Friday was "ProDay" at the Oregon St. football practice facility, with scouts from 3/4 of the teams in the NFL plus one from the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League on hand to take a look at 10 departing Beaver players.
More players wind up in camp that aren't drafted than those that are, and while most players invited or drafted are cut by the curious NFL practice that values volume at a glance over serious evaluation and development, some of those players do stick, and the various workouts beyond the NFL combine are what serves for that serious evaluation.
Teams are also constructing their "call lists" of players they turn to in the event there is a rash of injuries or other issues that strike a given position group, leaving them needing to make in-week in-season calls.
And not every team is equally interested in every player or position, depending on their needs.
And then there is the phenomenon of the NFL Salary Cap, where teams spend, and some times over spend, on select players, and are left in position to cut All-Pro players they can't afford to pay. The result can be players you never though had a chance to land in the league playing for a minimum contract. It's sheer folly, but its also today's reality, and so there's a need for an opportunity for the eyeball test that supplements the hours of game video.
It's the NFL version of those job fairs that every other vocation conducts. Most people attending won't ever have any future dealings with most of the employers present. But sometimes a contact is developed, or some tidbit is learned, which comes in handy down the road.
Players like Wheaton, who has additional individual workouts scheduled with Arizona, Dallas, and New England, and Poyer, having attended the NFL Combine, have a targeted agenda, where they pick and choose what they participate in, looking to improve in some areas, while avoiding anything that might hurt their stock in others.
Wheaton improved his standing with better sprint times, while Poyer put emphasis on better weight lifting numbers, and putting his knowledge of the game on display.
Wheaton ran the 20 yard shuttle in 4.02 seconds, and posted an 11.16 in the 60 yard shuttle.
Poyer lifted 225 pounds 11 times, 3 better than what he did at the combine.
Here's a look at the activities:
Whether it results in an invite or not, no one knows yet, but Brian Watkins attracted the attention that might. Or at least put his name in some people's minds who might otherwise not think of him for some niche someday.
Watkins turned in a 4.4 second 40, and bench pressed 225 lbs. 18 times. He also leaped 10' 2" inches in the long jump, and was measured at 38.5" in the vertical leap, both best of any of the Oregon St. players.
"He tore it up and he wants a chance," Poyer said. "He did really well for himself. He put himself on the map by wowing the scouts and I think he'll get a shot."
"He had impressive numbers and he looked real good," Wheaton added. "I'm sure a lot of people will be surprised, but those of us on the team are not."
Offensive lineman Colin Kelly had a good showing as well, but defensive tackle Andrew Seumalo did not.
Kelly did 28 reps on the bench lift, the most of any of the 9 who lifted. However Seumalo, who had hurt his right shoulder in training previously, had to stop lifting after just 3 reps. Seumalo also had a hamstring tightened up while participating in running drills.
Here are the sprint times:
Brian Watkins: 4.4
Keynan Parker: 4.4
Rusty Fernando: 4.62
Colby Prince: 4.82
Kevin Unga: 4.85
Andrew Seumalo: 5.31
Colin Kelly: 5.34
Castro Masaniai: 5.5
Here are the jump numbers:
Defensive end Rusty Fernando placed well in several areas, possibly better than many might have expected. And sometime scouts value athleticism or measurables higher than a players' on-field resume.
Here's the lift results:Bench reps of 225 pounds:
Seumalo: 3 (Hurt shoulder on third lift)
And a look at Kevin Unga working on the bench: