Although the Browns have taken some heat for failing to attend the Pro Day workouts of some of the more talented prospects in this year’s draft, a number of writers and analysts have come to the team’s defense. Citing an NFL executive whose team holds a top-10 selection in the draft, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe writes that a Pro Day can be useful for a number of things, including the chance to see how a player interacts with coaches, scouts, and teammates, and how the player has improved or declined since the combine, which helps to evaluate work habits.
Nonetheless, the executive notes that, “At the end of the day, the tape and the fall grades are the most important grades.” Volin adds that the private visits and workouts that follow a player’s Pro Day are the evaluations that “really matter,” and although the Browns have been a no-show at a number of notable Pro Days, they are still “working each player individually and likely bringing them to Cleveland for visits with coaches and top personnel.” And, as long-time college scout Greg Gabriel says, “Cleveland is on the right page with this. [Private workouts are] more of a reactive than prepared workout. The Cleveland coaches are running the workout, the quarterback doesn’t know what to expect. They can put him in the meeting room, put him on the board, teach him some things, see how fast he can repaint it, and then carry it over to the practice field right away.”
Of course, Cleveland’s front office turmoil this offseason could explain some of the team’s Pro Day absences. As Tony Grossi of ESPN.com writes, new head coach Mike Pettine prefers having his full staff assembled at this time to construct and finalize the team’s playbooks. Grossi adds, however, that Pettine’s explanation and the front office shuffle, while explanatory factors, do not excuse the team’s failure to attend certain Pro Days.
Grossi’s tone suggests that he might be in the camp that believes Cleveland should be a more active attendee. Nonetheless, the logic of those who defend the Browns in this regard is sound, and it should at least give Browns fans one less reason to panic.
For what it’s worth, the Browns were represented at Jadeveon Clowney‘s impressive Pro Day last week.