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How Much Stock Should We Put into Pro Days? None. Here's Why...

The last 48 hours has been abysmal for someone like me who relies on Twitter for breaking news.  Of the 500 or people I follow, 95% of those tweets have involved Tiki Barber, Charlie Sheen, or the rising draft stock of Cam Newton and Ryan Mallett. Really people? For those that haven't heard, both Cam Newton and Mallett shined on their Pro Days, as they should, since agents pay big money to coach up their clients for a bigger pay day (Yes, it's the agents that pay for all this pre-draft training). I could give you quotes from scouts or NFL Network analysts on Cam Newton's Pro Day, but what's the point? Instead, let me give you some quotes from Jamarcus Russell's Pro Day:

"Obviously, I'm very impressed," [Raiders Coach Lane] Kiffin said. "We were very impressed. He had a great day. He seems very first class, very easy to get along with. No doubt he was a great leader here. That's why everybody wants him now....He was 265 at the combine. Dropping nine pounds knowing this was a big day shows his commitment and shows that his mind's in the right place."

Oh, Jamarcus. I am not in any way saying that Cam Newton and Mallett will dip into Dante Inferno's 8th circle of hell, but the fact so many experts, losers like me  say that his Pro Day has vaulted him into a "top 3 pick" or in Mallett's case "the first round" baffles me. These are kids that have agents paying big money to train them to do and say what scouts want to see and hear. Jamarcus Russell's agents even hired him a "throwing stylist" in the lead-up to his Pro Day. The Pro Day is rehearsed and is a waste of time in my point. Perhaps they can step up their 40, great, but Mike Mayock says it best:

"The tape work and the body of work in college has to take precedence."  

This quote makes so much more sense when you apply it to Mark Schlereth's analysis of why the Shanahan-McNabb experiment failed so miserably:

Kevin: There's ten years of game film on McNabb throwing these worm balls. How did Shanahan not see that he was a bad fit?

Schlereth: "I can put on any game film this year of Donovan and there's six or seven balls a game where he throws them into the dirt where nobody has an opportunity [to make the catch]. Where you're like, "Really?" It's a 7-yard throw and you threw it four yards short in the dirt. How can that be? And, the problem with coaches in general is they really feel like they can cure or fix anybody. From the inaccuracy, they'll say, "Oh, it's his footwork. Under my expert tutelage I'll get him to setup a different way. I'll get his knees bent a little bit more. I'll get his weight distributed more evenly. And I'll fix this issue."

The problem comes under duress you revert back to schoolyard and bad habits. Anytime you got a little bit of stress or pressure, inevitably you revert back to what you've always been. Coaches think they can fix people mechanically. It comes down to ego. They think they can fix a guy who's an absolute terd everywhere he's been and they think they can take that guy under their expert tutelage they're going to go play."

This is the main reason I'm so anti-Jake Locker. As for Cam Newton and Ryan Mallett, they no doubt have 1st round talent, but their leadership and background risks do not warrant passing on a stud guy in another position. Out of the 32 teams in the NFL, there's maybe 12 teams that have a franchise QB, and it took a decade or more to find that guy. Chris Ponder is the only guy I see in this draft that encompasses all the attributes a leader requires. I still hold firm that this draft will end up like the 2007 draft that currently has zero starting QBs.