NC State's Chubb, Street, Hill and Jones impress on NFL Pro Day
If an NFL team is high on a prospect, you can expect them to send a high-ranking official to that player's Pro Day.
Bill Belichick sent himself to N.C. State on Monday.
So did Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht.
The Carolina Panthers had defensive coordinator Eric Washington and defensive line coach Brady Hoke at the Wolfpack's practice facility, and the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles had assistant head coach/running backs coach Duce Staley there as well.
There were no stats made available from N.C. State's Pro Day on Monday — scouts keep their stopwatches close to the vest — but who was there and what was said may matter more when figuring out a likely landing spot for N.C. State's prospective draftees.
Who was Belichick watching?
Belichick, the Patriots head coach, and New England Patriots defensive line coach Brendan Daly were getting a up-close look at N.C. State's four defensive linemen: Bradley Chubb, B.J. Hill, Justin Jones and Kentavius Street. Belichick even got hands-on in showing them some of the drills.
Chubb probably won't still be on the draft board by the time the Patriots' 31st overall pick comes around but Hill and Jones have seen their stock rise as of late and may be two options New England mulls over in rounds 1-3.
Where does Chubb think he'll go?
Chubb was diplomatic with his answers — "Wherever I get drafted, I'll be the happiest player. And I'll have been a fan of that team, wherever I get drafted, since I was 5 years old" — but did say that he has extended meetings on Sunday and Monday with five of the top seven teams. (NFL draft order is: 1. Browns, 2. Giants, 3. Jets, 4. Browns, 5. Broncos, 6. Colts, 7. Buccaneers.)
The Bucs pick seventh, and you would guess that would be one of the teams (otherwise why not say five of the top six?).
Did Belichick look at Jaylen Samuels and Nyheim Hines?
Yes, he even even gave the two some routes he wanted them to run.
But Belichick didn't stay for the entirety of those drills. Take that and make it into whatever you will.
What did the Wolfpack players think of Belichick's presence?
Hines said he didn't have enough time to be starstruck when Belichick talked to him because he was in the middle of a drill.
"We were doing the drills and I heard he was here and all of a sudden he steps out and starts talking and telling us what to do and I'm like 'Oh crap, that's Bill Belichick.' I've seen him on TV but I've never seen him that close," Hines said.
Belichick already knew about Chubb, the defensive end.
"Him giving me tips and pointers on how to do a drill, and him knowing my name and coming up shaking my hand was pretty cool to see and a pretty humbling experience," Chubb said.
Should we make a big deal out of teams who sent several coaches to Pro Day?
In short, yes. Most of the homework has been done on players at this point, and teams are honing in on their favorite players at positions of need.
Such was the case in 2007, when then-Kansas City Chiefs GM Carl Peterson and defensive line coach Tim Krumrie came to look at defensive tackle Tank Tyler during N.C. State Pro Day. Tyler and Krumrie even did drills against each other. The Chiefs took Tyler in the third round that year.
Have teams found a position for Samuels yet?
Yes. At long last, teams have almost universally projected him as "a true running back."
Not a fullback. Not a tight end (which is what he was listed as at the combine).
"Every team is telling me running back," Samuels said. "Being able to split out on third downs and catch the ball, because I have great catching skills, being able to show my catching ability as well."
Where is Hines' stock right now?
Hines said that after running the fastest 40-yard dash time among this year's crop of running backs at the NFL Combine, he's hearing that he could go in the first three rounds.
His main objective at Pro Day was to improve his shuttle time and bench press, which he said he did.
Hines fielded punt returns for scouts as well and said it's understood that he'll be returning kicks no matter where he goes. He has six individual workouts, including trips to Minnesota and Dallas.
Anything else from the players?
Hines went into detail about his decision to go pro:
"I am what I am. I'm 5-8, today — they cheated me on my height — 198 (pounds) so I'm not going to get any bigger. Probably not going to get any stronger, faster so I thought it would be my best move and my coaches supported me in that decision and so did my family," Hines said.
Already a projected top-10 pick, Chubb didn't need to do anything to improve his stock. But he wanted to do the Pro Day to line up one last time with classmates and fellow linemen Jones, Hill and Street.
"I just wanted to do this with my teammates who I started this whole journey with. Come out here and do one last thing with them and have fun with it," Chubb said. "I'm going through the same process that they're all going through and I don't look at myself as higher or better than anyone else out here ... It's something that I felt like we had to do as a team."