The opinions expressed in this article do not reflect those of the team unless specified by a direct quote and should not be interpreted as the team's intentions for the NFL Draft.
As we inch closer to the 2023 NFL Draft in April, prospects are still trying to improve their stock and make the case to all 32 teams that they are worthy of joining the professional ranks.
That started in earnest with events like the Senior Bowl and Scouting Combine, but with those events now over and done with, the next opportunity for prospects to show their on-field talents will be at their pro days. You can find the full schedule for each Division I school HERE, but here are the schools that hosted their pro days last week:
- Air Force
- Central Michigan
- Ferris State
- Michigan State
- Eastern Michigan
- Georgia Tech
Commanders.com will be breaking down who stood out during their pro days from now until late April. This week, there were several first-round picks and combine stars who further cemented the likelihood of being some of the first players off the board.
Adetomiwa Adebawore, Northwestern
Adebawore was one of the standouts in Indianapolis with a 4.49 40-yard dash, a 10-foot-5 broad jump and a 37.5-inch vertical (all top 10 metrics for his position). His Relative Athletic Score was one of the best at the combine and rivaled some linebackers. His quickness and athleticism were what caught people's attention the most, and judging by what he did at his pro day, that was not an aberration.
Peter Skoronski, Northwestern
Regarded by many as one of, if not the best offensive line prospects available this year, Skoronski only allowed three sacks in three seasons at Northwestern. Some see his 32-inch arm length, along with other aspects of his build, as a sign that he will be moved to guard in the NFL, but the fact remains that he only allowed two pressures on 474 pass block snaps as Northwestern's starting left tackle. He put some of pass protection skill set on display in front of several scouts last week.
Christian Gonzalez, Oregon
Gonzalez was already considered to be a first-round pick prior to the combine. In fact, he is a popular pick for the Commanders in mock drafts. But after his strong showing in Indianapolis, which included a 4.38 40 and a 41.5-inch vertical, there are some who think he will be the first cornerback taken in April. Gonzalez's ball skills, along with his comfort level in zone and man schemes, are what make him stand out among his fellow cornerbacks, and he showed that off with an acrobatic catch during Oregon's pro day last week.
Jordan McFadden, Clemson
McFadden was one of five offensive linemen to run a sub-5.0 40-yard dash and the only guard to do so, but ESPN's Mel Kiper did not have him as one of his top 10 at the position. In addition to hitting 24 reps on bench press -- a drill that he did not participate in at the combine and would have put him tied at 17th for his position -- McFadden also worked out at center and looked comfortable snapping the ball. NFL.com's Lance Zierlein believes McFadden will be a backup, at least to start his professional career, so it makes sense for McFadden to show his position flexibility.
Broderick Jones, Georgia
Nolan Smith and Jalen Carter were the talk of the combine for drastically different reasons, and both were at Georgia's pro day. But since Jones is one of the players who has been connected to the Commanders in some mock drafts, we shall focus on him here. After leading all offensive linemen with a 4.97 40 to go with solid numbers in the vertical jump (30 inches) and broad jump (9 feet), there was not much more for him to prove in those areas. He did go through offensive line drills on March 15, though, and as expected, the projected first-round pick looked smooth throughout the day.
Mazi Smith, Michigan
Smith declined to participate in all but the bench press at the combine (he led all defensive tackles with 34 reps), so there was curiosity about how he would look in other drills during Michigan's pro day on March 17. Smith did not run the 40, but he did post a 29.5-inch vertical and an 8-foot-11 broad jump, both of which would have been top 10 metrics in Indianapolis. Despite only having one sack in three seasons at Michigan, he said that most scouts are asking about his abilities as a pass-rusher. Perhaps with the right coaching, that part of his skill set can improve.