Texas Tech Football: Pro Day Preview

Mar 4, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes throws a pass during the 2017 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 4, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes throws a pass during the 2017 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports /

With just one major event before the 2017 NFL Draft in April, several former Texas Tech Football players will take the field at Jones AT&T Stadium for the final time.

On March 31 at 9 a.m., former Texas Tech Red Raiders Patrick Mahomes II, Luke Stice, Reginald Davis III, Ondre Pipkins, Malik Jenkins, Paul Banks II, Kris Williams, Tyler Scalzi, Devin Lauderdale, and Thierry Nguema will perform drills in front of what appears to be a full house of NFL scouts.

With the rising popularity and interest in Patrick Mahomes throughout this Draft cycle, this is as good a time as ever for former Texas Tech players to take advantage of the exposure, and get some face time in with NFL personnel they might not have had the opportunity to meet with.

Twelve former Texas Tech players performed drills for 25 scouts in last year’s Pro Day, including Jakeem Grant, who–arguably–had one of the best Pro Day showings of all athletes combined.

With Mahomes slated as a first round Draft pick, you have to think Texas Tech will exceed last year’s number of scouts in attendance, especially considering all 32 NFL teams sent representatives to Texas’s Pro Day last week.

Mike Mayock of NFL Network will be at Texas Tech’s Pro Day, and earlier this week, he said, “(Mahomes) has a big arm. He also runs around like he thinks he’s Johnny Manziel.” Several members of the media have used Manziel as a point of reference for Mahomes; which isn’t surprising, considering both quarterbacks thrived under Kliff Kingsbury’s system, and coaching style.

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While most of the attention will be on Mahomes during Texas Tech’s Pro Day, there are a few players that will be benefitting the most during his passing session. Wide receiver Reginald Davis III caught just two touchdown passes and accounted for 247 yards last season, and while those numbers don’t exactly make scouts salivate, he’s a hard worker, and could turn some heads in receiving drills.

Tyler Scalzi played fullback at Texas Tech, but while doing some Draft research, I noticed several blogs and sites referencing him as a tight end. As Red Raiders got to know Scalzi over the years, he always put the team first, and simply just wanted to play football. Philly Sports Network’s Jon-Michael Salter wrote, “Nicknamed ‘Tarzan’ by two scouts I spoke too about Scalzi, he doesn’t just look the part..but plays like it too. Throughout the years at Tech, he was utilized in a variety of ways. Be it defensively at linebacker, offensively at Tight-End, Fullback, H-Back, or on special teams, where he played all cores. He has the skill set for all these roles, and more importantly, the guts to do it all.” Like Davis, Scalzi will have to use the Mahomes exposure to his advantage in passing drills in order for that NFL face time to be effective.

Wide receiver Devin Lauderdale put up 1,535 receiving yards for 15 touchdowns while at Texas Tech, but most of the Draft conversation surrounding him questions his suspension in 2015. Lauderdale is an exciting player to watch, and finds ways to make plays, so hopefully he can make an impression as memorable as this in front of NFL scouts.

An overwhelming majority of former Texas Tech players participating in Pro Day are on the defensive side of the football, with inside linebackers Malik Jenkins and Luke Stice, defensive linemen Ondre Pipkins and Kris Williams, and cornerbacks Paul Banks II and Thierry Nguema.

Ondre Pipkins and Luke Stice transferred in from Michigan and Houston (respectively) in 2015, so each presents an advantage in terms of proving their effectiveness against more Pro Style offenses, as opposed to the systems most commonly associated with the Big 12.

Pro Day drills cover passing and catching drills, along with the 40-yard dash, vertical jump, broad jump, shuttle run, bench press, 3 cone drill, and interviews.

Wreck ‘Em Red will be compiling results from Texas Tech’s Pro Day, so stay tuned for more, and be sure to follow us on Twitter, @WreckEmRed.