NFL Draft 2012: South Carolina Pro-Day Thoughts

March 28, 2012; Columbia, SC, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks quarterback Stephen Garcia and wide receiver Alshon Jeffery participate in drills during the South Carolina pro day at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-US PRESSWIRE

Today was South Carolina's Pro Day, when NFL representatives came to scope out our prospects, including Alshon Jeffery, Stephen Garcia, Antonio Allen, Jason Barnes, Terrence Campbell, Stephon Gilmore, Melvin Ingram, Marty Markett, Kyle Nunn, Rodney Paulk, Travian Robertson, Joey Scribner-Howard, Rokevious Watkins, C.C. Whitlock and Jay Wooten. Here are a few thoughts on what transpired.

  • One of the big news items for the day was the return of Garcia to Williams-Brice Stadium. I'll have to admit, he seems to be doing just about everything he can at this (admittedly late) point to work his way into an opportunity. He reported to Pro Day in excellent shape and clean cut, and he played well in front of the scouts. I'm very skeptical about his chances of being drafted (what team, even if they are impressed with him now, would expend a pick on the guy?), but I am beginning to think that he may have a chance at getting a free agent contract. And if he does that, who knows?
  • The other focal point was Alshon Jeffery; many scouts were interested to see Jeffery run after he declined to do so at the NFL Combine. He ran in the high 4.4 / low 4.5 range. Those aren't DeSean Jackson numbers, needless to say, but they're respectable and in line with what the NFL expects from a WR of Jeffery's size. He dispelled some of the myths about his purported slowness and likely solidified his status as a late-first, early-second pick.
  • Stephon Gilmore also improved his stock with another strong workout. I've said all along that Gilmore would go high in the draft after scouts got a closer look at his impressive speed and agility (Gilmore, physically, is an ideal shutdown corner), and that's proven true, with many now saying that Gilmore may be the second CB off the board after Morris Claiborne.
  • Melvin Ingram impressed, but that's become the norm. At this point, Ingram is a lock for first half of the first round. The only questions is how high he goes. Scouts were reportedly drooling, with many likely disappointed that their team won't get a chance at him.
  • Antonio Allen ran a slightly faster 40 time than he did at the Combine. He's projected as a mid-round pick, with some saying he might go as high as the second round. Rokevious Watkins also improved his stock by showing up a bit trimmer and fitter than he was at the Combine. He's reportedly a late-round prospect.

All in all, I think it was a good day for these guys. We're going to have an excellent showing at this year's draft. At this point, I'd say Ingram and Gilmore are locks for the first, with a bit less certainty about Gilmore. Jeffery has a very good shot. If we land three in the first with Allen, Watkins, Travian Robertson, and maybe another surprise or two elsewhere, it will be great for the program.

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