Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Pro Show | by Pat

Right on the heels of wooing recruits at Junior Day, ND held its first Pro Day for currently departing players looking to find work in the NFL. (No, the high schoolers weren't allowed to watch Pro Day. That's an NCAA no-no now). All 32 NFL teams showed up in some form, mainly to watch Brady Quinn, but also to check out the Irish players who were at the combine in Indy (Harris, Santucci, Landri, etc), plus Mike Richardson, Marcus Freeman, Travis Leitko, Chris Frome, and Matt Shelton, who is looking to get picked back up with a pro team.

Two teams seemed especially interested in Quinn: the Cleveland Browns and Minnesota Vikings showed up with not only their head coaches, but also their team owners. With the 3rd and 7th pick in the draft respectively, you have to imagine they were both doing their homework on Quinn to make sure they knew who they wanted to draft.

From the sound of things, Weis put Quinn through the paces for the scouts in attendance.

"We threw everything people wanted to see," Irish coach Charlie Weis said. "We put him through every throw that any NFL organization would want to see -- from moving in the pocket, to moving from the pocket, to three-step, to five-step to seven-step. I think now they have enough information to make a critical evaluation, if they didn't have enough on tape already."
The "official" take on Quinn's performance was that he had a very solid workout with only one bad pass out of the whole day of throwing.
Quinn threw 63 passes, connecting on 58 of them. On two occasions, former Irish receiver Matt Shelton got his hands on passes but couldn't pull them in. Rhema McKnight couldn't catch a 35-yard pass or a 20-yard pass he dived for. Quinn also overthrew tailback Darius Walker on a 25-yard pass.
UND.com has video of the workout and interviews with Quinn, Weis, and Harris as well as Brad Childress of the Vikings and Romeo Crennel of the Browns. If you can't view the All-Access videos, you can check out some video here of Quinn going through the passing drills as well as some clips of the various NFL reps in attendance. NBC has more video here. The agility test results from the rest of the Irish players that worked out can be found here. With a strong showing in the speed drills, Mike Richardson definitely increased his chances to hear his name called sometime during the draft. For those wondering how guys train for these type of events, Richardson worked out with a speed coach who has before and after videos (scroll down a bit) of Mike during his training.

One final note from Pro Day is that a handful of Irish players showed up to watch, including both Jimmy Clausen and Demetrius Jones. (QB Derby 2007 fever...catch it!) Other ND players who showed up are all guys likely to be going through this process next year: John Sullivan, John Carlson, Terrail Lambert, and Geoff Price.