It's Quarterback Pro Day Week for the 2023 NFL Draft. Ok, that's not really a thing. But it feels like it should be this class of quarterbacks with C.J. Stroud, Will Levis, and Bryce Young all set to throw footballs at their respective school's pro day this work week.
No, we shouldn't put too much into pro day workouts. And teams don't. However, they can serve as a tiebreaker, and a strong performance throwing the rock against air can slightly elevate or dip a draft stock. In this class, where we aren't quite sure how the passers will be picked in April, these pro days matter more than they have in a while.
Let's jump into each of the big workouts and pinpoint what each quarterback needs to show.
Ohio State Pro Day
Date: March 22
QB prospect: C.J. Stroud
What he has to show: Stroud put on a clinic at the combine throwing session with one of the most accurate performances we've seen in some time. It wasn't flawless though. A scripted Pro Day workout can be flawless for a top quarterback prospect, so it's actually a realistic goal for Stroud and the Ohio State coaches and receivers -- maybe we'll get some Marvin Harrison Jr.?.
But -- and this is vital -- there's not much more room for Stroud to impress as a passer. We know he can sling it with surgical accuracy. Beyond that, the Ohio State quarterback could do wonders for his stock if he actually participated in some of the timed and measured drills. I'm not getting greedy here, maybe not all of them. But a few drills to provide scouts -- and draft analysts -- an objective glimpse into how athletic he truly is. If he ran decently fast, or had an impressive vertical, broad, or three cone, it would answer the one question we all have about Stroud -- is he a good enough athlete to be a franchise quarterback in today's NFL?
Alabama Pro Day
Date: March 23
QB prospect: Bryce Young
What he has to show: Maybe I'm nuts, but my (slight) concern with Young centers around more than just his small frame. On film, I did not see No. 1 overall pick type arm strength. Or really arm strength close to being special. Teams at the top of the draft will want to check as many boxes as humanly possible when selecting a quarterback, and Young could still prove to those clubs he can really spin it.
The accuracy, decision-making, poise, and anticipatory throwing capabilities are littered all over Young's film. And while he probably won't play much over 200 pounds, Young undoubtedly won his combine weigh in by getting over that weight threshold. Now he has to prove his arm talent is comparable to Stroud's and can hang in the same stratosphere as Levis and Richardson. While it's unlikely he'll work out, if he believes in his athleticism and training, some athletic drills wouldn't hurt Young's stock, because he is one of the most creative, smooth athletes we've seen at the quarterback position in a while.
Kentucky Pro Day
Date: March 24
QB prospect: Will Levis
What he has to show: The buzz surrounding Levis fizzled as the 2022 season progressed and has been stagnant during the pre-draft process to date. His combine was mostly forgettable despite a vertical in the 79th percentile and a broad jump in the 95th percentile among quarterbacks due to being overshadowed by Anthony Richardson, of course. His throwing session left a little to be desired, and while his velocity was better than the rest of the quarterbacks in his group, Richardson followed and the ball left his hands differently. We all saw it.
Levis has the most work ahead of him at his pro day. That's not a bad thing! The work ahead for him equates to the most opportunity. Levis must precisely guide the football to his targets -- minimal flat-out misses -- while maintaining high-level velocity. Beyond the broad jump because there's little room for improvement, Levis should do the entire workout. Run the 40, do the agility drills, attempt a better vertical. Prove to everyone how tremendous of an athlete he really is. Doing so, coupled with a strong throwing exhibition will spark some much-needed buzz for the Kentucky passer.
Florida Pro Day
Date: March 28
QB prospect: Anthony Richardson
What he has to show: Richardson won the combine. Unequivocally. He did so even with massively high expectations entering the combine. Richardson was bigger, faster, and more explosive than anyone. Plus, he wasn't overly errant throwing the football.
The latter is where he has the most room to improve, of course. There were some ugly misses during the combine throwing session. In a more comfy, familiar setting, ripping rockets to Florida wideouts, Richardson needs to be better with his ball placement. That's a must. At the risk of sounding ridiculous -- Richardson should incorporate some of his athleticism into his workout. Show how fast he is on the field as a runner with some designed runs or scripted scrambles. After all, he is faster than many receivers.
The accuracy and footwork as a passer will be observed with the most detail by scouts, GMs, and coaches in attendance.
Houston Pro Day
Date: March 28
QB prospect: Clayton Tune
What he has to show: With Hendon Hooker unlikely to work out or throw before the draft, there's suddenly an opening for a quarterback to jump him to become the fifth quarterback off the board. To me, Tune has the best opportunity to do so. This is a nearly 6-foot-3, 220-pound four-year starter with nearly 1,500 collegiate attempts and a 104 to 41 touchdown-to-interception resume on his resume. A nice bonus -- he tested comparably to Marcus Mariota at the combine. It was a big workout that certainly hummed under the radar.
With Tune it's all about the consistency of his arm talent. Every game, there are a few "HELLO" throws through closing windows down the field. Sadly there are plenty of attempts that make Tune's arm look average at best. A throwing session loaded with passes with big-time zip -- even when throwing on the run -- would be the cherry on top for a rock-solid, underrated pre-draft process for Tune, who feels like a quarterback with late Day 2 potential.