With the 2021 NFL Scouting Combine operating under a different format this year, pro day workouts are taking on a heightened importance this spring. Miami and North Carolina were among the schools that held their pro days on Monday, giving some top 2021 NFL Draft prospects a chance to make an impression on scouts and NFL executives.
Thirty-one NFL teams sent representatives to the UNC pro day. The Rams were the only squad that did not attend. Head coaches Bill Belichick (Patriots), Brian Flores (Dolphins) and Joe Judge (Giants) were among the attendees at Miami's pro day.
How did the top talents perform? Check out the quick rundowns below.
NOTE: Times listed below are unofficial.
Ranking in Daniel Jeremiah's top 50: No. 13
Scouts had a chance to get a look at Rousseau for the first time in a while, as he opted out of the 2020 season after a monster 2019 campaign that saw him finish second in the nation in sacks (15.5) to Chase Young (16.5). The high school wide receiver turned college edge rusher was clocked at 4.69 seconds in the 40-yard dash by one NFL scout who was on hand for the event, per Reese's Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy.
He has rare size and length, measuring nearly 6-foot-7 and 266 pounds with an 11-inch hand and 83 1/4-inch wingspan. He posted marks of 30 inches in the vertical jump, 9 feet, 7 inches in the broad jump and 21 reps on the bench press. Rousseau is NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks' top-rated edge rusher in the 2021 NFL Draft, but he was outshined by his teammate listed below on Monday.
Ranking in Daniel Jeremiah's top 50: No. 22
Phillips, Brooks' No. 2 edge rusher in this year's class, drew a big reaction from the crowd at the Hurricanes' pro day with a 40 of 4.56 seconds, per NFL Network reporter Sara Walsh, who was on assignment in Coral Gables, Florida. That's a tremendous time for a player who weighed in at 260 pounds. He also showed his explosiveness with a 36-inch vertical jump and broad jump of 10 feet, 5 inches, according to Nagy.
There's no doubt Phillips is one of the most talented players in this year's draft class, but durability will be a big factor in his evaluation, given his injury history at UCLA (where he played in 2017 and '18 before transferring to Miami). If not for those concerns, Phillips might be in the conversation to go in the top 10 this year, per NFL.com draft guru Daniel Jeremiah.
Ranking in Daniel Jeremiah's top 50: No. 26
Williams, who rates as Brooks' No. 3 RB in the draft, posted a time of 4.55 seconds in the 40-yard dash. While that result isn't going to generate a ton of buzz, NFL Network analyst and former personnel executive Marc Ross doesn't see it as a significant strike against a player who's known more for his power and contact balance anyway.
"Javonte Williams has unbelievable vision, he has unbelievable balance and feet," said Ross during Monday's edition of NFL Now. "The big concern when you watched him on film, though, was did he have that explosiveness and home run speed? He did run the (4.55) today, so that will be the concern for those who did have concerns about the speed. He didn't really blow it out with that, but that is not his game. His game is the power, his game is the shiftiness, his game is the grind-it-out-type style that does suit itself well for the NFL."
Coming off a 19-touchdown season in 2020 (third-most in the FBS), Williams posted a 36-inch vertical jump, broad jump of 10 feet, 3 inches, 4.09-second short shuttle, 6.93-second three-cone drill and 22 bench-press reps on Monday, per the school.
Carter, the other half of college football's top running back tandem in 2020, was a touch faster than Williams on Monday, running the 40 in 4.50 seconds. He really showed off his burst in the short shuttle and three-cone drill, with times of 3.98 seconds and 6.87 seconds, per UNC. Carter had a vertical jump of 34 inches, a broad jump of 9 feet, 11 inches and performed 16 reps on the bench press.
Brooks identified Brown as a prospect who made money with his performance at the pro day. After measuring 6-0 5/8 and 189 pounds, Brown ran a 4.44-second 40 and reached 35.5 inches in the vertical jump.
"I think he has to be at the top of the list of the (No. 2 WRs) in terms of a deep-ball specialist, a big-play weapon opposite an established No. 1," Brooks said during Monday's edition of Path to the Draft. "I think Dyami Brown is going to have a fantastic NFL career. I expect him to hear his name called on Day 2 (of the draft)."
Surratt made the bold decision to switch from quarterback to linebacker two years ago, and he's a step closer to realizing his dream of playing in the NFL after a good showing on Monday. He ran an impressive 4.6 40 at 229 pounds and put the bar up 25 times on the bench press. He also recorded a 31.5-inch vertical jump, a 4.18-second short shuttle and 7.03-second three-cone drill.