ASU Pro Day showcases a number of different NFL hopefuls

Former Sun Devils Manny Wilkins and N'Keal Harry impress at ASU Pro Day

An era of Sun Devil football came to a close Wednesday afternoon when quarterback Manny Wilkins and wide receiver N’Keal Harry, among others, worked out for the final time as Sun Devils in front of the football scouting community at ASU’s Pro Day. 

The event had a renewed excitement with coach Herm Edwards at the helm, as the second-year coach has ushered in a new sense of professionalism and experience that has permeated throughout the program. 

As a whole, the ASU Pro Day was an overwhelming success as representatives from 27 of the 32 NFL franchises took part in a new tradition for Sun Devil football.

“I think it’s a good day for ASU football, in general, when the National Football League turns out like this,” Edwards said. “I think it’s good for the players ... It’s good for the athletic department to see the buzz around this, because this is what a pro day is supposed to look like.” 

The gathering, functionally an extended workout, varied in importance for the ASU players in attendance. For NFL scouting combine invitees like Harry and defensive lineman Renell Wren, the gathering acted as further vindication of the impressive performances each man put on in Indianapolis. 

Harry especially had little to prove Wednesday, but still showed off his elite hands and route running ability while catching passes from Wilkins. 

The two connected on about 15 throws as Wilkins threw around 50 passes to a group of receivers that included Harry, former NAU standout Emmanuel Butler and current ASU junior running back Eno Benjamin

The projected first round pick and Chandler High product ended his workout with a display of his punt-catching abilities, as he further cemented his status as a day one selection. 

"I'll give myself a B+,” Harry said. “I feel like a lot of scouts just wanted to see me get in and out of my breaks. I think I did a fairly good job of that today. There's always room for improvement, but it was a fairly good day."

For Wilkins, ASU’s Pro Day acted as his only chance to impress NFL coaches and scouts. After tearing his MCL on the final pass attempt of his collegiate career, Wilkins was unable to attend the NFL scouting combine, despite reporting that he was informed he would have received an invite if he had been healthy. 

Notwithstanding, Wilkins looked springy and spry throughout his workout Wednesday as he displayed his advanced arm strength and deft touch while completing a number of NFL-caliber throws. 

“I came out here, I threw it around, and that’s the box I really needed to check,” Wilkins said. “My biggest plan was to show all the scouts and GMs and head coaches that were out here that I can lead something like this. It can be in my hands. I can control it, and we can do it at a high level.”

Wilkins' script of throws began with a number of deep bombs to streaking receivers. The emphasis on highlighting Wilkins long ball ability was clear from the jump, as the first half of his workout consisted almost entirely of throws 30 yards or more down the field.

He proceeded to show off his accuracy with some short and intermediate throws into tight windows. Utilizing five step drops, seven step drops, play action and shotgun snaps, Wilkins displayed his versatility in a number of different situations as he looked to prove his worth to the hordes of onlooking scouts and general managers. 

Additionally, Wilkins had a solid showing in the 40-yard dash, clocking in at an unofficial 4.75 seconds, which would have placed him eighth among the draft-eligible quarterbacks at the combine. But when discussing his time with reporters after the event, Wilkins voiced his displeasure with his final time and reported if he was fully healthy and had time to train, he would have run the drill in a blazing “low 4.6.” 

“I’m not worried about those tenths of a second — I’m really not,” Wilkins said. “I didn’t get to fully train. These guys that went to the combine had eight weeks to prepare for their 40. I’ve been running my 40 for about two weeks, three weeks. I’m just fortunate I was able to get out here and perform.”


Reach the reporter at Jrosenfa@asu.edu or follow @jacobrosenfarb on Twitter. 

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