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A Tale of Two Pro Days


(Ben VanSumeren / LB / Michigan State)


A Tale of Two Pro Days

As we enter the home stretch towards the NFL Draft, prospects have completed their last college season, participated in the All-Star bowl game circuit, worked out at the NFL Combine, and now have entered the pro day workouts at their college, all in anticipation of the NFL Draft in Kansas City, April 27-29, 2023. If the draft had occurred immediately after the season, Georgia DT Jalen Carter could have possibly been selected #1 overall and Michigan State LB Ben VanSumeren would have likely gone undrafted. But this is a long process and things have changed. Let’s take a look at these two prospects and see how things have changed in the course of a few weeks.


Jalen Carter / DT / Georgia


Carter is a potential generational talent combining size, length, strength, quickness, agility, and closing burst. Truly, a rare skill set. But he made, at a minimum, a mistake in judgement (and potentially a criminal one), that contributed to two deaths in a street racing incident in January. And his legal challenges have borne itself out in a less than desirable outcome in his athletic performance at his pro day at the University of Georgia on March 15. Carter weighed in at 323 pounds, 9 pounds heavier than his weight at the combine. He did not participate in any timed or measured drills. He labored through his position drills looking slow, out of shape, and lacked the typical fluidity in his movements. By the end of the workout, Carter was noticeably winded and cramping. Carter’s legal situation is worsening Carter’s draft stock and his pro day workout just added further questions.


On 3/16, Carter pleaded no contest and received no jail time in connection to this racing incident. With the legal issues now resolved, maybe Carter can focus fully on preparing for April’s draft.


Ben VanSumeren / LB / Michigan State


VanSumeren entered the draft process grading out as UDFA but his performance at the East-West Shrine Game, where he was the leading tackler in the game, and his pro day performance, has moved VanSumeren into a day 3 pick who could hear his name called as early as round 3 in April. VanSumeren reportedly ran his 40-yard dash in under 4.4 seconds, at 237 pounds. He also recorded a 42.5” vertical jump and 29 reps of the 225-pound bench press. His athletic ability did not always show up on film but his workout numbers will pique the interest of every 4-3 defensive coordinator in the NFL.



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(Jalen Carter / DT / Georgia)


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