The Combine Report: Several RC Players Pushing To Get The Call On Draft Weekend
By: Barry Barnes, Founder
While the NFL caters to 22 players at the 2017 NFL Draft in Philadelphia, NFL squads will be servicing dishes of phone calls to hopefuls through the weekend. On the receiving end of the calls, several NFL Regional Combine players will be awaiting.
“The Regional Combine was a great experience,” said former Hawaii standout cornerback Dejaun Butler. “It gave me a chance to get all the jitters out before Pro Day, and also since I attended the first one, it was good to see what I needed to work on.”
Butler is a physical defensive back who has solid ball skills and processes great speed. In his Seattle-held session, Butler registered decent numbers, but according to his standards, the 6-0, 183-pound corner was not pleased.
On his Pro day, Butler was determined to put on a show, and left a positive impression.
“After my Pro Day, I felt really good overall,” said Butler. “But running 4.38 in front of 28 teams was the icing on the cake because (I) improved from the Regional in Seattle on that Freezing morning when I ran 4.54.
“The teams that have seemed to show the most interest have been (the) Denver (Broncos) and New Orleans (Saints), but there are plenty of teams that are aware of me and I see myself contributing strongly on them as well,” he continued.
“I hope teams were able to see that they are going to receive a speedy, physical player that is ready to come in, take direction and compete.”
After transferring from Santa Monica Junior College in California, Butler embraced the physical style of play as he attacked ball carriers. On special teams, Butler defined his talents and earned the title of captain.
Defensive end John Popovich was another talented standout who ventured through the RC. The defensive end from Southeast Missouri put the NFL on notice following his session in New Orleans where he displayed his agility and power.
Popovich is a workhorse and he was a terror on his Pro Day as he entertained clubs spanning from the NFL to CFL. The Philadelphia Eagles has shown interest in Popovich, but he did not settle for one potential opportunity as he attended several CFL squads’ workouts like the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Winnipeg Blue bombers.
He clocked a hand time of 4.59 for the Blue bombers and excelled in his one-on-one drills, including bullying a former Arizona Cardinal.
Tight end Lorenzo Mitchell had a solid workout in the Minnesota-held trials and translated stronger numbers to his Pro Day at Winona State University in front of several teams.
The 6-3, 265-pound Mitchell posted a 4.89 40-time, shuttled right 4.44 and left 4.57, vertical jumped 34’5 inches, bench pressed 24 times and broad jumped 9’3 inches.
Quarterback Austin Apodaca performed before the Broncos’ staff and his confidence is through the roof.
Other prospects like kicker Simon Mathiesen and tight end Tyler Scalzi stock has been soaring of last.
Since his workout at the Washington-held assembly, Mathiesen booted himself on several possible draft boards. Mathiesen was kicking like a mad man for his last two collegiate seasons at Northwest Missouri State as he scored more points than any kicker in college football with 151 points (2015) and 140 (2016).
Mathiesen can freakishly kick 50 yarders with either foot and several teams are quietly raving about the Danish kicker, who is endorsed by legendary NFL kicker Morten Anderson.
Scalzi is an athletic beast and his skill set is registering on teams’ radar, especially after his Pro Day at Texas Tech. His name should surely be called Saturday.
The suspense is thrilling. Many players from the RC workouts are continuously working, and during draft weekend, several will shock the news cycle.
And shortly after, the football world.