I make it a habit after every great individual pro day workout to call the parents of the athlete and let them know. It happens a handful of times each year.
About 8 p.m. Thursday night, I called Martha Thomas, a school teacher in Dallas and mother of Stanford DL Solomon Thomas. I was telling her all about her son's high-effort, exceptional workout at Stanford's pro day when she suddenly interrupted.
"Gil," she said, "I already know; I skipped school and was there in person."
It was a pro day worth playing hooky for. Solomon (6-3 1/4, 271) stood on all of his combine numbers, but went through the paces of a defensive line workout. He showed potential to play anywhere along the line, and some defensive coordinator is going to be rubbing his hands together like a mad scientific, figuring out all the ways to use him.
Everyone at the pro day that I talked to thought it was an exceptional workout by Thomas -- one worthy of a top-three draft pick. I've seen many of the mock drafts out there. Some of the more recent ones having Thomas going to the 49ers at No. 2, but I think this is a player I'd put in the conversation for the top overall pick.
(I'd also put him in the conversation for U.S. senator or congressman when his football career is finished.)
Thomas wasn't the only star Stanford player participating in Thursday's pro day. Here are the results for some of the more notables, who worked out for representatives from 28 NFL teams outdoors on FieldTurf:
» RB Christian McCaffrey (5-11 1/4, 204) stood on all of his combine numbers. He worked out at running back, wide receiver and slot receiver. He also returned punts. He had an outstanding workout, I'm told.
» WR Michael Rector (6-0 3/8, 194) stood on all of his combine numbers with the exception of the bench press (13 lifts). he had a really good workout at wide receiver; he also worked out as a kick returner.
» PK Conrad Ukropina (6-0, 191) only did kickoffs, and looked pretty good doing it. He didn't do any of the timing events at the combine or his pro day. He's a place-kicker, so really no reason to.
WR Francis Owusu (6-2 1/2, 221) wasn't invited to the combine but he produced some eye-opening numbers on Thursday. He ran the 40 in 4.38 and 4.35 seconds, had a 39-inch vertical, a 10-foot-7 broad jump, a 4.13-second short shuttle, a 7.07-second three-cone, and added 12 bench lifts.
Other notable pro days on Thursday
All 32 teams were represented at the indoors pro day on FieldTurf. Among those watching nine players work out were eight NFL head coaches: the Patriots' Bill Belichick, Todd Bowles of the Jets, Jim Caldwell of the Lions, the Ravens' John Harbaugh, the Browns' Hue Jackson, the Bengals' Marvin Lewis, Mike Mularkey of the Titans, the Saints' Sean Payton (Saints), and the Steelers' Mike Tomlin.
» WR Noah Brown (6-2, 222) ran the 40 in 4.63 and 4.59 seconds, and stood on the rest of his combine numbers. he had an excellent workout, and he caught the ball really well in the red-zone drills run by Mularkey.
» CB Gareon Conley (6-0, 194) stood on all of his combine numbers. He looked good in his workout, and is certainly a quick-twitch athlete. he should be drafted in the top half of the first round.
» OL Pat Elflein (6-2 1/2, 299) stood on his combine numbers, and went through position drills only. This is a very accomplished linebacker who should play in the NFL for a long time.
» Safety Malik Hooker (6-1 1/8, 210) told scouts he feels like he's ahead of schedule in his recovery from hip labrum surgery in in early February, adding that he started running this week. He's got a limited football background, but I suspect he's got nothing but great things ahead. As long as he gets full medical clearance, he should be a top 10 pick.
» Punter Cameron Johnson (5-11, 194) kicked outside. He had a very good workout, especially with directional punts.
» CB Marshon Lattimore (6-0, 194) stood on all of his numbers from the combine. He had a very good workout, and caught punts.
» LB Raekwon McMillan (6-2, 241) stood on his combine numbers and went through a linebacker workout.
» WR Curtis Samuel (5-11, 196) stood on all of his combine numbers. He had what was described to me as a "lights-out" workout and was the "star of the day" among all the stars there. He worked out at running back, but the Bengals put him through wide receiver drills.
All 32 teams were represented at Utah's pro day, watching 26 players work out indoors on FieldTurf.
» DB Brian Allen (6-3 1/4, 209) had a 38-inch vertical, a 10-7 broad jump, a 4.18-second short shuttle, and stood on the rest of his combine numbers. he had a really good workout.
» OG Isaac Asiata (6-3 1/8, 323) had a 26.5-inch vertical and an 8-7 broad jump. He stood on the rest of his numbers from Indianapolis. He looked good in position drills.
» OT Garett Bolles (6-5, 300) stood on his combine numbers, but hasn't lifted yet because of a left pectoral muscle strain. His workout was described to me as "exceptional," but he's still a very raw player.
» Center J.J. Dielman (6-5, 306) did not participate in timing events or go through a workout. He's still recovering from a Lisfranc injury that cut short his final season at Utah.
» DL Pita Taumoepenu (6-1 1/4, 238) ran the 40 in 4.67 and 4.69 seconds, had a 29.5-inch vertical, a 9-1 broad jump, a 4.34-second short shuttle, and a 6.98-second three-cone. He's considered a "tweener".
» OT Sam Tevi (6-6, 304) measured an inch more than he did at the combine. He stood on all of his numbers from the combine. This is a player with big hands and long arms.
» RB Joe Williams (5-10 7/8, 208) ran one 40 in 4.42 seconds and added a 6.94-second three-cone. He stood on the rest of his combine numbers.
» Safety Marcus Williams (6-0 5/8, 202) stood on all of his numbers from Indianapolis. He had a very good pro day and is an ascending prospect.
» DE Hunter Dimick (6-3, 268) ran the 40 in 4.73 and 4.76 seconds, had a 28-inch vertical, a 9-1 broad jump, a 4.13-second short shuttle, a 7.15-second three-cone, and an incredible 38 bench lifts. He's a great competitor who will find a way to make a team. He's got a Day 3 or priority free agent projection.
» Special teams player Jason Thompson (6-1 1/2, 210) had one of the more incredible pro day performances, running the 40 in 4.44 and 4.45 seconds, with a 39.5-inch vertical, an 11-1 broad jump, a 4.01-second short shuttle, a 6.57-second three-cone, and 20 bench lifts. Obviously, he's a special athlete. But he only played on special teams at Utah, and teams are going to want to know why. Either way, he'll be a priority free agent after the draft.
Representatives from 24 teams -- including the defensive coordinators from Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and the New York Jets -- watched 15 players workout indoors on FieldTurf.
» DE Charles Harris (6-2 3/4, 249) stood on his 40 times from the combine, but had a 37.5-inch vertical, a 9-10 broad jump, a 4.40-second short shuttle, and a 7.35-second three-cone. He had an "exceptional" workout according to one scout who was there.
» DT Josh Augusta (6-3 5/8, 347) ran the 40 in 5.25 and 5.12 seconds, had a 28.5-inch vertical, a 9-0 broad jump, a 4.87-second short shuttle, a 7.90-second three-cone, and added 22 bench lifts. He wasn't invited to the combine but he should be a Day 3 draft pick.
» TE Sean Culkin (6-5 1/8, 255) ran the 40 in 4.70 and 4.72 seconds, had a 35.5-inch vertical, a 10-0 broad jump, a 4.46-second three-cone, and added 21 strength lifts. He had a good workout and should be a priority free agent after the draft.
SAN DIEGO STATE
All 32 teams were represented at SDSU's pro day, as 14 players worked out outside on FieldTurf. Two NFL defensive coordinators were on hand.
» OT Daniel Brusnskill (6-5 1/8, 268) ran the 40 in 5.18 and 5.19 seconds, had a 28.5-inch vertical, a 9-1 broad jump, a 4.72-second short shuttle, a 7.61-second three-cone, and 23 bench lifts.
» CB Damontae Kazee (5-10 1/2, 185) had a 32-inch vertical, a 4.50-second short shuttle, a 7.11-second three-cone, and stood on the rest of his combine numbers. He had a good, high-effort workout.
» RB Donnel Pumphrey (5-8, 176) stood on al of his combine numbers. The NCAA all-time leading rusher had a good workout at running back and slot receiver, and did a nice job catching the ball out of the backfield.
» OG Nico Siragusa (6-4 1/4, 312) ran a 5.32-second 40 and had a 9-0 broad jump. He stood on the rest of his combine numbers.
» WR Zay Jones (6-2 1/8, 201), who has raised his stock maybe higher than anyone since the end of the season, stood on his combine numbers, but went through an exceptional workout. Jets receivers assistant (and former UCLA head coach) Karl Dorrell was on hand. Jones also returned punts, and averted a near disaster when he crashed into a tackling dummy while fielding one kick. All in all, it was a good day for Jones, the son of former Cowboys LB Robert Jones, a first-round pick on mine in 1992.
» CB DaShaun Amos (5-11 5/8, 185) ran the 40 in 4.49 and 4.50 seconds (in a cross wind), had a 32-inch vertical, a 9-8 broad jump, a 4.09-second short shuttle, and a 7.03-second three-cone. He also added 18 bench lifts. He's considered a priority free agent after the draft.
» QB Phil Nelson (6-1 3/8, 203) ran the 40 in 4.76 and 4.88 seconds, had a 35.5-inch vertical, a 9-7 broad jump, a 4.42-second short shuttle, and a 7.08-second three-cone. He's a player some team will want to add to its camp roster.
Representatives from 11 teams watched seven players work out outside on FieldTurf. The Dolphins sent their defensive backs coach.
» CB Brendan Langley(6-0 7/8, 196) stood on all of his combine numbers, and had a very good workout, showing quick feet. He also went through punt-return drills.
» RB Kade Harrington (5-6 1/4, 184) ran the 40 in 4.56 and 4.57 seconds, had a 35-inch vertical, a 9-5 broad jump, a 4.33-second short shuttle, a 7.27-second three-cone, and added 22 bench lifts. Harrington, who saw his final season at Lamar cut short with a broken foot, scored 44 touchdowns in three-plus years. He's small but quick, and catches the ball well out of the backfield. He has a visit scheduled with the Giants.
Representatives from 20 teams watched 11 players work out indoors on FieldTurf. None of the players participated at the combine but three emerged from the pro day with free agent grades.
» OL Cole Gardner (6-5 5/8, 301) ran the 40 in 5.13 and 5.06 seconds, had a 33-inch vertical, a 9-0 broad jump, a 4.51-second short shuttle, a 7.46-second three-cone, and 16 bench lifts. He's a big guy with long arms; some team will want to see what he can do at the next level.
» DL Pat O'Connor (6-4 1/2, 277) had a 31-inch vertical, a 9-6 broad jump, a 4.36-second short shuttle, a 7.34-second three-cone, and 17 bench lifts. He also worked out at Michigan pro day, running the 40 there in 4.87 and 4.81 seconds.
» OL Andrew Wylie (6-5, 304) ran the 40 in 5.12 and 5.15 seconds, had a 34-inch vertical, a 9-7 broad jump, a 4.76-second short shuttle, a 7.46-second three-cone, and 20 strength lifts.
One team sent a representative to Maine's pro day, and it's not surprising it was the Patriots, who 1) are close by, and 2) never leave a stone unturned. New England dispatched two of its scouts to take a look at seven players (one in particular) work out indoors on FieldTurf.
» DL Patrick Ricard(6-3 3/8, 300) ran the 40 in 5.00 and 5.05 seconds, had a 36-inch vertical, an 8-10 broad jump, a 4.55-second short shuttle, a 7.52-second three-cone, and 33 bench lifts. He's a projected free agent.
Representative from 20 teams watched 12 players work out indoors on FieldTurf. Among those in attendance were Cardinals VP of Player Personnel Terry McDonough and linebackers coach Bob Sanders.
Thirteen teams sent representatives to Slippery Rock to watch 20 players work out outdoors on FieldTurf.
» CB Titus Howard (6-0 7/8, 182) ran the 40 in 4.67 and 4.71 seconds, had a 32-inch vertical, a 9-10 broad jump, a 4.63-second short shuttle, and a 7.39-second three-cone. Howard played his final two seasons at Slippery Rock after transferring from Pitt. He's a projected free agent.