Arizona Pro Day draws in scouts, coaches from 31 NFL teams for final in-person evaluation of promising prospects

Maricopa native Jacob Cowing showcases his speed and skills during receiver drills Thursday at Arizona’s Pro Day. (Photo by John Busker/Cronkite News)

TUCSON – After a 10-3 season and a victory in the Alamo Bowl over Oklahoma, Arizona football has some highly regarded talent in April’s NFL draft. And it seems NFL teams agree, with almost every team sending coaches and scouts to view the talent on display run drills and test Thursday at Arizona Stadium for the University of Arizona’s Pro Day.

Personnel from 31 of 32 NFL teams attended, as well as scouts from two CFL teams. The only team not in attendance was the LA Rams.

The prize of this UArizona class is offensive tackle Jordan Morgan. Morgan was First-Team All-Pac-12 this past season at left tackle for the Wildcats, only allowing two sacks in his 787 snaps played this season.

The Marana native was given extensive work at Arizona’s Pro Day. While he completed most of his on-field testing at February’s NFL Combine, he and fellow offensive lineman Sam Langi were put through a ton of different drills by Dallas Cowboys offensive line coach Mike Solari in limited action. Morgan is ranked 44th in Daniel Jerimaiah’s most recent top 50 prospect rankings, and some analysts project him going in the first round.

Morgan was not the only prospect who drew interest from scouts. Wide receiver Jacob Cowing and tight end Tanner McLachlan both also had the spotlight.

Cowing, a Maricopa native, put scouts on notice with a 4.38-second 40-yard dash at the Combine. He and McLachlan both transferred to Arizona from UTEP and Southern Utah, respectively. McLachlan also participated in the combine, and he wanted to use his Pro Day as a way to further demonstrate what he showed the scouts in Indianapolis.

“I think I showed them my athleticism in the passing game,” McLachlan said. “I think if someone’s going to end up drafting me that’s the reason they’re going to do it … I’m confident in my hands and I think I showed them what I can do on the field.”

Linebacker Jeremy Mercier shares his inspiring journey from overcoming obstacles to pursuing his NFL dreams, after participating in Arizona's Pro Day alongside teammates Thursday. (Photo by John Busker/Cronkite News)

Linebacker Jeremy Mercier shares his inspiring journey from overcoming obstacles to pursuing his NFL dreams, after participating in Arizona’s Pro Day alongside teammates Thursday. (Photo by John Busker/Cronkite News)

Both McLachlan and Cowing are projected day three picks, reserved for rounds 4-7. This doesn’t bother McLachlan, who mentioned that he has worked his way up from a small high school in Canada. For his pro day, he set a goal to further show scouts who he is as a prospect.

“Yeah no drops, no drops on the field,” McLachlan said. “That was one of my big goals coming in. I wanted to show them again that I have sure hands, and I believe that I did that.”

These three may have been the biggest names from the event, but there were 12 other Arizona prospects participating throughout the day. One of them, Chandler native and linebacker Jeremy Mercier, explained his unconventional route to playing football at Arizona.

“(I) grew up in the Gilbert/Queen Creek area, (and) played at Basha High School,” Mercier said. “I ended up playing at Mesa Community College, and they cut the football program. So I played in the farm little league they had in Gila River, and I got an opportunity to go to Utah out of there. So I played there for the COVID year and the first Pac-12 year, and then I came here for the last two years. So a long journey to get here, and I’m very thankful and blessed for the opportunities.”

Mercier and defensive backs Martell Irby and Dylan Wyatt expressed that they would be happy to play for whatever team comes calling, no matter what league. At the end of the day, they’d just be happy to be playing football at the next level.

“I would play any position on the field,” Irby said. “I would play running back, slot, I would play quarterback if I could throw. But no, for real, this season being able to play linebacker, box safety, free safety, all four core special teams, I wanna be able to bring that same thing to the next level, whoever gives me an opportunity.”

“God’s gonna handle the rest,” Wyatt said. “I know I’m gonna get a call from somebody somewhere to strap them up again, and when I get that call, I’m gonna be ready.”

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.