NFL scouts and coaches begin hitting the road today.
Even if it's a much smaller road show than normal.
Friday marks the start of pro day season, when NFL teams gather at college campuses to weigh, measure, and work out prospects. Kansas is up first, but the schedule cranks up next week (including Clemson next Thursday).
Pro day workouts are more important than ever this year because of the cancellation of the Scouting Combine. Also, players can't come to facilities for individual workouts and meetings this year (those are still virtual because of COVID-19). Without the centralized opportunity to get numbers on the top players, pro days will be the main source of intelligence-gathering for scouting departments.
Teams will be gathering basic measurements, along with 40 times and other testing results, same as they would have at the Combine.
But of course, nothing is normal because of the pandemic, so there are still changes.
Teams can only send three representatives to each pro day for public health reasons.
Sometimes, that wouldn't be a burden, as smaller schools might only draw a regional scout anyway. But at larger programs with multiple prospects, it's going to force teams to make some choices.
For instance, if you can only send three people to Alabama, do you send the receivers coach to see DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle, the quarterbacks coach to see Mac Jones, or the offensive line coach to see the multiple prospects there? At schools with first-round prospects, it's common for head coaches and GMs to be on hand, so that takes a spot.
(In the case of the Panthers, they've already gotten a close look at Jones and most of the Alabama offensive linemen during Senior Bowl week, but the point stands.)
While the scouting department and assistant coaches might be doing the bulk of the on-site evaluation, Panthers head coach Matt Rhule and general manager Scott Fitterer will be on hand for some of the workouts as well.
Here's a look at the schedule of upcoming pro day workouts, which is subject to change because everything is subject to change:
Friday, March 5 — Kansas.
Tuesday, March 9 — Kansas State, Northwestern, Wisconsin-Whitewater.
Wednesday, March 10 — Arkansas, Marshall, Maryland, Wisconsin.
Thursday, March 11 — Clemson, Nevada, Texas.
Friday, March 12 — Arkansas State, North Dakota State, Oklahoma.
Monday, March 15 — Army, Kent State, Middle Tennessee State, Vanderbilt.
Tuesday, March 16 — Georgia Tech, Temple.
Wednesday, March 17 — Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, Pittsburgh, San Jose State.
Thursday, March 18 — Auburn, Buffalo, Central Arkansas, Louisiana Tech, Louisiana-Monroe, Stanford, Troy, West Virginia.
Friday, March 19 — Memphis, Ohio, TCU.
Monday, March 22 — Air Force, Bowling Green, Colorado State, Florida State, Iowa, Missouri, Toledo.
Tuesday, March 23 — Alabama, Central Michigan, Iowa State, Nebraska, Purdue.
Wednesday, March 24 — Michigan State, Mississippi State, South Carolina, Southern California, Virginia.
Thursday, March 25 — Georgia Southern, Massachusetts, Mississippi, North Texas, Penn State, San Diego State, Southern Methodist, Tennessee, Western Michigan.
Friday, March 26 — Boston College, Brigham Young, Michigan, South Dakota State, Virginia Tech.
Monday, March 29 — Arizona State, Duke, Louisiana-Lafayette, Miami (Fla.), Miami (Ohio), North Carolina.
Tuesday, March 30 — Alabama, East Carolina, Florida Atlantic, Louisville, North Carolina State, Ohio State, Texas A&M, Tulane, Washington.
Wednesday, March 31 — Boise State, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana State, Notre Dame, Wake Forest.
Thursday, April 1 — Central Florida, Minnesota, UNC Charlotte, Oklahoma State, Oregon State, South Florida, Western Kentucky.
Friday, April 2 — Oregon, Tulsa.
Wednesday, April 7 — Texas Tech.
Friday, April 9 — Alabama-Birmingham, Ball State, Houston.