March 12, 2008
Running back Bryan Payton is a regular contributor to IUHoosiers.com. He periodically checked in during the 2007 regular season and will continue to do so during the offseason. Bryan was in attendance at Indiana's Pro Day and shares what he witnessed below. Be sure to check out Bryan's blog at http://insideiufootball.blogspot.com.
Last Wednesday was an exciting day for our outgoing seniors, and one junior. Our annual NFL Pro Day was held over in our Mellencamp indoor facility. Needless to say, my teammates and I were very excited as well. A healthy number of NFL coaches and scouts were in attendance to get a good look and evaluate all of the participants. Out all of the NFL personnel in attendance, one man stood out to me - Cincinnati Bengals Head Coach, Marvin Lewis. I was kind of awestruck at the sight of him. I'm not even a Bengals fan but I really do respect Coach Lewis, especially considering he is one of the few African-American head coaches in football. As I was observing from the sidelines, it was a big deal to catch a glimpse of him.
I rushed over to the The Rock immediately after my 1 p.m. class ended. The workouts began in the weight room, where the scouts recorded each of the 13 players (including Indiana State running back Tony West) heights and weights, except for James Hardy, who stood by his combine numbers. Josiah Sears really looked to be in great shape.
While in the weight room, the players repped out their 225-pound bench press tests. John Sandberg's 31 reps led everyone and would have tied him with three other offensive linemen for fourth at the NFL Combine (Michigan's Jake Long led all linemen with 37). Sears turned in another impressive performance with 28 reps. His effort would have tied Oregon's Jonathan Stewart for third among running backs (Furman's fullback Jerome Felton led all backs with 30 reps).
From there the evaluations continued to Mellencamp, where the players participated in running and agility tests. I clocked Leslie Majors in the 4.5s for both runs, Sears in the low 4.8 range and Blake Powers also running in the low 4.8s.
Once the tests were finished, the scouts wanted to work out a few of our stars individually. Hardy ran a wide array of routs given to him by the scouts. He displayed great hands, catching every past thrown his way. He looked fast and in amazing shape. I was also very impressed with Sears. Working out as a fullback, he was told to run many routs. He caught every ball with his hands and got up field quickly. He definitely helped his stock.
In my opinion, by far, the most impressive performance in position drills came from Porter. He displayed very fluid hips, great hands, quick feet and exceptional ball skills. He was also in amazing shape. He appeared to be very flexible as he was forced to twist and turn for many of the balls thrown to him.
As a whole, I felt like Pro Day went pretty well. It was exciting to see our players work out and do their best. I couldn't help but think about when my day would come...only two years away.
Check back soon