Fifteen players will be at WSU's Pro Day on Thursday, but Luke Falk, will not work out, and Cole Madison and Hercules Mata'afa will do position drills. For everyone else, this is their one chance to convince scouts they are good enough to play in the NFL
Luke Falk, Cole Madison and Hercules Mata’afa got to showcase their talents at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
But for the rest of Washington State’s 15 NFL hopefuls, Thursday’s Pro Day is their one chance to impress NFL teams and in hopes of continuing their football careers at the next level.
Along with the three who were at the combine, WSU’s Pro Day will feature defensive tackles Daniel Ekuale and Garrett McBroom, linebackers Frankie Luvu and Dylan Hanser, defensive backs Kirkland Parker, Marcellus Pippins and Robert Taylor, offensive lineman Cody O’Connell, running backs Jamal Morrow and Gerard Wicks, receiver Robert Lewis and kicker Erik Powell.
Morrow, who broke a metatarsal bone his foot in the Holiday Bowl will bench press at Pro Day, but will not do any of the running events, his agent said, adding that the hope is to set up private workouts with interested teams down the road when Morrow is fully healthy.
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Falk will attend WSU Pro Day, but will not work out there, having opted, instead to throw in front of scouts in his hometown of Logan, Utah at Utah State’s Pro Day on March 28.
Madison and Mata’afa will do position drills on Thursday, but will stand by their combine results on most of the combine tests, though, Mata’afa’s agent, Kenny Zuckerman, said his client will re-run his short shuttle and the three-cone drill at pro day.
For everyone else, Pro Day is the job interview they’ve spent the last two months training for.
Hanser gained 18 pounds of muscle while working out in Bozeman, Mont. under the direction of former Patriots and Buccaneers linebacker Dane Fletcher, and now stands at 6-4, 250 pounds, he said.
“I put on quite a bit of weight,” Hanser said. “That was my big thing going into it. I needed to put on size because no one is going to take an outside linebacker who’s too skinny. So we worked on that, and I’m running as fast as I’ve ever run before.”
Taylor, WSU’s starting free safety last year, trained in Hawaii for two months and has devised very specific goals he’s hoping to hit at Pro Day. He’s hoping to run a 40-yard dash that’s between 4.3 and 4.4, wants to get between 15 to 18 repetitions on the 225-pound bench press, a 39-inch vertical jump, and a 10-foot broad jump.
Above all, Taylor said, “I just want to show scouts that when you turn on the film, I’ll run a real great 40, and in the (bench press) I might surprise some people.”
The 5-foot-10 Taylor was listed at 186 pounds his senior year, but he wants to convince scouts that his size is not a limiting factor.
“People might think I don’t have the strength, so me being able to hit the numbers guys at the Combine hit will help me,” Taylor said. “And on the vertical jump and broad jump, I want to show these guys I can be explosive.”
Most of WSU’s draft hopefuls have spent the last few weeks focusing on the combine drills, but Powell is the exception.
The Cougars’ placekicker signed with an agent, but stayed in Pullman to train on his own instead of going off to a training facility elsewhere.
Powell says it’s unlikely that he’ll do any of the combine drills – though, he says he’s contemplated running the 40-yard dash because, as a former soccer player, he’s known for his athleticism and thinks he would do well.
However, his pro day workout will consist solely of kicking and punting.
Per conversations with former WSU kicker Andrew Furney, who signed with the New York Jets in 2014, Powell said he expects the NFL scouts will start him off and a certain distance and have him kick increasingly far field goals. Then he’ll probably do some kickoffs and punts.
He hopes to impress some NFL teams during pro day and get invited to do a few private workouts.
“What drives me is that there’s only 32 spots for a kicker (in the NFL) and I love kicking and would love to do it for a job,” Powell said. “I think of all the senior kickers coming out, I had the best season, so hopefully they see that and see the growth over the years.”