(NOTE: This story was originally posted at the time of the Boldin trade, so it seemed to be lost in the big news.)
Only a specific group of players are invited to take part in the NFL Scouting Combine each year in Indianapolis. Some players go there to workout in the weight room, run 40 yard dashes and jump high and far, but then choose to skip over the actual football drills, such as running patterns, throwing passes, etc. They either want their body of work over the course of their college career to stand as their proof of abilities, or they want to wait to bring the scouts and coaches to their respective colleges to show off on their own "Pro Day" along with the rest of their eligible teammates.
Starting this week, schools will be opening their campuses and players will be ready for the onslaught of the coaches and scouts that will flock there to usually see one or two players from that specific school. However, it is also a great opportunity for those lesser known guys to step up and open some eyes. There always is a few kids who get noticed this way and end up making an NFL roster that might otherwise fall between the cracks of obscurity.
You'd be amazed at the list of schools that hold "Pro Days" now compared to probably only a handful of colleges that started this additional process only a few short years ago, usually just the bigger Division 1 universities. Now, pretty much all the D-1 schools have their own "pro Days" and depending on who the big name that draws the scouts there, will determine the size of the viewing audience. One nationally-known player at a specific school can mean a great chance for a virtual unknown to up his draft status as the scouts might get a chance to see someone they otherwise would probably not even glance at. Some of the larger schools might have a bunch of NFL prospects, such as USC, Ohio State, Alabama, Oklahoma, Texas and Florida. Typically, those schools Pro Days bring as big a throng of coaches and scouts as the NFL Combine does itself.
Click here to see the link to NFL.com and the entire list (in alphabetical order) of schools holding their own separate Pro Days, along with the Maryland Terrapins, whose big day is today (March 10).