The 49ers are making moves in free agency and on the trade front, and prospects are trying to get some attention and make their presence known today in the midst of the new NFL league year. Today features a full docket of pro days, including Alabama, Boston College, Colorado, Colorado State, Eastern Washington, Marshall, Michigan, Nevada, North Dakota State, Oklahoma, and USC.
A.J. McCarron, Quarterback: McCarron should have a solid pro day. Nothing to his game has flash but he's fundamentally sound and a lot of teams will like what they see when McCarron gets a chance to throw with no pads and no pressure. After trading for Blaine Gabbert, it's unlikely the 49ers pursue McCarron, as he should be drafted in round three or four.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Safety: A sure first round selection, Dix was a force to be accounted for every time he took the field for the Crimson Tide. Dix is a safety that has good coverage skills but needs working as a run stopping safety. Dix had a so-so combine and would benefit greatly from a good pro day. Right now I have Calvin Pryor drafted before Dix.
Weston Richburg, Center: Richburg is one of the best Center prospects in the draft and his stock was boosted by a good combine performance. Putting up 25 reps on the bench press and running a 5.10 forty as a Center are good numbers. Richburg may be a little undersized, which could keep him from being the first Center drafted.
Taylor Lewan, Offensive Tackle: Lewan had such an impressive combine that if he didn't participate in his pro day it wouldn't even matter. He was that good at the combine. When a lineman is 6'7" and north of 300 pounds, can run a 4.87 forty, that is a freak of a prospect. Not only did Lewan show quickness, he also showed strength and more athleticism, putting up 29 reps on the bench press and a 30.5 inch vertical. His game tape shows a player with a lot of check marks, but I worry about his abillity to pick up blitzes and other trickery in the NFL. Lewan will be a first round pick.
Jalen Saunders, Wide Receiver: Saunders will try to put together a better performance than he had at the combine. He dropped far too many balls and his route running was quite shaky. Although Saunders becoming a reliable slot receiver in the NFL seems like an uphill battle, he's worth a team drafting for his ability as a returner. Saunders is elusive when given room to work with, which helped him record three punt return touchdowns as a Sooner. Saunders is a mid round option.
Marqise Lee, USC: Going into the season there was a debate as to who the best receiver in this class, the two names always brought up were Sammy Watkins and Lee. Watkins has surpassed Lee in that debate, and others have leap-frogged Lee as well, but he's still a good prospect. Thank Lane Kiffin for a final year of college in which his production dipped. USC didn't announce who the starting quarterback was until days before the first game, and then Lane Kiffin got the boot midway through the year. Lee only had 57 receptions this season, but hauled in 118 in 2012 for 1,721 yards and 14 touchdowns. There's a good chance Lee is drafted in round one.