…and we’re going back one more time to March 25, 2004 – Ben’s NFL Pro Day Workout.
“It’s a dream come true. I’ve always wanted to play in the NFL. Everything I get to do, meet all these coaches, see Al Davis, visit with Warren Moon, it’s a dream coming true. It’s hard to believe. I have to pinch myself and make sure it’s true.” — Ben, on both the experience and the opportunity to play in the NFL, March of 2004.
From the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Mark Curnutte:
QB Ben packs ’em in for pro workout –
Scouts or assistant coaches from nearly all 32 NFL teams made their way to Oxford. Two head coaches, Green Bay’s Mike Sherman and the Giants’ Tom Coughlin – along with Giants’ general manager Ernie Accorsi and three of the club’s scouts – were there, too.
Charting each of the players’ moves with stopwatches and clipboards, scouts watched them lift weights, jump, sprint and run agility drills before congregating in Yager Stadium for the main event: Ben throws.
And Roethlisberger, a sure-fire top-five pick rated along with Mississippi’s Eli Manning as one of the top two quarterbacks in the draft, did not disappoint.
He threw long and short, soft and hard, down the middle and toward the sideline – showing off his impressive arm and timing on the deep out pattern.
Roethlisberger ran 4.76 seconds in the 40-yard dash. And he clocked an 11.8 – considered fast for a quarterback – on a three-cone agility drill.
“He’s probably going to be gone before we pick, but I always want to cover our bases in case something happens – he falls or we move up,” Sherman said. “I thought he had an excellent workout. He did everything here he does on tape. You have to watch the game tape to really appreciate what kind of quarterback he is and what kind of leadership skills he has.”
You can read the rest of Mr. Curnutte’s 2004 article here.
“Whatever team gets him is going to be enlisting an athlete who can throw and move. His strength is throwing on the run. They talk in Oxford about the time last season when the quarterback scrambled to his left, shucked off a tackler, and scrambled in the opposite direction. A tight end was sprinting across the field. Roethlisberger reached him in stride with a pass he had to arch over a defender. At his workout in Oxford, according to Harris, Roethlisberger stood on the 40-yard line on one side of the field and delivered a pass into the end zone on the other side of the field. He did it flat-footed, without using his legs.” — Jerry Magee, from his 2004 column in the San Diego Union-Tribune.
From NFL.com‘s “Pro Day Workout – Ben Roethlisberger” the day after:
As expected, there was a big turn out here as over 50 NFL personnel people attended.
Roethlisberger’s workout was scripted by Steve Clarkson, who is a former San Jose State QB and currently helps prepare quarterbacks for the NFL. Roethlisberger (6-4 7/8, 240) ran his 40s in 4.81 and 4.82. He had a 30-inch vertical, a 4.32 short shuttle and a 6.81 three-cone drill.
His positional drills were referred to as outstanding. They had him throw a lot of passes on the move, and threw about 80 passes total with very good accuracy. He threw to Grant Mattos, who was with the Chargers last year, along with Cal Murry, a running back at Miami, Ohio this past year and tight end Matt Brandt (no relation). They finished the workout by having him stand flat-footed on his own 40 and throwing to receivers in five-yard increments starting at the opposing 30-yard line. By the end of the drill, he was connecting to receivers in the end zone 60 yards away. One Giants personnel guy said to me, “I’ve seen enough,” as in Roethlisberger can’t get any better. Another person there said, “If Al Davis passes on him, he’s making a big mistake.”
(The 2004 Pro-Day article from NFL.com is no longer available to view.)
And from the Cincinnati Enquirer once again, on April 13th – just 11 days before the 2004 NFL Draft:
In sizing up this year’s NFL Draft quarterback class, it’s not too tough to figure out who the top three candidates are. But picking between Mississippi’s Eli Manning, Miami of Ohio’s Ben Roethlisberger and North Carolina State’s Philip Rivers is all about a matter of taste as much as it is about risk and reward.
“The thing I find unique about it is every one of those guys is different,” said San Diego Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer. “Ben Roethlisberger is a giant of a guy, a terrific athlete. Reminds me of a (Daunte) Culpepper or a (Steve) McNair. He just has a rocket of an arm and had a terrific workout.”
One reason why San Diego might be willing to trade with New York and drop down to the No. 4 pick is the belief that it will get Roethlisberger, who put on a show for scouts at his workout with his arm strength and mobility for a guy who is 6-foot-5 and weighs 242 pounds.
Of the top three players in this class, Roethlisberger has a stronger arm than Manning — with his classic over-the-top delivery — and Rivers, whose sidearm style has been widely questioned.
Roethlisberger completed 69.1 percent (342 of 495) of his passes for 4,486 yards and 37 touchdowns as a senior, all single-season school records. He joins Pennington and Leftwich as the only MAC quarterbacks to pass for 3,000 or more yards in three separate seasons.
You can read the rest of Mr. Kotala’s Pre-Draft summary here.
You can read about Ben’s 2004 Combine (posted in 2014) here!
“I love being a quarterback. I want to be in the position where I can have the ball in my hands every play. I like having the ball in my hands at the end of a game. I like directing things and being a leader and leading by example.” — Ben, from an interview in March, 2004.