Missouri quarterback James Franklin knows the knocks he carries into Pro Day on Thursday at Devine Pavilion: He’s injury-prone, lacks NFL arm strength and played inconsistent.
But Franklin, who wasn’t invited to the NFL Combine, hopes to put some of those concerns to bed and display his overhauled throwing mechanics with the aim of convincing at least one NFL scout to lobby for him.
All Franklin, who threw for nearly 7,000 yards and nearly rushed for another 1,800 in four seasons at Missouri, wants next summer is a spot in an NFL camp and the chance to show that he can play quarterback in the NFL.
Franklin, who said he won’t entertain changing positions for now, spent more than a month in Florida working with former Marshall offensive coordinator turned quarterback guru Greg Briner.
Among the refinements to Franklin’s mechanics was an emphasis on unlocking his hips and generating more torque, thus more velocity, on his throws.
Franklin, who also worked with trainer Pete Bommarito at his Miami training facility, hopes to show off a few tweaks to his physique and delivery for the assembled NFL scouts.
On the eve of the Tigers’ Pro Day, here was what Franklin — who accounted for more than 70 career touchdowns, 51 passing and 21 rushing — had to say about arguably the biggest day of his football life:
Q: Are you getting nervous about Pro Day?
I’m pretty excited about it. There’s a little bit of nerves, yes sir. But for the most part, I am pretty excited about (Thursday) to go out there and perform.
Q: Is there added pressure on your Pro Day performance since you weren’t invited the NFL Combine last month?
A little bit, maybe, but really it’s more motivation. I know that, contrary to what a lot of people think, that I am a good quarterback. I use that motivation that I didn’t get invited to the combine. I got hurt this year, and I think that’s why a lot of people overlooked me, because I missed four SEC games. But I’m ready to perform and am trying not to put too much pressure on doing well. I’m just excited about it.
Q: The NFL Draft talk is still possibly a late-round pick, but more likely a priority free agent signing. Is that in line with what you’re and your agent are hearing?
That’s the same thing I’m hearing — if anything, late round, but most likely free agent.
Q: Are you just looking for a chance then?
Yes, sir. I think about it and I compare myself to a lot of the other quarterbacks and think about all that I have accomplished even with the games that I missed due to injuries. It speaks for itself, and I’m pretty motivated. I do want a chance. I know a lot of the high draft picks come with politics, but I am looking forward to Pro Day and trying to enhance my opportunity in the future to make a team and play in the NFL.
Q: What are you hoping to show at the Pro Day to impress the NFL scouts?
Franklin: The big thing really is keeping the mechanics that I’ve been practicing the last couple months and showing off that I am accurate and I do have arm strength. That’s what I’m looking forward to doing. I’m also looking forward to all the testing to show some athleticism, but the big things are to have a good day throwing and show good mechanics.