Ryan among several prospects taking part in BC's first Pro Day
BOSTON -- The NFL got its chance to see Matt Ryan throw on Tuesday, and the Boston College quarterback didn't do anything that would keep him from being picked early in the draft.
Perhaps even first overall.
Ryan worked out at BC's biggest Pro Day ever, throwing to former teammates for a mini-combine of 42 scouts and other personnel evaluators from 22 NFL teams. He completed 48 of 52 passes -- three drops, one overthrown -- from three-, five- and seven step drops, from the pocket and on the run, throwing to both sides of the field.
"I made every throw you need to make in the NFL," said Ryan, who skipped the Senior Bowl and ran but didn't throw at last month's NFL combine in Indianapolis. "I thought it went well. It was the first opportunity I've had to throw in front of the scouts live."
Pro Day is a traditional part of the calendar at football factories like Michigan and Southern California, but BC's had never attracted much media coverage before it joined the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2005. After welcoming the press for the first time last year -- about 20 reporters showed up in all -- the school issued 72 credentials for Tuesday's workout, along with an unprecedented number of NFL scouts.
Kansas City coach Herm Edwards and general manager Carl Peterson were among those who watched more than three dozen players work out, including another potential first-rounder, Eagles offensive lineman Gosder Cherilus.
"They've got a few here, obviously, that are good football players," Edwards told reporters. "They're more comfortable in this environment than they are in the combine. You're gathering information, and this is another check of the information. But, at the end, you've got to go to the tape."
Former BC running back William Green, a former first-round pick who played four years with the Cleveland Browns but was out of the league last year, hoped the tryout would jumpstart his comeback. BC linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar and safety Jamie Silva also joined players from area schools including UMass, Harvard, Bentley, Northeastern, Holy Cross and St. Francis.
But the primary attraction was Ryan.
The BC quarterback was the ACC player of the year and the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award winner in 2007, finishing seventh in the Heisman Trophy voting after throwing for 4,507 yards and 56 touchdowns. He also led the Eagles to comeback victories against Clemson and Virginia Tech -- 11 victories in all, including the school's eighth consecutive bowl win.
"He's going to play in our league, there's no doubt about that. He has all the traits you need to play in our league," Edwards said. "The thing this guy has is his ability to win. And that's what you like in quarterback. Some guys can do a lot of things. But, in the end, can he win?
"He's very levelheaded. The players believe that if he has the ball in his hands at the end of the game, that you have a chance to win the game. He has that demeanor about himself. He's fiery, but he keeps himself under control."
Ryan did not do any running, opting instead to let his times stand from last month's NFL combine in Indianapolis. Edwards, who chatted with Ryan on the field before the workout, said part of the advantage of such tryouts is to see how the players react to the microscope.
"That's the beauty contest," Edwards said. "In the end, this is a physical game."
Edwards said it looked like Ryan was trying too hard early on, knowing that most of the scouts and reporters were there to see him.
"That's what generally happens," Edwards said. "It puts a lot of pressure on the kids, and that's good, because the game they're going to play has pressure."
Ryan said he was just rusty, having been off the field since BC's Dec. 28 victory in the Champs Sports Bowl. He's been working out in Arizona with, among others, Brady Quinn, the Notre Dame quarterback who dropped from a projected high first-rounder to the 22nd pick overall by Cleveland.
Ryan said he hadn't made any plans for draft day, though he expects to spend it with his family. He said he hadn't bothered to handicap his chances of going to a specific team because it can only lead to disappointment.
"At this point, I don't want to get my hopes up. I don't want to fall in love with one place and then go to another and say, 'This stinks," he said. "I'm just doing everything I can to get drafted as high as I can ... and to have a chance to be a starting quarterback in the NFL next year."
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press