WSU's Ivan McLennan turned heads with his 40 yard dash at Pro Day, Kache Palacio is willing to do whatever it takes to get a shot at the NFL, and Destiny Vaeao would have given all other defensive tackles a run for their money if he had been invited to February's NFL Combine
Ivan McLennan turned some heads with his Pro Day numbers from the combine-style workout Washington State held for its NFL hopefuls on Thursday.
McLennan, a 6-foot-3, 238 pound linebacker, clocked times of 4.59 and 4.61 in his 40 yard dash, managed 17 reps of the 225-pound bench press, a 36-inch vertical jump, a 9-foot-6-inch broad jump and a 7.1-second three-cone drill.
The most eye-catching number there is McLennan’s 40 time, which would have placed him among the top six of all linebackers who worked out at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis in February.
Like his teammate, Dom Williams, McLennan spent the last couple of months working out at Tracy Ford’s Ford Sports Performance facility in Bellevue, and he said he came away impressed by the results.
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“I looked real lean out there, I moved real fast and I moved well. Ford Sports was a great place to train,” McLennan said.
McLennan, who finished fifth on WSU’s defense with 9.0 tackles for loss last season, said he was disappointed about not garnering an invitation to one of the senior all-star bowl games, and badly wanted to play in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl.
“I was very disappointed. But it’s OK, everything happens for a reason. I used it to fire me up and motivate me,” McLennan said.
He said his agent, Landon Betsworth of the Entourage Management Group, believes he could get drafted in the late rounds of the NFL Draft in May. Until then, he’s staying in Pullman to work out, and is hoping NFL teams will contact him to set up private workouts.
Palacio athletic enough to play either linebacker or fullback
Linebacker Kache Palacio finished his WSU career ranked No. 10 all-time with 16 total sacks and is hoping his Pro Day numbers and college stats will earn him a shot with an NFL team.
Palacio went into Pro Day as a linebacker, and some scouts were so impressed with his athleticism that they asked him to run through some drills as a fullback.
In a phone interview on Friday, Palacio said that the Seattle Seahawks, Kansas City Chiefs and Indianapolis Colts all approached him at WSU’s Pro Day on Thursday to inquire about how willing he would be to move from linebacker to fullback.
It’s an unusual request when you consider that the position of fullback is something of an endangered species in NFL offenses. Still, even though he would prefer to play linebacker at the next level, Palacio has no qualms about moving to the offensive side of the ball if he has to.
He ran some fullback drills during the position workout portion of WSU’s Pro Day, running and catching passes out of the backfield on flat routes, out routes and wheel routes.
Palacio measured 6-foot-1 and 237 pounds at Pro Day. He ran a 4.78 and 4.81 40 yard dash and clocked a 34-inch vertical jump, 21 reps on the bench press, and a 9-foot-11-inch vertical jump.
NFL Network analyst Gil Brandt said Palacio “overall had a good workout” and sees him as a priority free agent this spring.
Palacio has dabbled with offense in some 7-on-7 drills during his time at WSU, but he hasn’t actually played fullback since his sophomore year at Serra (Gardena, Calif.) High. Still, he says he’s excited about the opportunity to run the ball and catch passes again if he’s called upon to do so and plans to study up on the fullback position when he gets back to Los Angeles, Calif., where he’ll be based for the next couple of months.
“It’s no different,” Palacio said, grinning. “I’m still gonna be the one doing the hitting even though I’m on the offensive side of the ball.”
The learning curve is a little steeper when it comes to understanding running lanes and the nuances of the fullback position. But, “I can adjust to it though,” Palacio said. “It’s backyard football. I’ve been cutting on kids all my life.”
Be it at linebacker or fullback, Palacio just wants a chance to fulfill his dream of playing in the NFL.
Vaeao’s monster vertical jump would have been topped all DTs at NFL Combine
Defensive tackle Destiny Vaeao said he felt good about his entire Pro Day work out, but his most eye popping stat came off the vertical jump, where his 35.5-inch leap would have been the best among all defensive tackles if he’d been invited to the NFL Scouting Combine. And that’s saying something because this class of defensive linemen is widely considered to be the deepest in many years.
As it stands, Ole Miss defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche’s 35.0-inch vertical jump was the best mark recorded at the combine in February.
At Pro Day, Vaeao was measured as 6-foot-3 inches, and weighed 298 pounds. He managed a 9-foot broad jump, a 5.19 40 yard dash, and 27 reps on the 225-pound bench press.
Vaeao said Friday that the Colts, Jaguars and 49ers showed interest in him at Pro Day, and he had a phone interview with the New York Jets on Friday morning.
Between now and the NFL Draft, he plans to remain in Pullman training alongside fellow WSU NFL hopeful Darryl Paulo and said it was gratifying to be back with the entire team at the WSU football awards banquet on Thursday night.
“It’s been a ride together with the guys and the coaches and all the people that really helped me — the academic staff, the trainers, the equipment guys and my teammates,” said Vaeao, who was named the Leon Bender Award winner as the best defensive lineman from the 2015 season. “It was good to get that last get together and share that last moment with everybody, look back on good memories, watch some of the highlights. It’s something that’s gonna last forever.”