ASU Pro Day recap: Football prospects show their skills in front of NFL, CFL coaches and scouts

ASU football players participate in the annual pro day event Wednesday to showcase their skills and athleticism in front of NFL scouts and coaches ahead of the upcoming NFL Draft. (Photo by John Busker/Cronkite News)

TEMPE – With the 2024 NFL Draft fast approaching, all eyes are turning to the next generation of talent. And at Arizona State’s Pro Day, the players were not only focused on their own success, but they wanted to see their teammates put on a show for the scouts and coaches in attendance.

ASU football held its annual pro day Wednesday in front of NFL scouts and coaches, as well as a few representatives from Canadian Football League teams. As Sun Devil players set out to showcase their skills and prove they have what it takes to play at the next level, they felt they were prepared for the event.

“It was pretty much everything I thought it was,” said Ro Torrence, former ASU cornerback. “A lot of emotion going around, but I was just staying loose, having fun, staying relaxed. But it was pretty much the experience I thought it would be.”

The day started in the weight room, with the players’ hands, arms, wingspan, height and weight all getting measured. From there, the athletes moved to the racks for the bench press, and then after that they did the vertical and broad jumps. Offensive lineman Joey Ramos led all players with 24 reps in the bench press, and wide receiver Gio Sanders led the vertical jump with 34.5 inches. Data for the broad jump was unavailable.

An interesting note on the day was that interior defensive lineman Dashaun Mallory weighed in rather light. He was listed at 275 pounds during the season but weighed in Wednesday at 265. NFL defensive tackles are about 310 pounds on average, according to the NFL Football Operations site, so while Mallory came in light, he was intentional about his weight loss to show off two things: his speed and versatility.

“I know that 260-265 (pounds) as far as interior d-linemen is not the ideal weight in the NFL, but today I wanted to showcase my speed,” Mallory said. “(T)here’s a lot of places where I feel like I can be versatile, to scoot out there for defensive in, maybe not cover nobody. I don’t know. But I mean, adding an extra hat to rush off the edge, I feel like I’m fully capable of doing that. So yes, I think strong cases that I can be fast can add to a little bit of my versatility for my profile.”

The players then moved to the Verde Dickey Dome for on-field drills and exercises. These included tests like the 40-yard-dash, 3-cone and L drills, as well as some positional drills. It was here where Sanders felt the most comfortable. In his eyes, it was no longer testing, it was just playing the game.

“Football felt the most natural,” Sanders said. ”Once it got to this part of the day it just felt like all the burden off my shoulders if that makes sense, just really playing football.”

Of course, a lot of physical and mental preparation goes into every college’s pro day. A couple players mentioned they were pretty nervous for their pro day, but they focused and performed their best for those in attendance, knowing the April 25-27 NFL Draft is looming.

“Yesterday, I definitely had quite a bit of nerves,” Mallory said. “I think around 5 p.m., I was really just chilling in my room. I had a big old wave of heat. I was sweating. I was panicking. But I had to understand that, man, I’ve been doing this my whole life. The drills aren’t any different. Football is no different.

“I understand the people that are watching me a lot up close, money is involved, I understand that. But at the same time, I’ve been doing these drills since I was 13.”

Similar vibes kicked in for Travion Brown, the former ASU linebacker.

“After the 40, I was like, you know what, I only get to do this once,” Brown said. “Why not have fun with it? And I just went in with that mentality, obviously, go hard and do what I’m trained to do, but also to just have fun with it man … This is my first time being in front of this many scouts, and I just went in with the mentality of having fun.”

The fellowship players had for each other was the one constant throughout the morning session as they cheered each other on while also leaning on support from family, friends and fans.

“It felt good having them there,” Sanders said. “I felt good watching them, seeing all the hard work they’ve put in pay off. I hope all of us get an opportunity after this. It definitely helps a lot, but it also feels good to watch them do what they do.”

“It makes the game much (more fun),” Torrence said. “It makes me not even want to leave and stay forever. That camaraderie, it lasts a long time … when adversity hits, you know your brother got your back and you know you got his back.”

John Busker jahn BUS-ker (he/him/his)
Sports Reporter, Phoenix

John Busker expects to graduate in December 2024 with a master’s degree in sports journalism. Busker has interned in media operations with the FOX Corporation.