rochell who are getting the short end of the stick with the lack of a full combine in Indianapolis. Stuck at Central Arkansas, Rochell definitely was able to standout during his time there. However, when his chance came at the Senior Bowl, he performed average-to-sloppy. His Pro Day was a chance to re-focus the discussion on his potential, and his testing numbers have done just that, which included a 4.39 40-yard dash and a 43” vertical. That’s a leap comparable to Byron Jones and a run equivalent to…well plenty of corners, but let’s go with Bradley Roby.

Seth Williams WR (Auburn)

Williams was in the spotlight plenty at Auburn, but while his ability to catch everything and highpoint the ball using all of his 6’3” size was frequently on display, he never seemed to earn much separation from defensive backs. That inevitably led to questions about his true speed, which he appears to have waylaid thanks to a 4.5-second 40-yard dash time. It’s not a blazing time and Williams isn’t expected to be a first or even second-round player, but at that size, he at least compares favorably to players like Kenny Golladay or CeeDee Lamb.

Dillon Radunz OT (North Dakota State)

A strong performance at the Senior Bowl already had Radunz’s draft stock flying high, but then the former teammate of Trey Lance put up bench (24 reps) and jump numbers (32” vertical) similar to players like Nate Solder and Joel Bitonio. Considered to be a second- or even third-rounder during the season, the strong offseason may have pushed Radunz into fringe first-round consideration.