Courtesy of Virginiasports.com—
Five players, OT Eugene Monroe, WR Kevin Ogletree, TB Cedric Peerman, TE John Phillips and LB Clint Sintim had previously worked out for NFL personnel at the league’s annual combine held in Indianapolis in February. Those players were joined by teammates LB Antonio Appleby, LB Jon Copper, WR Maurice Covington, DE Alex Field and S Byron Glaspy. Former Cavaliers WR Andrew Pearman and QB Kevin McCabe, along with William & Mary QB Jake Phillips (John’s brother), received permission from UVa to participate in the workout sessions.
Virginia head coach Al Groh, football athletic trainer Kelli Pugh and football strength and conditioning coach Brandon Hourigan met with the scouts to answer questions in the morning and then gathered in the weight room in the McCue Center. There, players’ heights and weights were taken; arm span, hand size and reach were all measured. Players who elected to do so, then participated in broad jump, vertical jump and bench press. Those who attended the NFL Combine were tested in those areas in Indianapolis.
Outside, players ran 40-yard dashes and participated in 3-cone, short shuttle and 60-yard shuttle drills. Afterward, skill players caught passes from Phillips and McCabe, who completed his college eligibility at California (PA). At the same time, linemen and linebackers took part in individuals drills conducted by NFL Scouts and coaches.
Monroe, projected to be one of the top-10 picks in this year’s NFL Draft, was worked out at one point by former Cavalier coach Andy Heck, now the offensive line coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Asked if after an impressive showing at the NFL Combine, was today’s effort for show, Monroe quickly discounted that notion.
“It is not superfluous at all,” Monroe said. “Any chance you get to perform in front of a potential team is a great time. I was happy to have the opportunity to do it again. It brings me one step closer to April 25.”
Monroe said he does not take a lot of stock in the various projections as to where he will go in the draft, noting that his conversations with teams has led him to believe they are still formulating their draft strategy.
“I just keep working out and doing the things I have to get ready for that day,” said Monroe, the ACC’s Jacobs Trophy winner as the league’s top blocker. “I’ve been working for four years, so this is the easy part.”
Peerman’s stock certainly took a leap upward when he turned in the best 40-yard dash time at the Combine.
“The 40 (officially timed at 4.45) went well,” Peerman said. “You can’t really complain about having the best time there.”
While finishing first among his peers drew some notice from draft-niks, Peerman said he’s heard all sorts of speculation as to where he will be selected.
“The only round I haven’t heard is the first round,” he said. “That’s the one you want to hear.”
Ogletree, who had a year of eligibility remaining at Virginia when he announced in January his plans to enter the draft, said he got over some initial self-doubt quickly and is very comfortable with his decision and performances in front of the NFL talent evaluators.
“The more pressure you put on yourself, the more of a hole you put yourself in,” Ogletree said. “This is what you’ve been doing your whole life. This should be your comfort zone when you are out here and working out, trying to impress people you want to work for. It’s an interview. You should be comfortable with your training and what you do. It’s like a game. You want to impress, but you’re not too nervous.”
Phillips was far from nervous as he caught pass after pass thrown by his brother during the individual workout sessions.
“I have been looking forward to that for awhile,” Phillips said. “We did everything growing up together. He was my best friend back home. It was great to get out there and catch some balls from him again.”
The only person who enjoyed the sight more was the Phillips’ brother’s father, Gene, who watched from the entrance to the practice fields, unbeknownst to his sons.
While the one-day workout session is important, Groh pointed out to members of the media attending the session that he felt a player’s body of work was the ultimate method of judgment. Sintim also projected to go in the first round of the draft agreed.
Clint Sintim (Getty Images)
“The biggest thing that will stand out for me is my game tape,” Sintim said. “When push comes to shove, are you a football player or not? I think over the last four or five years, I’ve proven I’m a football player, one of the better football players. Hopefully that showed out here.”
Sintim said he turned to his good friend, Chris Long, the second overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft for some solid advice.
“He told me first and foremost to be myself,” Sintim said. “Just be the same guy everyday. I was fortunate enough to live with Chris and he instilled that motto. I’m just trying to be myself, with a lot of energy and enthusiasm and be a hard worker. Hopefully that will pass me to the next level.”
Monroe won’t be available to the Jaguars unless they trade up and that isn’t likely. Sintim could be a late first, early second-round pick. Most of the rest of the players that worked out are second day or late-round picks.
Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering multiple teams in the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie is a regular syndicated contributor to FoxSports and Sirius NFL Radio, and has been featured on the NFL Network. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. Feel free to contact him -HERE- with questions or comments.
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