How pro days have impacted quarterbacks' stock in NFL draft

Most of the major pro days have wrapped up around the country, and as a result, players are settling into their final spots on draft boards as the 2015 NFL Draft draws near.



While pro days carry varying weight for NFL clubs, they seem to be especially critical for the sport's marquee position of quarterback. Recently, NFL Media analyst Mike Mayock moved Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota ahead of Florida State's Jameis Winston in his position-by-position rankings after each drew mixed reviews at their throwing sessions.

How much did their pro-day performances affect their draft status? CFB 24/7 decided to look back at several other high-profile QB pro days the past decade and find out just how much they can change someone's stock. They might not be the best predictor of success, but pro days certainly impact the opinions teams have about quarterbacks.

2014: Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M

Stock coming in: The Heisman Trophy winner in 2012, Manziel was widely considered to be among the top two or three quarterbacks in his draft class, but opinions were split about him being the top guy.
How it went:The Aggies workout was the pro day to end all pro days. Manziel, to the surprise of many, came out for the session in pads, and there was rap music blaring throughout the team's indoor facility. Former President George H.W. Bush was even on hand to witness things in College Station. As expected, Manziel made just about every throw, looking especially sharp on his deep ball. He moved well in the pocket, and his footwork under center was good. In short, he did everything great.
Stock afterward:Manziel shot to the top of many analysts' quarterback rankings, but a few moved him no higher than No. 2 despite the flawless workout.
The skinny:Few pro days were scripted any better, and Manziel certainly used his workout to his advantage. He generated more buzz about him than any other prospect in the draft, and it helped propel him into the first round, even generating some talk that he could be the No. 1 overall pick of the Houston Texans. Obviously, things haven't turned out quite as well for Manziel so far with the Cleveland Browns.

2014: Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville

Stock coming in: Bridgewater was considered the most pro-ready signal-caller in the draft, and most believed he would be the first quarterback taken, perhaps even at No. 1 overall.
How it went:Not great, to say the least. Bridgewater threw without his gloves and seemed to be out of sorts mechanically. His accuracy wasn't great, and he looked uncomfortable throughout. He missed big, he missed low, and NFL Media analyst Mike Mayock labeled it an "average at best" pro day.
Stock afterward:Firmly down. Most analysts re-evaluated Bridgewater and moved him behind Manziel and Blake Bortles after the disappointing workout. A few still held up his tape and kept him in the top spot among QBs.
The skinny:Bridgewater serves as a cautionary tale about how a prospect's draft stock can sometimes take on a life of its own beyond his film. His stock plummeted by draft day, but that turned out to be a blessing in disguise for the Vikings, who snagged a franchise player at the bottom of the first round.

2013: Matt Barkley, USC

Stock coming in: In a weak year for quarterbacks, Barkley was considered to be one of the top players at the position, thanks to his pedigree and his experience playing in a pro-style system. He was ranked by most behind West Virginia's Geno Smith, but some thought Barkley was better suited to the NFL game.
How it went:It was not a perfect pro day, but Barkley gave a solid effort. He looked good on deep balls but was unable to showcase the arm strength some were looking for.
Stock afterward:About the same. Once mentioned as a possible top-10 pick after his junior year, the reality of the NFL draft process pushed him down to the fourth round.
The skinny:Few quarterbacks have seen their stock slip more over a one-year period than Barkley did, and the mixed reviews from his pro day didn't slow things down. He went surprisingly late in the draft before Eagles coach Chip Kelly selected him, and he's been on the team as a backup ever since.

2012: Andrew Luck, Stanford

Stock coming in: Luck was considered to be the best quarterback prospect coming out of college since Peyton Manning.
How it went:Flawless. As expected, everything that made Luck a great prospect was on display. There was great footwork, top-notch accuracy, and an impeccable deep ball. Luck even showed off his ability to move in the pocket, courtesy of QB guru George Whitfield chasing him with a broom during his throwing session.
Stock afterward:Even, considering he was viewed as a near lock to go No. 1 overall.
The skinny:It's hard to raise or lower your stock when you're Andrew Luck.

2012: Robert Griffin III, Baylor

Stock coming in:RG3 was considered the No. 2 quarterback in the draft behind Andrew Luck.
How it went:In front of a packed house at the biggest pro day Baylor's indoor facility had ever seen, Griffin showed off just what he needed to with a variety of throws all over the field. His footwork was solid, his velocity was top-notch, and he managed to showcase a number of throws he didn't make regularly in college.
Stock afterward:About the same, if not pointed up a little.
The skinny:There was some talk that Griffin was starting to be considered by the Colts atop the draft after his workout, but ultimately he was drafted at the spot everyone had projected before his pro day. Following the Redskins' trade up to get him, he turned in a Rookie of the Year campaign.

2011: Cam Newton, Auburn

Stock coming in: Newton's physical talent was undeniable, but he was being mentioned as a first-rounder only based on his upside, not where he was coming out of college.
How it went:Newton struggled at the NFL Scouting Combine after throwing but looked much better in his pro day in the familiar confines of Jordan-Hare Stadium. He showed off his big arm and the ability to drive the ball, but there were a few accuracy issues. Still, there were plenty of moments that showed he was still raw.
Stock afterward:Mixed. Newton was viewed in a better light after the workout, but he was not being talked about as the No. 1 overall pick just yet.
The skinny:There were a ton of questions about Newton, and most were skeptical the Panthers would use the No. 1 overall pick on him after selecting Jimmy Clausen in the second round just a year before. Still, he started to shoot up draft boards in the run-up to the draft and ended up being the No. 1 pick.

2010: Sam Bradford, Oklahoma

Stock coming in: Bradford was already being mentioned as the No. 1 pick in the draft.
How it went:Just about perfect. NFL Media analyst Gil Brandt said it was the best QB workout he'd seen since Troy Aikman. It was a big moment for Bradford, proving his shoulder was fine after he'd had surgery, and he did just about everything that was asked of him.
Stock afterward:Bradford essentially solidified himself as the No. 1 overall pick.
The skinny:Bradford is a semi-cautionary tale, considering he was one of the last players to get a big-money deal as a top pick, only to see injuries rob him of his early years. It's hard to have a better pro day than he had, though, and that was enough to convince the Rams' brass he was their guy.

2010: Tim Tebow, Florida

Stock coming in: There were believers in Tebow based on his intangibles, but many scouts and coaches were skeptical he was one of the top quarterbacks in the draft.
How it went:By most accounts, it enhanced his stock. One of the most decorated quarterbacks coming out of college in some time, Tebow showed off an improved throwing motion and had solid footwork under center. Still, he remained a controversial prospect in draft circles, and a still-slow release didn't change opinions too much.
Stock afterward:Tebow was widely viewed as a project, but he certainly gained momentum after his workout in Gainesville. Most thought he wouldn't go in the first round, and talk persisted that he should play another position in the NFL.
The skinny:Tebow's intangibles helped his stock as much as his improved throwing motion did. He was a surprise selection in the first round by the Denver Broncos. He ultimately helped Denver notch a playoff victory, but he flamed out of the league just as quickly.

2007: JaMarcus Russell, LSU

Stock coming in: After outplaying fellow top prospect Brady Quinn in a big bowl win, Russell's obvious physical tools made him a likely first-rounder. He had immense upside, with his strong arm and ability to move around and hit every throw.
How it went:NFL Media analyst Mike Mayock is fond of saying that Russell's pro day was the best ever for any quarterback. He nailed every throw and launched the deep ball with his cannon of an arm. The hype train started to run away for Russell after a flawless day.
Stock afterward:Raiders owner Al Davis seemed to be convinced after the workout, and the team was closely associated, despite then-coach Lane Kiffin not being sold, with Russell being taking first overall.
The skinny:The gold standard of pro days is often pointed to being the beginning of the end for Russell, who is among the biggest NFL draft busts of all time. His stock was never higher, and that likely contributed to his eventual contract holdout, which hampered his development early in his rookie year. As good as his work was at LSU, it never translated in the NFL.

Check out the top prospects for the 2015 NFL Draft in action at their on-campus pro days.

2006: Vince Young, Texas

Stock coming in: Young was linked to his hometown Houston Texans and the No. 1 overall pick after he capped a stellar college career with a national title. Still, he was widely viewed as a project under center in the NFL.
How it went:At his pro day in Austin, Young looked sharp in front of a throng of scouts, coaches, and media members. He displayed quick footwork and worked almost exclusively under center. Mix in his ability to sprinkle the ball all over the field, and Young certainly helped himself.
Stock afterward:Pointing up. While he remained a long shot to go first overall, he was neck and neck with the other top quarterbacks based on his upside.
The skinny:Young was all over the map going into the draft and could have been the first QB taken or the third, behind Matt Leinart and Jay Cutler. The Titans' ownership fell in love with him, making Young the first QB selected, and Young turned in a good rookie season.

2006: Matt Leinart, USC

Stock coming in: Leinart was considered by many to be the top quarterback prospect in the draft, and the Titans hiring his former offensive coordinator, Norm Chow, didn't hamper speculation they'd make him the first QB off the board.
How it went:There are no attendance records kept for pro days, but USC's 2006 workout probably holds the record after throngs of scouts, coaches, media, and plenty of fans packed the Trojans' campus to see an immense group of NFL prospects. Leinart wasn't even the most highly touted prospect at the workout -- Reggie Bush was -- but he had a solid but not spectacular throwing session that essentially solidified his status as a top-10 pick.
Stock afterward:Even. Leinart neither helped nor hurt himself.
The skinny:The pro day marked the start of nitpicking season over Leinart, and after the Titans surprisingly passed on him to take Vince Young, Leinart wound up with the Cardinals at pick No. 10.

2005: Alex Smith, Utah

Stock coming in: Smith was viewed as one of the players being considered for the top quarterback spot and No. 1 overall pick.
How it went:In his personal pro-day workout, Smith wowed those on hand with his ability to hit all the throws, and he surprised with his solid work under center after operating mostly in the shotgun in college. He cleared up most of his shortcomings on tape and convinced NFL scouts that he had what it took to be a starter at the next level.
Stock afterward:Up. Smith made the race to be the No. 1 pick a two-man game and apparently convinced 49ers brass he had a leg up over his rival from from Cal, Aaron Rodgers.
The skinny:Smith was one of the big names among spread quarterbacks whose ability to transition to the NFL was in question, but a strong workout helped him go first overall.

2005: Aaron Rodgers, California

Stock coming in: Rodgers was one of the players considered to go No. 1 overall and was viewed as the top QB in the draft.
How it went:Rodgers' workout came just a day after Smith's, and it continued the debate over who should go No. 1 overall. He was crisp on his passes and displayed the trademark quick release that would eventually earn him an early first-round grade. Still, it didn't appear he was able to create enough separation with Smith.
Stock afterward:Even. Rodgers did everything he could to showcase why he was the top player in the draft.
The skinny:Who could forget the look on Rodgers' face during his memorable draft-day slide? He got the last laugh, though, winning a Super Bowl ring and an MVP award after a slow start in Green Bay.

You can follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.

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