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All eyes on Ryan

NFL personnel finally get close look at BC quarterback

Posted: Tuesday March 18, 2008 8:14PM; Updated: Wednesday March 19, 2008 12:45PM
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Matt Ryan had reason to smile during his pro-day workout at Boston College.
Matt Ryan had reason to smile during his pro-day workout at Boston College.

CHESNUT HILL, Mass. -- Dispatches and observations from Matt Ryan's pro day workout at Boston College, which resembled a mini-NFL Scouting Combine on Tuesday afternoon, with the throng of league talent evaluators and media members on hand to check out the presumed first quarterback to be taken in April's draft. ...

• All told, 42 different club executives, coaches, scouts and personnel men representing 22 of the NFL's 32 teams were gathered in the Boston College practice bubble, and when it was finally Ryan's turn to throw the ball, every eye in the place was on him. It's understandable. Having skipped the Senior Bowl and elected not to do his passing drills at last month's combine, this was the first chance for league types to see Ryan showcase his skills since the Eagles' 24-21 season-ending win over Michigan State in the Champs Sports Bowl.

Among those checking Ryan out Tuesday were one NFL head coach (Kansas City's Herman Edwards), two general mangers (Carolina's Marty Hurney and K.C.'s Carl Peterson), and three offensive coordinators (K.C.'s Chan Gailey, Minnesota's Darrell Bevell, and Carolina's Jeff Davidson). In addition, two teams sent their top personnel official: Minnesota's vice president of player personnel Rick Speilman and Atlanta's director of player personnel Les Snead.

Overall the verdict on Ryan's workout was pretty darn good. He threw the ball very accurately, and while some passes wobbled on him despite the indoor conditions, he got more than passing marks on his arm strength, mobility, and his presence in a fairly pressure-packed situation.

Throwing to his own Boston College receivers, Ryan attempted 52 passes of varying patterns from drops of three steps, five steps, seven steps, and while rolling away from imaginary pressure to both his left and right. He completed 48 of them, with three drops and just one legitimate incompletion.

"I thought it was impressive, but it didn't leave me spell-bound," one club's college scouting director told me afterward. "The kid was accurate, and had good feet, with an above average arm. Not a great arm. But definitely above average. The one thing of concern was that his ball was wobbling a bit. But even though his ball wobbled, his passes were still right on target. So you can't kill the kid on that. He solidified his place I think. He looked pretty good."

Spielman was one of three Minnesota officials on hand, joining Bevell and quarterbacks coach Kevin Rogers. While the No. 17 Vikings likely won't be in position to land Ryan, who is widely expected to go somewhere in the top 8, Spielman liked what he saw.

"He moves around better than people think," Spielman told a small gathering of reporters. "And I think his arm strength is plenty good enough. And I like where he places the ball. He's what you call an anticipatory thrower. He has a good sense for where to put it.''

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