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2018 NFL Draft: Five prospects with work to do at pro day


The Scouting Combine can be a great opportunity for prospects to make a case for early selection in the NFL draft. However, it can also damper scouts' enthusiasm about players they were excited to see in Indianapolis if those players disappoint.

These five players either failed to impress with their combine performances, or could not perform in Indy because of injuries. Their pro day, a workout held on their school campus attended by interested league coaches and scouts, now becomes one of their last chances to make a good impression on evaluators (click here to see the pro-day schedule). The players listed below are ranked in order of their pro day's importance for their draft stock.

NOTE: Michigan DT Maurice Hurst did not work out at the combine after being diagnosed with a heart condition at the event. If he's cleared to participate in Michigan's March 23 pro day, he'll merit inclusion on this list because teams will be eager for their first chance to see him test and go through drills.

1) Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma
Pro day: March 14
Brown had one of the worst combine performances by an offensive lineman in recent history, including an abysmal 5.85 40-yard dash and just 14 reps on the bench (though his form on the bench was much better than others who took shortcuts to get higher numbers). His saving grace was his respectable 7.87-second three-cone drill. Brown's tape is not excellent, but it shows his relatively quick feet and 85-inch wingspan were enough to protect Baker Mayfield quite well.

Still, Brown must make some improvements in his bench-press number and running at his pro day to make sure teams focus on tape, and not his test results. He won't make huge leaps over a couple of weeks, but even slight improvements will help show general managers he's willing to work hard -- and that he's worthy of being picked on Day 2 (Rounds 2-3).

2) Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
Pro day: March 29
I watched every throw of Jackson's combine workout live and in person. It was not significantly different from Josh Rosen's. Yes, Jackson threw some early passes that came up short or were not quite on point -- much like Rosen. Jackson also made several nice throws that were on the money once he loosened up a bit. It was astounding to see how light his feet were in his drops given his lack of experience under center.

Jackson is listed here instead of Rosen because scouts have been dubious about the former Heisman Trophy winner's accuracy throughout the season. He needs to have a strong script for his pro day, throwing accurate short, medium, and deep passes to familiar receivers to show teams what he can do once building a rapport with his guys. That sort of workout, along with Jackson's supreme athleticism, infectious personality, and strong leadership, will convince a team to select him in the top half of the first round.

3) Martinas Rankin, OT, Mississippi State
Pro day: March 28
Rankin was not able to participate in on-field drills or athleticism testing at the combine due to an ankle injury that worried him at times during the season. Rankin did lift a solid 24 reps on the bench press in Indy, though. When healthy, he is a borderline first-round prospect because he simply does not lose off the edge, and displays the sort of aggressiveness in the run game that could allow him to play inside or outside on Sundays. Teams will want to confirm his athleticism in drills before the draft if they're going to consider using a late first-round or early second-round on him.

4) Carlton Davis, CB, Auburn
Pro day: March 9
Auburn's 6-1, 206-pound corner struggled mightily during positional workouts at the combine. He was adequately fast, with a 4.53 40, but lacked the change-of-direction ability and suddenness in his movements to stay with NFL receivers downfield. However, that is not his game. Teams know he's a physical corner who can lock up larger receivers in press coverage, but he has to improve his ability to move in space, as well as show better ball skills, at his pro day to be considered a top-50 selection in the draft.

5) Anthony Miller, WR, Memphis
Pro day: April 6
Miller didn't participate in most of the drills at the combine due to a fracture in his right foot. Miller was able to check off a couple of boxes by measuring 5-11 and putting up 22 reps on the bench, but he must exhibit his speed and agility to scouts in-person so they can accurately compare him to similar short-but-sturdy receiver prospects like Christian Kirk, D.J. Moore, and James Washington. Miller will have an advantage at his pro day if QB and fellow draft prospect Riley Ferguson utilizes their chemistry to show off for scouts.

Follow Chad Reuter on Twitter @chad_reuter.



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