What We Learned

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2023 NFL Draft: What We Learned from Boston College, Kentucky, Notre Dame pro days

Representatives from all 32 NFL teams attended the Kentucky pro day on Friday, where quarterback Will Levis, NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah's No. 12 prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft, was the headliner. It wasn't the only event that had teams' attention, though, as evaluators traveled to see potential first-round prospects at Boston College and Notre Dame pro days, as well.

Here are three takeaways from the day's activities.

NOTE: Check out NFL+ for live coverage of Florida's pro day beginning at 11:30 a.m. ET on Thursday, March 30.

1) Levis showcases arm strength, athleticism. On Wednesday, Ohio State's C.J. Stroud got the quarterback pro-day party started. On Thursday, Alabama's Bryce Young flashed his skill set. It was Levis' turn to take the stage on Friday, and he didn't disappoint.

There were a few off-target throws, but Levis -- who boasted of his "cannon" at the NFL Scouting Combine -- had a good performance overall. He conducted a 50-throw script, which was overseen by his QB coach, Jordan Palmer, and included passes to all three levels of the field. The pro-day pace was quite rapid, with less time between throws compared with the QB workouts from earlier in the week.

"That was fun," Levis told NFL Network's Stacey Dales and David Carr. "Just getting ... every club in my bag, to put on display all the different types of throws, whether it's short, long, on the run, on a line with some touch. I think I covered all the bases, and I thought I did a pretty good job and had a lot of fun throwing with my receivers."

Levis' arm talent was on full display, showing more velocity on his throws than either Stroud or Young did consistently in their workouts. Of the handful of misfires, most came on shorter passes, including a red-zone overthrow in which Jeremiah noted during live coverage on NFL+ that Levis' lower body and upper body were "disconnected." Levis also overthrew one receiver on a post pattern and had one pass fall incomplete when it hit the roof of the Wildcats' indoor facility.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Friday that the consensus from his sources is that Young and Stroud are likely to be the first two quarterbacks drafted next month, with Levis and Florida's Anthony Richardson vying for the next two spots.

The Panthers and Texans are set to draft 1-2, and Carolina had a 10-man contingent on hand, dining with Levis on Thursday night. The next QB-needy team on the board is Indianapolis at No. 4 overall.

"From the teams that went to dinner with him, the Carolina Panthers, the Las Vegas Raiders spent time with him, Mike Vrabel from the Tennessee Titans spent time with him," Rapoport said. "(Levis) actually pretty quietly had a top-30 visit with the Houston Texans; that happened over the last several weeks.

"It's been really positive from the feedback from those teams. As far as the range (for Levis), it seems anything from (No.) 3 to probably somewhere in the teens is possible. The quarterbacks always go earlier than we anticipate, so we've got to keep our eyes peeled on just where he goes after the first two go off the board."

The question with Levis' pro day, as it often is with any quarterback after such a session, is: Did he help himself?

The arm strength was as advertised, so there's no mystery there. Levis looked spry during his session, appearing to be recovered from the foot and shoulder injuries that plagued him during the 2022 season. Levis also said that his recent focus over the past eight weeks has been on tightening up his "mechanics of movement" in his delivery.

"A lot of times when I'm missing throws I'm not doing that," he said.

But were any of Levis' other question marks as a prospect answered?

"(The questions) are about awareness, taking some of the sacks, some of the turnovers," Jeremiah said during live coverage of the workout on NFL+. "That's not going to show up here. I feel like he finished up today and showed us everything that we had seen (previously on tape).

"What you like about him, you're going to like about this pro day. The size, the power arm, the athleticism, the quickness, all that stuff was on display today. The stuff that you have questions on, you don't get answers today."

NFL Network analyst Bucky Brooks, who earlier said Levis "looks like he was built to play in the league," believes Levis might have been able to answer some of those concerns himself behind the scenes.

"Hopefully, what you're able to do is get some of the answers behind the scenes (in) some of the one-on-one conversations that (teams) have with him," Brooks said. "You can kind of get a feel for where he is in terms of his football acumen, his development, what is his approach, his process -- those things.

"Can he convince coaches that if he comes into the building, he's going to do the stuff that we talk about Jalen Hurts doing? (Such as) being a worker bee, getting better and working on his craft each and every day."

2) Top TE in spotlight. Michael Mayer performed the bench press and took part in on-field workouts at Notre Dame's pro day on Friday, per NFL Network’s Sherree Burruss. He opted to skip the other athletic testing as one of the leading candidates to be the first tight end off the board in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Mayer had skipped the bench press, 3-cone drill and the 20-yard shuttle at the combine. He put up 21 bench reps on Friday, which would have tied for fourth most among tight ends at the combine. His on-field workout included a pass-catching session from new Notre Dame quarterback Sam Hartman, who transferred from Wake Forest, as well as the blocking portion.

"I just want to show that I am a complete tight end," Mayer told Burruss.

Mayer is listed as Jeremiah's No. 21 overall prospect and No. 2 tight end, behind Utah's Dalton Kincaid and just ahead of Georgia's Darnell Washington. In Jeremiah's most recent mock draft, he projects Mayer to be the second tight end taken, at No. 29 to the Saints.

3) Making his case to be draft's WR1. Boston College wide receiver Zay Flowers chose to stand on his testing numbers from the NFL Scouting Combine, opting only to perform on-field drills at the Eagles' pro day on Friday.

Flowers flashed his patented quickness during receiving drills, carrying over from his strong showing at the combine. Among the attendees of the pro day was Buffalo Bills assistant GM Brian Gaine, according to NFL Network's Mike Giardi.

On Thursday night, Flowers was plenty busy. According to NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero, Flowers had not one but two dinners -- with the Saints and Giants -- prior to the pro day. (For the record, Flowers said he ordered calamari for the appetizer at the first dinner, steak for the entree at the second.)

Flowers, who told Giardi he's the best receiver in this class, said some teams have talked to him about playing in the slot, but he hopes he can play inside and outside, like he did at Boston College.

"I do both. I did it all my career," Flowers told Giardi. "I played mostly outside, but I don't think I'm limited to the slot. I could play outside, inside -- wherever you need me to play and make a play at each position."

Brooks' No. 2 receiver in the draft, Flowers measured 5-foot-9 and 182 pounds at the combine but said he's tried to bulk up and maintain his weight in the 190-pound range. In four years at Boston College, Flowers caught 200 passes for 3,056 yards (15.3-yard average) and scored 31 total TDs (29 receiving, two rushing). Last season, he led the Eagles and set personal bests with 78 receptions for 1,077 yards (13.8-yard average) and 12 receiving TDs.

Follow Eric Edholm on Twitter.

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