Dez Stewart is a wide receiver from Columbus, Ohio. No, he's not one of the 15 or so Ohio State players who could get drafted at the end of this month. Same city, wrong school.
Stewart played ball at Ohio Dominican, a private liberal arts college with just over 3,000 students. The football team competes at the D-II level in something called the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
It's not exactly breeding ground for NFL talent. But the beauty of pro days is that you can go almost anywhere and get noticed. Just ask Moritz Boehringer.
And now Stewart, who after his pro day last month drew the attention of the Seattle Seahawks. So intrigued that they are using one of their 30 pre-draft team visits on the little-known wideout.
An incredibly smart athlete, Stewart (6-0, 203) had great workouts at both Ohio Dominion and Toledo. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.41 and 4.44 seconds, had a vertical jump of 36 inches, a broad jump of 10 feet 2 inches, a short-shuttle run of 4.30 seconds, and a three-cone drill of 7 seconds flat.
His 4.41 40 would have ranked third among the wide receivers tested at the NFL Scouting Combine in February, and all of his other marks would have ranked competitively. But like so many other great college athletes, Stewart wasn't invited to the combine. That's where pro days can help.
As pro days come to a close, here are 15 other players, in alphabetical order, who weren't invited to the combine but performed well enough at their pro day to earn a draftable grade:
Isiah Cage, OT, Wisconsin-Eau Claire
Cage (6-foot 3/4, 313 pounds) worked out at Wisconsin's pro day on March 9. He's a small-school offensive lineman with good strength and athleticism. He has a chance at the next level with NFL coaching.
» Pro day results: 40: 5.26, 5.29 seconds | VJ: 28 inches | BJ: 8 feet, 3 inches | Short shuttle: 5.51 seconds | Three-cone: 8.9 seconds | Bench: 26 reps of 225 pounds
Grant (5-5 7/8, 165) made some headlines at his March 11 pro day when two tweets -- one from an agent and another from the brother of a famous NFL QB -- had him 40-timed in the 4.1 range. In actuality, he averaged 4.4 seconds on his two runs. Still fast, and enough to get him a look in the NFL as a return specialist.
» Pro day results: 40: 4.38, 4.42 | VJ: 36 1/2 | BJ: 9-9 | Short shuttle: 4.06 | Three-cone: 7.01 | Bench: 15
A lot of the attention at Boise State's pro day on March 31 was on DE Kamalei Correa, who solidified his first-round stature at the event. But Henry (6-2 5/8, 299) didn't go unnoticed by the representatives there from all 32 NFL teams. He's a tough, hard-nosed player, and very strong. He reminds me of Denver Broncos center Matt Paradis, whom Henry replaced at Boise.
Holmes (6-2 1/4, 253) is a super-productive (18 sacks in 2015 led all FCS defenders), strong and athletic player. Vikings defensive line coach Andre Patterson made a special trip to Missoula on March 21 to watch Montana's pro day. He left thinking Holmes reminded him a lot of Everson Griffin.
» Pro day results: 40: 4.6, 4.6 | VJ: 37 1/2 | BJ: 9-5 | Short shuttle: 4.28 | Three-cone 7.1 | Bench: 28
Hunter (5-11 1/8, 205) switched between linebacker and safety during his career at Marshall, playing linebacker as a freshman, then moving to safety as a sophomore, and then moving back to linebacker for his final two seasons. He was quick in his pro-day workout, and also showed good ball skills.
» Pro day results: 40: 4.37, 4.38 | VJ: 39 | BJ: 10-10 | Short shuttle: 4.2 | Three-cone: 6.88 | Bench 14
Marcus Johnson, WR, Texas
Had he been invited to the combine, Johnson (6-0 7/8, 204) would have been the strongest wide receiver there; he had 22 bench reps at Texas' pro day on March 23. His other numbers, including an 11-3 broad jump, stood out to the 31 teams that sent representatives to Austin. He did a nice job catching the ball, too.
» Pro day results: 40: 4.38, 4.45 | VJ: 37 | BJ: 11-3 | Short shuttle: 4.39 | Three-cone: 7.26 | Bench 22
Dillon Lee, LB, Alabama
Dillon (6-3 5/8, 240) had a strong pro day on March 9, particularly in position drills where he displayed good movement and change-of-direction. He's athletic enough to play all three downs.
Mitch Mathews, WR, BYU
The first thing you notice about Mathews is his huge hands (10 3/8 inches) and height (6-5 5/8). He looked good at BYU's pro day on March 25 running routes and catching the ball. Along with his size, he has the athleticism and speed needed to excel in the NFL.
» Pro day results: 40: 4.47, 4.49 | VJ: 36 | BJ: 10-9 | Short shuttle: 4.25 | Three-cone: 6.99 | Bench 12
Greg Milhouse, Jr., DT, Campbell
Milhouse (6-1 3/8, 295) worked out at Campbell's pro day on March 21. He started his college career at Appalachian State, then transferred to Campbell. He played end and tackle in college, but he's a DT in the NFL. He's a good athlete, competes hard, and is very strong.
» Pro day results: 40: 4.90, 4.92 | VJ: 34 1/2 | BJ: 10-1 | Short shuttle: 4.33 | Three-cone: 7.23 | Bench: 26
Only two NFL representatives (Arizona Cardinals, Carolina Panthers) showed up for New Mexico's pro day on March 10, but Pressley (5-10 1/8, 206) did more than enough to get noticed. He showed outstanding speed (his 40 time would have been the second-best mark at the combine among RBs), quickness and strength. I wouldn't be surprised if some team grabbed him in the sixth round.
» Pro day results: 40: 4.38, 4.41 | VJ: 33 1/2 | BJ: 9-9 | Short shuttle: 4.06 | Three-cone: 6.92 | Bench: 25
Nick Ritcher, OT, Richmond
» Pro day results: 40: 5.25, 5.27 | VJ: 29 | BJ: 8-10 | Short shuttle: 4.80 | Three-cone: 7.39 | Bench: 25
Brandon Ross, RB, Maryland
Ross (5-10, 210) worked out at Maryland's pro day on March 30 in front of an NFL contingent that included Browns executive Sashi Brown. He has speed and quickness, and is coming off a stellar senior season in which he rushed for 958 yards (6.4 average) with 10 touchdowns.
» Pro day results: 40: 4.40 | VJ: 37 1/2 | BJ: 9-10 | Short shuttle: 4.28 | Three-cone: 6.75 | Bench 10
Arturo Uzdavinis, OT, Tulane
Uzdavinis (6-4, 316) has long arms (35 inches), the type you want in a tackle. The 35-inch vertical he jumped at Tulane's March 17 pro day lets you know he's an explosive athlete. He might need time to develop in the NFL.
» Pro day results: 40: 5.36, 5.31 | VJ: 35 | BJ: 9-9 | Short shuttle: 4.87 | Three-cone: 7.97 | Bench: 16
Walker (6-2 3/8, 236) got the attention of the 32 team reps at Oregon's March 10 pro day who were there to see his defensive teammate, DeForest Buckner. Walker's performance might have earned him a draft position as high as the sixth round.
» Pro day results: 40: 4.56, 4.58 | VJ: 37 1/2 | BJ: 10-4 | Short shuttle: 4.31 | Three-cone: 6.81 | Bench 23
Jonathan Woodard, DE, Central Arkansas
The Cincinnati Bengals sent their defensive line coach to see Woodard (6-4 7/8, 271) work out at Central Arkansas' March 17 pro day, and he saw a pretty good performance by the defensive end. Good athlete and very strong.
» Pro day results: 40: 4.88, 4.89 | VJ: 34 | BJ: 9-9 | Short shuttle: 4.40 | Three-cone: 7.08 | Bench 28