As continuing evidence of the mind-boggling football renaissance in Oxford, all 32 NFL teams sent representatives to Monday's Ole Miss pro day. Five teams took it a step further and sent their general mangers: the Chiefs, Giants, Rams, Titans and Vikings. There was a total of 18 prospects working out, but the big bosses were there to see potential first-rounders Laremy Tunsil, Laquon Treadwell and Robert Nkemdiche. Let's take a look at which Rebel prospects each of those GMs likely had their eye on.
GMs are listed in the order of their team's draft position.
Jon Robinson, Titans
Tunsil to to the Titans at No. 1 seems like a lock at this point. Not only was the GM in the house, so was head coach Mike Mularkey, offensive coordinator Terry Robiskie, O-line coach Russ Grimm, defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, national director of college scouting Blake Beddingfield and scout Jon Salge.
Here's Tunsil chatting it up with Mularkey:
.@OleMissFB PRO DAY @Titans hold #1 pick in draft, & had many reps in building to see @KingTunsil78 including HC. pic.twitter.com/7VJ0obzL9e— OleMissPix (@OleMissPix) March 28, 2016
"He has really good foot quickness, and he works laterally really well,'' Robinson said of Tunsil. "He gets out of his stance quickly, and runs well, which is good. You can see him on some of those space plays, you can see it translate, the stuff that you see here in the workout. You can see it on tape when you watch it, him out running in space, trying to get a corner, trying to track down a safety.
"He's impressive, no doubt."
Jerry Reese, Giants
More on the NFL Draft
More on the NFL Draft
While most folks figure the G-men will go defense with the No. 10 pick, Treadwell actually makes a good bit of sense because Eli needs a No. 2 wideout to pair with Odell Beckham, Jr. The Giants lost Reuben Randle to free agency and there's no telling whether Victor Cruz, who hasn't seen the field in 18 months and recently took a pay cut just to stay on the team, can bounce back from consecutive leg injuries.
And while Treadwell's 40 time makes him a questionable pick this high in the draft, he certainly has the size that the Giants appear to be looking for. With Randle gone, there are only two wideouts on the roster that stand at least 6'2—one of them a 6'5 Frenchman who was signed last week out of the German Football League (yes, really). The two free agent receivers the Giants showed interest in, Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu, are both 6'2 (and it's worth noting that Sanu ran a slower 40 time than Treadwell). OBJ could be the deep threat, Laquon the physical possession receiver and red zone target.
But get this: Tony Pauline of Draft Insider got word that Reese "was there equally for Nkemdiche," who torched the drill workouts.
This from SB Nation's Giants site, Big Blue View:
The prospect of adding Nkemdiche's talent and potential to the Giants's existing line of Jason Pierre-Paul, Damon Harrison, John Hankins, and Olivier Vernon is tantalizing. However if the Giants want to spend the 10th overall pick on him, they would need to be at peace with the player wielding those talents.
Les Snead, Rams
The Rams had the worst passing offense in the league last season, and it sounds like they're mulling two separate options to fix it it with the No. 15 pick: Treadwell or Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch. According to our friends over at Turf Show Times, 35 percent of major mock drafts have L.A. taking Lynch, 28 percent have them taking Treadwell. It's an easy decision IYAM—Quon had a higher QBR when the two faced off head-to-head.
Laquon Treadwell passing TD. Great play from the Rebels. https://t.co/NsSmYnnQll— SEC Country (@SEC_Country_) October 17, 2015
Personally, I think it'll be hard for the Rams to pass on Lynch if he's there when they step to the podium. Historically speaking, however, Snead loves drafting wideouts. In 2012, his first year on the job, he spent second- and fourth-round picks on receivers; a year later, a first and third.
Despite all that stockpiling, the Rams haven't had a receiver post 800 yards in a season since Torry Holt in 2007. Tavon Austin's versatility started paying off last season, but only 473 of his 1,191 total yards came through the air. Kenny Britt, who led the team with 681 yards in 2015, isn't a long-term solution. Treadwell could finally give the Rams a reliable No. 1 target.
Turf Show Times doesn't sound too concerned about his 40 time, either.
The big news of the day was Treadwell's 4.63 40-yard dash time mainly because many people are stupid... Treadwell topped 200 receptions and 2,250 yards in his three seasons in the SEC as he consistently faced the best cornerbacks opposition could throw at him. But sure, throw out the tape and just draft someone based on their 40-yard dash time.
Rick Spielman, Vikings
Spielman reportedly told RosterWatch.com at the Combine that he "desperately wants a Michael Irvin-style X receiver" for his offense. Treadwell could be the perfect underneath security blanket for a young Teddy Bridgewater, who was under pressure more than any QB in the NFL last season (46.9 percent of his drop backs, per Pro Football Focus). Because of Bridgewater's limited arm strength, the Vikings don't ask him to throw downfield often (his average target in 2015 was just 7.4 yards downfield, third lowest in the league), which means they likely won't obsess over Treadwell's straight line speed. One of the main reasons Mike Wallace washed out in Minnesota last season was precisely because Bridgewater couldn't take advantage of his deep-ball speed.
I suppose Spielman had his eye on Nkemdiche as well. The Vikings aren't particularly needy in the defensive interior, but GMs are going to do their due diligence any time a top-five pick is in danger of dropping this far (Minnesota picks 23rd).
John Dorsey, Chiefs
All the way down at pick 28, Kansas City might be hoping that Big Rob's tumble carries him to the back end of the first round. The Chiefs, after all, have a recent history of making teams look foolish for passing on elite talents with off-field issues. Dorsey scooped up cornerback Marcus Peters—who was booted from Washington midway through his junior season for clashing with coaches—when he fell to the Chiefs at 18th overall last season. All Peters did was become the first corner since Charles Woodson to earn Defensive Rookie of the Year honors.
Joel Thorman, who runs SB Nation's Chiefs blog, is still hesitant at taking the risk.
All that said, he looks like a star. The NFL is about projecting what you'll do next and Nkemdiche has the physical profile of a player who can dominate. Will he? That's a big question. The Chiefs are a good team who can afford to take a risk but those should be smart risks. I'm not convinced that Nkemdiche is a smart risk.
The other side of the argument is that a defensive front studded with Nkemdiche, Dontari Poe, Justin Houston and Tamba Hali would be freaking terrifying.
K.C. could, in theory, have a shot at Treadwell if teams overreact to this 40 time, though Quon slipping past St. Louis, Detroit, Minnesota and Cincinnati seems unlikely. Chiefs wideouts finally started catching touchdowns again last season, but they could use a big fella to pair with the speedy Jeremy Maclin.