By Shehan Jeyarajah
Baylor held its annual NFL Pro Day on Wednesday in Waco, and 18 former Baylor athletes performed in front of 36 NFL representatives.
The Bears had six players perform at Pro Day who also took part in the 2014 NFL Combine at Indianapolis in February: offensive guard Cyril Richardson, running back Lache Seastrunk, wide receiver Tevin Reese, cornerback Demetri Goodson, safety Ahmad Dixon and tight end Jordan Najvar.
Out of the six players, five improved upon their performances from the combine.
Richardson increased his bench press from 25 to 27 and 40-time from 5.36 to 5.19. Goodson dropped his 40-time from 4.52 to 4.46.
“You know, the food tastes better at home,” football coach Art Briles said. “This is home for them. The thing that I think it correlates to is when they get into the league. You know, they get with a team and they get comfortable with that team and they know what’s going to happen before it happens, and then they perform better. That’s why at these Pro Days they really excel here because there’s not a factor of what if something happens; they know what’s going to happen before it happens.”
Dixon improved his performance in the vertical jump, broad jump, three-cone drill and 60-yard shuttle. He also improved his 40-yard dash time from 4.64 to 4.52 seconds.
“The Combine is more of a serious place, but you’re comfortable at Pro Day,” Dixon said. “You can get amped up like you can’t at the Combine. I’ve got some positive feedback. A lot of teams just want to see improvement. That’s a big thing; they just want to see you can improve.”
Najvar also emphasized how difficult an environment the Combine is compared to the atmosphere of Pro Day. He improved his 40-yard dash time from 4.93 to 4.84 and bench press reps from 18 to 20.
“I think a lot of guys don’t see the work that goes into it, going to bed at midnight and waking up at 4 a.m.,” Najvar said. “But like they say, it’s a four-day job interview, have to be a professional, and that’s why you have Pro Day. I always thought of it as you get two tries at something and it worked out good.”
Seastrunk chose to forego his senior season in order to enter the NFL Draft. After a subpar showing in the Combine, the Temple product was all smiles following steady improvement on Pro Day.
“I think I had a wonderful time out here, didn’t really look at my numbers, I was just happy to be home,” Seastrunk said. “This is like my last time being out here, got to cherish the moment!”
Seastrunk moved his 40-yard dash time from 4.51 to 4.46 on Pro Day.
Tennessee Titans wide receiver Kendall Wright recalled fondly his Pro Day where he and quarterback Robert Griffin III escalated into first round draft picks.
“I remember more people out here [to see Griffin],” Wright said. “Robert was throwing the ball well that day. We were just having fun, had the music blasting.”
With the improvements at Pro Day, Briles has high expectations for his team in this year’s NFL Draft.
“I certainly would not be surprised if we had six guys drafted this year,” Briles said. “I think that’s a strong possibility and an expectation.”
The 2014 NFL Draft will take place between May 8 and May 10 at Radio City Music Hall in New York.