OSU Pro Day — Departing Buckeyes Put Best Foot Forward for NFL Scouts
By Tony Gerdeman
Pro Day is the most important job interview of these departing Buckeyes' young lives, so they can be forgiven if nerves were to get the better of them. And with 30 of the NFL's 32 teams in attendance (the Chicago Bears and the New York Jets stayed home), it would actually be expected. However, almost to a man, each of the twelve participating Buckeyes were up to the task and happy with how they performed
"You're just trying to do everything as well as you can," said left tackle Mike Adams. "You want to show off your best to have everybody see what you can do."
Adams, who disappointed some scouts at the NFL Combine by only managing 19 reps of 225 pounds, bettered that number by two on Friday, and was pleased with it.
"I was pretty happy with it," he said. "I came in hoping to get 21 or 23, so 21 was fine with me."
While the first number was a disappointment to some, Adams' long arms are seen as one of the major reasons for a "low" number. Those long arms are also something that scouts drool over as they project him as a pass blocker.
“Long arms in the bench can't help you, but it is what it is," he said. I've got them, so I've got to work with them."
He declined to run the 40-yard dash.
Fellow offensive tackle J.B. Shugarts also participated in the event, and this was his first chance to perform in such a manner for NFL scouts.
"I wasn't invited to the combine, so this was kind of like my combine," he said. "So now I'm waiting to hear back, now that they have my height, weight and have seen me since I've been working out."
Shugarts managed 17 reps and was timed unofficially in the 5.5 second range.
"I've been working really hard for this day," he said. "It's great to be back here at Ohio State. I thought everybody came out here and had a great showing."
Four-year starting center Mike Brewster was Ohio State's third offensive linemen to participate in the Pro Day, and he talked about how much working with former Ohio State offensive lineman LeCharles Bentley has meant to him.
"I have plenty of power, it's just exerting more of it, and that's what LeCharles has been getting out of me," he said. "I feel like he's really going to take my game to the next level.
"He's really helping me cut a lot of body fat. He was a heck of a player. I'm just taking as much from him as I can. I'll probably end living up in Cleveland in the offseason the next three or four years. He's been that good to me."
As far as where Brewster sees himself going in the draft, he really doesn't care, because it won't change his approach to his future.
"I want to get on the field next year, so wherever I go, whatever round, whatever team, I'm not really worried about it," he said. "I just plan on playing for a long time."
The offensive side of the ball was well-represented on the day, as tailback Boom Herron and receiver Devier Posey also performed, and improved their stock while doing so.
Herron, who ran in the high 4.6s at the NFL Combine, greatly improved on that number on Friday, running times ranging from 4.44 to the low 4.5s. The 4.44, by the way, came from the stopwatch of former Buckeye lineman Alex Boone.
"I wanted to run my 40 again, obviously I tripped a little bit at the combine," Herron said. "This was more relaxed here, and I ran pretty good.
"Any time you have head coaches and scouts out here, it's always good to put on a good show. It's a job interview. It's a little bit of pressure, but at the same time I felt comfortable because this is my home."
Herron wasn't the only one who felt comfortable, because Posey looked completely at ease. He didn't run a 40, choosing instead to stick with his Combine time of 4.5 seconds. He mentioned that he was laser timed at 4.41 seconds at the Combine, and the teams he talked to were plenty content with his speed.
He had a tremendous outing catching the ball, as he didn't appear to drop anything on the day.
“This is the best part, it's just football," he said. "Running routes and catching balls. I feel like I do that the best. I just wanted to come out and make sure I caught everything today."
Not only did he catch everything on the day, but he also captured perfectly what the day meant to him.
“It's the period at the end of the sentence," he said. "It's a two month period and you want to be able to cap it all off with a great individual workout. You're at home, this should be your most comfortable setting. I feel like it went well."
As far as what teams Posey is hearing from and where he thinks he might go, he doesn't really put too much thought into it because there's really no point.
"There are so many smoke screens and different strategies to this," he said. "I'm just trying to be patient and make sure my phone line is on so I can answer all of my calls."
While some of Friday's participants have better odds of a career in the NFL than others, that doesn't mean those with the longer odds didn't also want to show what they could do.
Special teams standout Nate Ebner turned in some of the faster 40 times on the day, recording unofficial times of 4.48 and 4.47. For him, he couldn't have asked for a better performance.
"I wish I could do a little bit better in everything, that's just how I am," he said. "But I think it went well, though. As good as I could ask for. I'm happy with it. That's all I can control.
"I don't really have any expectations, but if a team is interested in me, I'm going to give them everything I've got."
Ebner, who is also a rugby standout, knows that he has some options if the NFL doesn't work out, and there is a very specific reason why he would continue to exhaust those options.
“I'll probably go back to rugby, without a doubt because I'm gonna be hitting people as much as I can until my body says 'No', and then I'll think about getting a real job.”
He also has his eyes on the Olympics in 2016.
Pro Day Notes
Linebacker Andrew Sweat had unofficial times ranging from 4.58 to 4.68 in his 40-yard dash.
Safety Aaron Gant turned in the best 40 time of the day with an unofficial 4.41.
The list of Ohio State participants: Mike Adams, Dionte Allen, Mike Brewster, Nate Ebner, Donnie Evege, Aaron Gant, Dan Herron, Tony Jackson, DeVier Posey, Grant Schwartz, J.B. Shugarts and Andrew Sweat.
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