No Texas A&M pro day will ever be like Johnny Day in 2014; in fact, no pro day will ever match that one, anywhere on this earth. That was a circus to say the least. However, this year's Texas A&M pro day was a highly-attended event with, at least, a pair of general managers in the house, all 32 teams represented and a crowd of family and friends on hand to watch the proceedings.
Mostly, the scouts came to see the large throng of Aggie players headed to the NFL, knowing full well that projected number one pick Myles Garrett wasn't going to do much that day. Garrett did say after the combine that he wanted to run and beat his time in the 40 and he did that, running 4.62 at 272 lb., which is not human. He didn't need to do any other drill and didn't, choosing to stand on his results from Indianapolis. One Hall of Fame player, now coach, attempted to coax him into doing some outside linebacker drills and Garrett said no. The coach turned back around with a smile on his face as if to say, yeah, it's cool, but I had to try.
Look, he didn't even need to show up and he'd still be the number one pick. But, he did, and considering some of the controversy that's evolved surrounding pro days after Washington's Sidney Jones tore his Achilles at his pro day, it was a good look that Garrett chose to even run his 40 again.
The day was mainly about a few talented Aggies that didn't have a chance, or didn't choose, to do much at the combine. One of those players is the mercurial Speedy Noil. I remember seeing Noil first at a high school combine-like event back in 2013. I noticed him with his gold chrome shoes, strut and beaming smile and asked one of the recruiting gurus who he was.
"OH, that's Speedy."
The Noil wasn't needed and he proceeded to win the offensive MVP for the day after doing about 50 percent of the drills. His high school highlight tape was legendary, and when he declared for Texas A&M, Aggie fans were overjoyed. Alas, Noil never came close to living up to expectations with a myriad of off the field issues, which then impacted his play on the field. But, the one thing that no one in the building could deny was that he's an athlete.
He posted a 43-inch vertical at the combine, then did nothing else, adding to the mystery so to speak. After a tough three years, I thought he would put on a show and earn some momentum back on his side. He decided to save everything else for pro day. With Chucky, the scary children's doll from the horror movie of the same name, emblazoned on his cleats (or that's what I thought it was as I saw it), he posted a 4.43 in the 40. I was standing near some scouts that thought his route running was much better than expected. Was the full package enough to get drafted? Did he win anyone over after digging holes for himself at A&M? Hard to say, but then again, there aren't many 5-11, 199 lb. athletes with explosiveness (43-inch vertical) and speed (4.43 in the 40) like Noil.
The other player that most came to see was day two projected safety Justin Evans. At the combine, he did not work out but after I searched and searched, I couldn't find out why. A few scouts told me that a right quad issue was what kept him out of the end of the Senior Bowl and was more than likely the issue for Evans in Indianapolis. It was clearly still bothering him at the end of his position drills, which seemed to be cut short for that reason. But, he did get his testing done and posted an outstanding 41-inch vertical jump. I don't know how many universities had three players with 40 inch vertical jumps, but A&M did (Garrett, Noil and Evans).
When he got to the 40-yard dash though, he ran in the mid 4.5s. When I asked the scouts what times they had on him, they all gave me the same look. A shrug followed by a simple 4.5 and that was that. Considering the fact that nearly every tier 2 safety (notably everyone not named Malik Hooker and Jamal Adams) ran in the mid to low 4.4s, Evans' time was not a cause for concern, but not a reason to put him above the other safeties on that list. Not to mention, there are a number of those safeties that are 210 lb. or above and Evans is only 195 lb. The quad may have been an issue too and I think he plays much faster than his time; that was a mildly heated debate amongst the scouts standing around me watching position drills.
These two will definitely be worth watching on draft weekend, in addition to Garrett, Daeshon Hall and others.