Tampa, FLA – Anytime an offensive player steps onto the field for a workout session, NFL scouts are eager to witness some action. Who will make the most exciting catch? Who will run the fastest? Who will be that guy to steal the show?
Starting with the offensive line, SMU’s Mason Gentry performed as if he has played on the O-line since he came out of his mother’s womb. He is light on his feet and moves brilliantly.
Gentry executed all his drills flawlessly. The 6-5, 300-pound lineman demonstrated great speed as he sprinted during his long pull and short pull power drills. He increased his value across the board.
According to the forecast for fullbacks, Luke McNitt of Nebraska/Kearney showed no fogs or cloudiness for the position. He is light on his feet and moves extremely well. McNitt will make a home on some team’s roster starting as a special teams’ ace.
Holy Cross’ Peter Pujals throws a pretty ball. He has great velocity on each pass he throws. No matter if he rolls to his left or right, Pujals’ zip on the ball is there. Not one pass the 6-2, 215-pound signal caller threw at the RCI was a bad one.
Quarterbacks are difficult to examine at the NFL Regional Combine due to the unfamiliar pass catchers. Pujals dictated to the receivers how his balls were coming and they had to adjust to his throws, which were not challenging because the pigskin was there.
While Pujals displayed a solid touch, Alex McGough of Florida International had the stronger arm. McGough’s passes came out quicker and were sharp. He stood tall, knew exactly where he wanted the ball to be and forced the pass catchers to get to their spots for the completion.
John Diarse II (TCU), Steven Dunbar Jr. (Houston) and Jawill Davis (Bethune-Cookman) showcased their hands which led to a good showing. Despite being a sift in his movement, Anthony Mahoungou of Purdue made catching the ball look easy.
Vyncint Smith of Limestone College has great concentration. When the ball was high, he went higher and when the ball went low, he went lower. Smith breaks off his routes extremely well.
Clearly, some players showed up, but one showed out.
North Carolina wide receiver Austin Proehl was the toast of the afternoon, and he stole the show.
Honestly, the RCI became the Austin Proehl Invitational.
Proehl nearly wowed every NFL scout in attendance. He is quick, popped out on all his breaks and ran his routes with perfection.
All good receivers catch balls with their hands. Proehl catches his passes with his fingers…aggressively.
After all the breathtaking action Proehl provided, the Over Shoulder Catch Drill was the one exercise the scouts wanted to see the 5-10, 180-pound execute.
“Track it, track it,” whispered one NFL personnel director under his breath when the ball started to descend towards Proehl. When Proehl kicked in to gear and hauled the ball in, another scout remarked, “That’s all I needed to see.”
Living in the shadow of a great name in sports can be a challenge or a blessing. Proehl is the son of NFL veteran Ricky Proehl, who had a great 17-year career in the NFL and won two Super Bowls. Proehl probably feels the pressure of his father’s success.
Not only will Proehl be drafted, he will also be the next big name in the NFL to come from the Regional Combine platform.
And, he has earned the opportunity to continue to make the Proehl name great.