With the 2021 NFL Scouting Combine operating under a different format this year, pro day workouts are taking on a heightened importance this spring. North Dakota State and Oklahoma held their pro days on Friday, giving some top 2021 NFL Draft prospects, most notably Bison QB Trey Lance, a chance to make an impression on scouts and NFL executives.
Representatives from 30 NFL teams attended the NDSU pro day, including GMs Ryan Pace (Bears), George Paton (Broncos), Mike Mayock (Raiders), Joe Douglas (Jets), John Schneider (Seahawks) and Rick Spielman (Vikings). Panthers head coach Matt Rhule and offensive coordinator Joe Brady were seen chatting with Lance after his workout.
Thirty-one teams attended Oklahoma's pro day (the Rams were the one team that did not send a representative).
How did the top prospects perform on Friday? Check out the quick rundowns below.
NOTE: Times listed below are unofficial.
North Dakota State
Ranking in Daniel Jeremiah's top 50: No. 11
Lance's performance on Friday prompted one of NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah’s scouting sources to compare him to Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen.
"Nitpick him all you want, but this is a guy who can make some special, special throws," Jeremiah said of Lance during NFL Network's Path to the Draft Pro Day Special.
The workout included 66 throws scripted to showcase passes relevant to the offenses run by quarterback-needy clubs, according to NFL Network’s Kim Jones, who was on assignment for the pro day in Fargo, North Dakota. As usual, there is a heavy presence of teams in need of a quarterback early in the draft, including five clubs with top-10 selections.
"He'd like to have a couple throws back, but this was all about horsepower. When you watch this workout today, you saw him power the football," Jeremiah said. "… You saw it from under center, you saw it from play-action, you saw it on the move, but to me, it all came down to once he put his back foot in the ground and that ball jumps.
"He was able to stretch the field with that power arm. Some touch throws down the field got away from him, particularly to the right side, but ... he is dripping with ability."
Lance emerged from recruiting obscurity in high school to become one of the top quarterback prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft class after only one full season as a starter at North Dakota State, in 2019.
NDSU played one game in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Lance's 17th career start, against Central Arkansas. The Oct. 3 showcase for Lance drew scouts from 20 NFL clubs, but wasn’t an especially strong passing performance: in a 39-28 NDSU win, Lance completed 15 of 30 passes for 149 yards and threw the only interception of his college career. He was plenty effective as a rusher, however (15-143-2). Jeremiah projects him to be selected No. 8 overall by the Carolina Panthers in his latest mock draft. Lance did not run or perform agility drills on Friday, choosing to stand on his GPS tracking numbers from the 2019 season.
Ranking in Daniel Jeremiah's top 50: No. 38
Perkins (6-foot-2, 253 pounds) ran a 4.71-second 40 on his first attempt Friday and opted against running a second time, per NFL Network’s Stacey Dales, who was on assignment in Norman, Oklahoma. Perkins posted a 32-inch vertical and a broad jump of 9 feet, 7 inches. He's projected to go 23rd overall to the Jets in Jeremiah's latest mock draft.
Humphrey ran a 5.09-second 40 and had a vertical of 33 inches at 6-4, 302 pounds. He posted a broad jump of 9 feet, 4 inches and put up 29 reps on the bench press. The reigning Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year is projected to go 50th overall to the Dolphins in NFL.com analyst Chad Reuter’s most recent mock draft.
"Creed Humphrey continues to build the momentum that he created at the Senior Bowl," said NFL Network analyst Bucky Brooks on Friday's edition of NFL Now. "This is a rock-solid player."