Virginia Tech had its Pro Day on Thursday, an event closed to the public and media. No official numbers were handed out, but we reporters got to scramble for quotes in a free-for-all afterward and I had a chance to catch up with a few former Hokies as they try to make the NFL.
There were 25 NFL teams in attendance for the event, the second half of which took place at Rector Field House.
He said he was dealing with something heading into the combine that NFL doctors and scouts knew about but wouldn’t divulge what it was.
Other than that, he went through the full scope of drills.
“I did pretty good,” he said. “All the coaches say they like what they saw. Showed my hands, but I dropped some passes. I didn’t want to drop no passes, but I dropped three. Caught about 10 balls, dropped about three. Running drills, cutting drills were good.”
Wilson already had individual workouts set up with Tampa Bay and Cleveland but expects more in the upcoming months.
Most prognosticators project him to be a second-round pick, although he doesn’t take much stock in it.
“These football gurus think they know, but you never know,” he said. “People trading in and out of picks. Coaches need a certain thing than the media thinks they need. People try to do this stuff but they very rarely are right. It’s kind of just waiting.”
Wilson, who trained in Orlando with Tom Shaw, plans to head back home to Danville for now, continuing to train between workouts with teams.
He hasn’t received an official invitation to attend the draft in New York but said he spoke with an NFL official at the combine who said they’d like to have him there.
Naturally, the sartorially-conscious Wilson already has been fitted for a suit. What does it look like?
“You’ll have to watch,” he said.
‘”I wasn’t, ‘What’s my numbers?’” he said. “I know they’ll be good or somewhere around where I expected from training. But I feel I did pretty good.”
Hosley has been training at XPE Sports near his hometown in Delray Beach, Fla., with Tony Villani. Most of the workouts are geared toward speed, explosion and agility.
“He’s not just telling you to go out there and do it,” Hosley said. “He’s actually out there doing it with you.”
Hosley, whose agent is Tony Fleming, has individual workouts set with Arizona, Jacksonville and Miami right now. He’s flying out tomorrow to continue his training.
Projections for where he’ll go in the draft are all over the map. ranging from second round to going on the third day.
“If it’s not up to me, I’m just going out working and putting my resume out there for the coaches to pick me up,” he said. “I mean, I’m just happy if somebody picks me up.”
He’s spoken with a few former Hokies who have played in the NFL to get advice. He talked with Brandon Flowers, another Delray Beach product, earlier, and met up with Eric Green, who played for the Arizona Cardinals from 2005-08 and worked out Thursday at Pro Day in an effort to get back in the league.
“He’s definitely telling me it’s a process,” Hosley said. “You’ve got to be humble, definitely go in and work, take it a day at a time and really listen. Know what’s going on and learn the game. Really be a student of the game.”
“I think if anybody told you, they’d be lying to you,” he said. “And really what I’m trying to do is put myself in a position to get an opportunity. If that comes, I’ll be thrilled. …
“And nobody knows where, when anybody is going except for maybe the top three picks. There were guys last year who I sworn would have been drafted and they weren’t. So you just don’t know.”
Coale, who tested well at the combine last month, did everything but the bench press and 60-yard shuttle Thursday. He didn’t know his times off hand (although a tweet from Frank Beamer‘s website said he ran a sub-4.40).
Even though he went to Indy for the combine, he relished the chance at getting on the field again in front of scouts.
“You always want to improve your numbers, but more than anything I just wanted to come out here and compete again,” he said. “I was excited about being back with the guys and back in this field house and doing the routine.”
He’s going to stick around Blacksburg for a while in case teams want to do individual workouts as a follow-up to Pro Day.
While the process is nerve-wracking, Coale is still enjoying it.
“Of course it’s nerve-wracking. At times stressful,” he said. “But you go to the combine and you do this, and I think doing things like that, that while it’s stressful, you are in a unique and just awesome position to have this opportunity. It was my dream and when you kind of sit back and think, I’m working toward it, I’ve been fortunate to have gone this far.”
Wide receiver Jarrett Boykin was disappointed in the 4.74 40 time he ran at the NFL Combine while nursing a hamstring injury. He ran in the 4.5 range Thursday, somewhat alleviating concerns about his speed.
“People question my speed so much,” Boykin said. “I know I’m not a 4.7 guy. At that same time I know I’m not a track guy. People, they work on that their whole life, coming out of the blocks and stuff. I’m a football player. I mean, I’m going to run, I’m going to work on it and get it down and just play football.”
Boykin had a hamstring issue going into the combine, but, despite advice from his trainer telling him not to run, went through the drill anyway.
“ That’s a once in a lifetime opportunity,” he said. “I couldn’t pass that up. I had to go out and do something, show that I can compete.”
Did NFL scouts know that?
“I didn’t tell them,” Boykin said. “I didn’t want it to be a big deal.”
Boykin did everything except the bench press Thursday and, like most Tech players, didn’t know his final numbers. More importantly, he went through positional drills, which he hopes will help his cause.
“You’ve got to enjoy this process,” he said. “I mean, the second you lay your head down about anything people say or anything that went wrong, you start doubting yourself and you do things wrong. I like proving people wrong. The naysayers and stuff, changing their mind.”
He’s heard he might go anywhere from the fifth to seventh round for the draft but doesn’t have too much of an idea.
“I just want to get the opportunity to play, just get out there and do what I can do,” he said. “Any opportunity is great.”
“I just wanted to show them that I don’t know where they get their estimate from,” he said. “I just wanted to show them that I’ve never run a 4.6 before and I can do whatever they want me to do. I can play corner, I can play safety. Wherever they need me, I’ll do it.”
Thursday was important for Whitley, who was disappointed he didn’t get an invitation to the NFL Combine last month. He admitted to being nervous.
“It’s exciting because you’ve been putting all this work in, then you let loose today and you did really good,” he said. “That’s the exciting part about it. But up to it, man, I was about to throw up and was nervous. I was like, ‘I feel like I’m about to play in the ACC championship game again, the Orange Bowl, something like that.’ It’s cool, man. Hopefully somebody calls my phone and tells me they’re going to pick me up.”
Whitley has been working out at a facility in Los Angeles with Maurice Greene. He did a variety of positional drills for scouts Thursday.
“I showed them that I’ve got good hips and I can change directions,” he said. “I’m just fluid. Try to show them that I’m the total package. They said I’ve got good hips. I’ve just got to work with my plant drive, get out of my breaks and stuff like that.”
Whitley had heard that he might be drafted in the late rounds, but hasn’t spoken specifically with any teams about individual workouts.
He thinks his versatility in a scheme like Bud Foster‘s will help him as he tries to make it to the next level.
“Coach Bud, he makes us NFL ready,” Whitley said. “The schemes that we do, we have so many different schemes. Coaches ask us, ‘Have you done this? Have you done this?’ We’ve done practically almost everything. And for me to have played four positions here at Virginia Tech helps me out a lot. Just let them know that I’m versatile and can do pretty much a lot of things that they need me to.”
Both felt their hamstrings tightening up on them in the 40 Thursday, so they eased up. DeChristopher did the broad jump and then positional drills. Brooks repped 225 pounds 24 times and had a 8-9 in the broad jump.
DeChristopher, who still has his trademark beard, said he can play tackle or guard. He’s heard he could be a late-round pick or a free agent.
“I really don’t try to put too much time in it because it doesn’t matter where you start, it’s where you finish,” he said. “If I’m a free agent, that’s fine. If I’m a drafted guy, you’ve got to prove yourself. And everyone’s going to be in the same boat. When they get on a team they’ve got to make it, so that’s what I’m really trying to work hard to do.”
“It was good just knowing that they’re actually out there looking at film and everything,” Brooks said. “They’re telling me stuff about my film, so that was a shocker. I thought I was just flying under the radar.”
He’s heard that he could go anywhere from the fourth round to an undrafted free agent.
“Either way, I just want a shot, man,” he said.
DeChristopher, Brooks and Andrew Lanier were the three Tech linemen working out Thursday. Greg Nosal was there as a spectator and said he’s done with football. He’s already dropped 25 pounds and expects to lose quite a bit more weight.