Virginia Tech’s pro day has come and gone. As usual, the Hokies did us media types no favors. The workouts, which were closed to the media, ended a half an hour earlier than they said they would. After that it was a mad scramble to catch guys on their way to the parking lot for a few questions.
As it was, I didn’t have a chance to grab Marcus Davis or Corey Fuller, the two Tech players most likely to be the first off the board in April’s draft. I did manage to catch up with Bruce Taylor, Martin Scales and Vinston Painter.
Briefly (and in bullet form), here’s what each had to say …
Bruce Taylor, linebacker
– Taylor did everything he did at the combine again except the bench press. He didn’t have any exact numbers afterward — and, honestly, didn’t want them until the end — but thinks he improved in drills, including the 40, in which he ran a disappointing time in Indianapolis.
– What changed this time around? Taylor did a few more technique-related workouts related to the 40 to improve his form, which he thinks helped. Being on familiar ground was a boost too. “I got a good night’s rest, which I didn’t get on the combine,” he said. “My legs were a lot fresher than they were at the combine. Just overall, I felt a lot better.”
– Having a second chance at drills was a big factor as well. “You’ve already been through it once,” he said. “You already know what to expect, where at the combine, everything is kind of brand new. It’s still all brand new. Coaches want things run a certain way. Just the comfort of already knowing what to expect.”
– Taylor still doesn’t have a sense of what teams think of him. He said he’ll probably hear more about individual team workouts after April 1, once most schools are finished with the pro days.
– He said he’ll continue to train in the leadup to the draft in Tennessee and back home in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Martin Scales, running back
– One of the Hokies who didn’t get an NFL Combine invite, Scales was pleased just to get a chance to showcase his stuff Wednesday. “For me, it was just fun,” he said. “I’m stretching my legs out, enjoying myself, because it’s not the end of the world for me. I just go out there and do my best. You can’t be mad at yourself if you just go out and do your best. That’s how I feel. So I enjoyed it.”
– He did all the drills — 40, vertical, bench, 20-yard shuttle, L drill, 60-yard shuttle — in addition to positional drills. He didn’t know a lot of his numbers but thought he ran a good 40. He was somewhat disappointed in the 16 reps he had on the bench press at 225 pounds. “I was a little slow on my start,” he said.
– Scales, who if anything will be an undrafted free agent, doesn’t have an agent, so he’s been working out in Blacksburg. He’s letting football play out as long as he can, with hopes of getting a shot somewhere, even if it’s a tryout situation. “I would like to be picked up, but if I don’t, that’d be all right too,” he said. “I believe I will, and I think I’m still young and an athlete, so I’m going to push it and see if I can go with it.”
Vinston Painter, offensive tackle
– He’s encouraged about what he’s heard about his draft stock recently. After the season, he was projected to be an undrafted free agent. Now, after his combine performance he’s heard he could be a late-round pick. “I’m not sure where right now,” he said. “But I’m just glad that I’m not an undrafted free agent anymore.”
– Painter thinks the combine helped his cause immensely. He did well in the workout parts but surprised himself during the interview portion too. “Sometimes I’d question myself as far as being able to spit out what I’ve learned, as far as football IQ is concerned,” he said. “I kind of surprised myself with how well I did. But that was another thing that struck the coaches. This guy is a great learner. He’s very knowledgeable of the game. I kind of just showed myself, how far I’ve come as a football player.”
– Obviously, Painter’s size impressed scouts. He’s a chiseled 6-foot-4, 306 pounds, someone who doesn’t look like your typical flabby lineman. How’d he get that across to the scouts in Indy? “Took my shirt off,” he said. “I just walk around a little bit, get my Calvin Klein on. That’s all.”
– Painter said he has “maybe one or two” individual workouts coming up with NFL teams that he chose not disclose, per his agent’s advice.
– The fact that Painter didn’t play a whole lot in college is a big question mark about his draftability, but he said it has some positives to it too. He has no wear and tear on him. “As far as not having any surgeries, that’s a huge positive,” he said. “The doctors for the teams couldn’t really believe it. They tried to find any and everything that they could, but there was nothing there.”
– He’ll be working out in Blacksburg in the meantime, shuttling between Norfolk and here. He had worked out at a facility in Arizona before the combine. “That plane ticket there is a bit steep for my pockets right now,” he said. “So I’ll be here in Blacksburg. I’d rather pay for gas than a flight.”