WSU's Darryl Paulo hit a personal best at Thursday's Pro Day. He's trying to make the transition from defensive end to rush linebacker
Darryl Paulo had a strong senior season for Washington State at defensive end, where he started all 13 games and finished the year with a team-high seven sacks and 13 tackles for loss. His pass rushing prowess is unquestioned, but at 6-foot-2, 260 pounds, Paulo is a little undersized for the traditional defensive end position in a 3-4 defense.
So, for the last two months, Paulo has been working out under Clif Marshall at Ignition Athletic Performance in Cincinnati, Ohio, trying to make the transition to a rush linebacker. That facility is where Bengals linebacker Rey Maualuga trains, and Paulo said Marshall has taught him a lot about proper recovery techniques while also coaching him to become faster and more explosive.
Paulo was listed at 255 pounds last season, but weighed in at 260 at WSU’s Pro Day in Pullman on Thursday. That extra five pounds was the result of a lot of hard work to gain good weight.
“My metabolism is really fast, when I was (in Cincinnati) I was just constantly eating,” Paulo said. “It was kind of a high-protein diet, and there were a lot of supplements I took. And the workouts helped to build those muscles too. I like the results from two months. I’m going to stay on that track.”
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At his Pro Day, Paulo ran a 4.8 40-yard-dash, managed 25 reps on the bench press, had a 33-inch vertical jump and a 9-foot-10-inch broad jump.
Paulo noted that the astro turf in the Cougars’ indoor practice facility where the 40-yard-dash was held, made running a little different than what he was used to.
“It was kinda hard to adjust to running on that surface in the bubble. It was kind of like a thick carpet,” said Paulo, who ran in running shoes instead of cleats because of the nature of the surface.
That 9-foot-10-inch broad jump, however, was a personal best for Paulo, who said in a phone interview Thursday afternoon that it surpassed anything he’s ever managed even in training.
Paulo was not invited to the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis in February, but his broad jump would have put him in the top 12 of all the linebackers who worked out for scouts at the Combine and his 40-time would have put him in the top-10 of all Combine defensive ends.
Paulo is a tweener. And he’s hoping that by honing his linebacker skills he’ll make himself more appealing to NFL teams because of his versatility.
Paulo last played linebacker when he was in high school but said it hasn’t been too difficult to pick up the position again. He went through both linebacker and defensive end position drills with scouts at Pro Day.
With Pro Day behind him, Paulo will now remain in Pullman until the NFL Draft. He’s finishing up one online class, and will also continue to work out based on a program written for him by Marshall.
The emphasis now shifts from combine drills to position drills, and Paulo said he’s also eager to work with and watch film with the Cougars’ linebackers coaches to expand his football IQ from the linebacking standpoint.