At 6-foot-4 and a lean 306 pounds, Vinston Painter doesn’t look or move like your average offensive linemen, so the former Hokies right tackle had plenty of confidence about the workout portion of the NFL combine last week.
The interviews worried him, though, a fear that proved unnecessary.
“I surprised myself with the interviews,” he said last week. “I felt like once I got in a room, I handled it very well. Better than even I expected.”
As expected, Painter put up strong numbers in the workouts. He ran a 4.95-second 40-yard dash, repped 225 pounds 32 times on the bench press and had a 30.5-inch vertical, numbers that put him in the top five among linemen in each category.
He knew he’d perform well there, though, having trained hard along with Hokies teammate Nick Becton at the LeCharles Bentley O-Line Academy in Scottsdale, Ariz.
“It makes it a lot easier, having somebody out there I’ve known the last couple years, training and talking with him every day to get his take on the experience,” Painter said. “We both push each other.”
But Painter didn’t know exactly what to expect during the interview portion in Indy, although he settled in quickly. There were set 10-15-minute meetings with teams on certain nights. There were also informal meetings.
“A coach might grab you and sit you down for a few minutes and ask you questions, have you draw up a couple plays,” Painter said. “I was a little bit nervous. Once the questions started coming, it just became easier and easier. I just started getting a great feel for what to expect.”
Painter, a likely late-round pick or undrafted free agent, didn’t get a sense of which teams were most interested.
“It’s hard to tell, because there are so many meetings in such a short period of time,” he said. “It’s hard to kind of gauge whether a team really likes you or not.”
For now, he’s back training, waiting for Virginia Tech’s pro day on March 20. On the advice of his agent, he said he probably won’t do the workouts again, but he will do position drills.
“It’s been fun,” Painter said of the whole process. “Definitely interesting. I’m just training 24/7 almost, spending time with my family. I’m definitely enjoying the experience right now.”