In both cases, a player put his own draft stock in the crosshairs and risked doing a half-decade's worth of damage to his bank account. Both players could provide a lesson to those going through this four-month process in the future: There's often more bad than good that can come out of the run-up to the NFL draft.
See, players can affect where they're picked during this period in which no one actually plays a snap. It just doesn't happen how you think it does.
Do something really dumb, and yes, teams will go in and re-evaluate you. But the on-field stuff? The hay is largely in the barn on that once the players exchange shoulder pads and cleats for spandex and track spikes. An illusion might be created (for entertainment purposes) that NFL teams' draft boards are as volatile as the stock market, but the truth is somewhere else.
One NFC exec explained, via text, that players can help themselves "a little, but tape and live exposure is the main thing. Interviews, workouts and pro days just confirm or call for more investigation. ... Not a lot of wholesale changes on any guy. Guys may have moved a half a round or a round, when you say they've really helped themselves."
"Juniors have more volatility before and after (the season), and then still can make jumps," added a college scouting director for another team. "Top-round guys can improve maybe a round; lower-level guys tend to make bigger jumps, because there's less of a consensus. ... (But) a lot of it is the media catching up to names they didn't know."
And what of even the best performances?
"We value the spring less and less," said a college scout from an AFC team. "The specialized training really makes it where if a kid doesn't blow out the workout, it's a flag. Otherwise, nothing really changes, for the most part, other than with some underclassmen, due to limited exposure in the process."
That said, there are some guys who actually do help themselves during this time, moving the needle or changing perceptions with a noteworthy performance in workouts or interviews. So with the pro-day circuit wrapped up and teams ready to close ranks and work through internal draft meetings, it's a good time to re-set and -- while keeping all of the above in mind -- look at a few players who legitimately boosted their prospects over the past few months.
Below are 10 "risers" (presented in alphabetical order) gathered from a pool of GMs, college directors and scouts who've been on the pre-draft trail:
Fellow Clemson product Vic Beasley gets the attention, but Anthony's stock took a bigger jump, as the three-year Tiger starter had the third-fastest 40-yard-dash time and the second-fastest short-shuttle time among linebackers in Indy, then looked athletic in drills at Clemson's pro day. This year's class isn't great for inside 'backers, and Anthony has taken advantage of that fact, vaulting into the early-to-mid second-round range.
Cann's testing numbers weren't great, but his ability to move stood out during the on-field drills at South Carolina's pro day, as did his flexibility to play at center. The functional athleticism Cann has to play his position is key, as is his strength; he posted 30 reps on the bench at his pro day. Line coaches are intrigued, and Cann could sneak into the second round.
Sometimes I'll get an unsolicited text from an evaluator about a prospect. It's rare that it happens because of a guy's 40 time, but it happened during Dorsett's pro day, when he posted not one but two 40s in the 4.2-second range. That kind of speed gives Dorsett a shot at going in the first round, and gets the minds of coaches (who enter the evaluation process in January) racing.
Dupree stood out in Indy by posting a 4.56 40 at 6-foot-4 and 269 pounds, but really, his work through the offseason gauntlet has been outstanding end-to-end. And that includes the interviews, during which clubs found this freak athlete to be a great kid. Because of his athleticism, makeup and on-field motor, teams feel like they can work with him, even if he's a little raw. So he's now in play in the top 10.
Ask five different teams to identify the draft's best offensive lineman, and you might get five different answers -- with Humphries' name being among them. He played in the 280s last year at Florida, but he checked in at 307 pounds at the combine and his pro day while maintaining his athleticism and outstanding feet. In doing so, Humphries provided hope that in an NFL program, he'd be able carry that weight, drawing consideration on the fringes of the top 10.
When you set a world record at the combine, as Jones did in the broad jump, you're going to draw some attention -- and Jones has. He missed the end of his senior year with a shoulder injury, but his freakish athleticism and rock-solid size for his position (6-1, 199) has more than made up for that. Regarded as a second-rounder coming into the process, he's got a good shot at the end of Round 1 now.
A Division III prospect who's been one of the more interesting stories of the draft season, Marpet proved to be athletic at the combine, posting a sub-5.0 40 at 307 pounds, and he's shown position flexibility. Marpet has also been impressive in meetings with line coaches. With his combination of intelligence and ability, he might be a center long-term -- and a good value in the third or fourth round.
Perriman is the kind of prospect that some see as a top-20 type (with off-the-charts testing numbers to back that up) and others wouldn't draft in the first two rounds. Perriman (6-2, 212) ran a 4.25 40 at his pro day, which puts him in Dorsett's neighborhood -- with a lot more size. He's viewed by some as a project, but there's a lot to work with here.
The safety crop is lacking behind Alabama's Landon Collins, but Randall is one who's helped himself. The former junior college transfer ran a 4.46 40 at the combine, and he drew comparisons to 49ers 2014 first-rounder Jimmie Ward, because of his ability to come down and cover in the slot in nickel and dime looks. Randall has put himself in play in the second round.
Rollins played four years of basketball in Oxford before suiting up for the football team last fall -- and he went on to become the MAC Defensive Player of the Year. His speed (4.57 40 at the combine) is a concern, but he's been outstanding in workouts, showing real potential to develop as a defensive back. There are some who believe he could become an outstanding safety in time.