Eye formation

NFL personnel huddle at BC to get a passing glance at Ryan

Email|Print|Single Page| Text size + By Mike Reiss
Globe Staff / March 19, 2008

The head coach walked onto the football field and sat next to the highly touted quarterback, engaging him in conversation. Herm Edwards then kicked his feet out and rested his elbow into the turf to strike a more relaxed pose. Matt Ryan did the same.

The snapshot led one to consider the possibilities.

If Edwards's Kansas City Chiefs were on the clock with the fifth overall selection in next month's NFL draft, and the Boston College quarterback was still available, would they pick him?

If there was one moment that stood out from yesterday's Pro Day at BC, this was probably it: Edwards and Ryan sprawled on the FieldTurf, smiling side by side in the Alumni Stadium indoor bubble.

Edwards could have been quizzing Ryan on X's and O's, probing him to see how he's handling the pressure of possibly being the No. 1 overall draft choice, or perhaps asking him to recap some of his stellar late-game comebacks. As it turns out, they were talking about their Philadelphia connections, the King of Prussia shopping mall, and traffic on the Schuylkill Expressway.


"I was just trying to relax him more than anything else," Edwards said. "He'd been waiting around since 10 o'clock. It was to take more pressure off the guy, to just tell him to go out there and throw the ball and have some fun."

Ryan's mid-afternoon workout, in which he threw for NFL scouts for the first time this offseason, drew unprecedented attention compared with past BC Pro Days. In all, 22 teams were represented and 42 credentials were issued to media members, from ESPN to BC's school newspaper The Heights. Former BC players Doug Flutie and Pete Kendall also watched from the sidelines.

Ryan's scripted workout included 52 throws in which his targets were former teammates Andre Callender, Kevin Challenger, Tony Gonzalez, Jon Loyte, and L.V. Whitworth. As media members scribbled down details of every throw, NFL officials watched from the sideline as Ryan - in black shorts and a maroon T-shirt with the number "12" and "Ryan" on the back - worked at a pace that was probably a bit too deliberate for scouts.

A layman would note that Ryan completed 48 of his deliveries, with three drops and one overthrow, but that probably isn't the most accurate barometer to judge the performance, since there was no pass rush or defenders.

Some impressions from the experts?

"I thought he pressed a couple times, trying to throw the ball a little too hard," Edwards said. "That's generally what happens with quarterbacks when you get the media there.

"It used to be 10-15 years ago, the workouts, five people were there. Now, depending who you are, what school you're at, and where people slate you being drafted, it becomes this. Which is kind of good, because it puts a lot of pressure on the kids, and the game everyone plays, there is going to be pressure on them."

Vikings vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman agreed that Ryan seemed to press at times, but he added that he was impressed with his mobility and arm strength. Spielman called Ryan "an anticipatory thrower" with "a good sense for where to put [the ball]."

Ryan, whose father Michael and agent Tom Condon were on hand, felt good about the workout.

"I didn't think I pressed," he said. "I thought I showed that I could make every throw you need to make in the NFL."

Of the NFL teams represented, the Chiefs sent the most recognizable contingent, with Edwards, general manager Carl Peterson, and offensive coordinator Chan Gailey.

Edwards was the lone head coach in attendance. There were two general managers - Peterson and Carolina's Marty Hurney (the Panthers pick 13th), with Hurney one of five evaluators from the Panthers, the largest showing by a team. The Falcons and Vikings had directors/vice presidents of player personnel on hand.

In addition to Ryan, there were 16 other players from Boston College's 2007 roster working out, with offensive tackle Gosder Cherilus and safety Jamie Silva other top draws. Three former BC players and 16 players from Bentley, Harvard, Holy Cross, Northeastern, and UMass also worked out.

Edwards made no secret that he was in town to see Ryan. As for his thoughts on Kansas City possibly selecting him, he was guarded in his response.

"Everyone says who they're going to pick, why they're going to pick whom, and that's why a lot of head coaches go to certain events - we're all playing poker, and you keep your poker face on until it's your turn to pick," he said.

Former BC running back William Green attempted to jump-start a comeback into the NFL at Pro Day. While he struggled in his 40-yard dash after slipping at the start, he impressed with a 42-inch vertical jump and 25 repetitions on the bench press (225 pounds) . . . Edwards called Bentley offensive lineman Mackenzy Bernadeau of Waltham "very athletic" and "light on his feet," noting that he is an "interesting" prospect.

Mike Reiss can be reached at

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