More than a dozen NFL scouts observed more than 20 former ASU football players at ASU’s annual Pro Day on Friday.
It was an opportunity for almost all of the seniors from last year’s team, including defensive tackle Will Sutton, defensive end Davon Coleman and safety Alden Darby, to audition for the NFL Draft, which begins May 8.
Scouts measured the players’ vertical leaps and bench press reps inside the Carson Student-Athlete Center weight room for the first half of day, then moved the workouts to Sun Devil Stadium where players participated in the 40-yard dash and various positional drills.
Among the pack of NFL talent evaluators was Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano.
“I’ve been waiting for this moment all of my life, and to be looked at by all 32 teams is almost surreal,” said Coleman, who had a team-high 35 reps on the 225-pound bench press.
It was a big day for Carl Bradford, who decided in January to forgo his senior year to declare for the NFL Draft. Bradford didn’t participate in weight training activities, but he said he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.64 seconds, which is 1.2 seconds faster than his NFL Combine time on Feb. 22.
Bradford said scouts have been looking at him to play defensive end, all three linebacker positions and even fullback, which he hasn’t played since high school. Because scouts have asked him about possibly playing different positions, Bradford thinks his draft stock is rising and doesn’t regret his decision to leave ASU early.
“I feel like it was a good choice between me and the people I’ve talked to,” Bradford said. “I feel satisfied with that choice I made.”
Sutton looked noticeably lighter than he was during his senior year at ASU. Sutton finally admitted during the NFL Combine that his significant weight gain before his senior season hampered his play. Sutton weighed in at 297 pounds Friday after checking in at 303 pounds at the NFL Combine.
Official times of the 40-yard dash were not released, but it seemed Sutton ran it between 5.1 and 5.2 seconds, which beats his NFL Combine time of 5.36 seconds. Sutton didn’t participate in weight training activities and didn’t address the media after Pro Day.
Darby wasn’t invited in the NFL Combine, but said he has a couple visits with the New England Patriots, Arizona Cardinals, Chicago Bears and the Baltimore Ravens scheduled. He said one coach from the San Diego Chargers talked to him about playing safety, cornerback and nickelback.
Running back Marion Grice attended Pro Day but did not participate in weight lifting or the 40-yard dash. Grice revealed he suffered a fractured fibula against UCLA on Nov. 23 that sidelined him for the rest of the season, and he will hold his own workout for scouts April 8. Due to the injury, Grice couldn’t participate in the Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine.
Bradford, Sutton and Grice were all rumored to be early-round picks of the NFL Draft, but several other players like cornerback Osahon Irabor believed they had increased their chances of getting drafted after talking with scouts Friday.
“A lot of scouts were coming up to me saying they like my film,” Irabor said. “A lot of them are saying, ‘I can’t believe you weren’t at the Combine,’ so it was funny to hear all of that.”
Reach the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @Josh_Nacion