Thursday, March 22, 2012

Eight former Bulldogs work out for NFL scouts

Former Yale quarterback Patrick Witt was the center of attention but on Thursday morning and afternoon, former Bulldogs Drew Baldwin, Geoff Dunham, Jordan Haynes, Pat Moran, Jake Stoller, Alex Thomas and Bobby Abare got the opportunity to work out in front of scouts from the Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots, New York Jets, San Francisco 49ers and San Diego Chargers.

Moran had the best bench press performance with 37 reps at 225 pounds, edging out New Haven linebacker Charlie Hatchett by one. Baldwin had an impressive vertical leap of 36 inches while Haynes had a broad jump of 9-6.

"Everybody did pretty well," Thomas said. "I think and put their best effort forward, now it is a waiting game. It is one of those things that you have nothing to lose and you give it your best shot."

"This is awesome, it is kind of a mini offseason we had training for this," Thomas said. "The six of us working out together and t be out there, the culmination of all the work we put in the past four years working together, it definitely has been a fun ride and see what happens."

Last year Shane Bannon turned some impressive workouts into becoming a draftable prospect and was taken by the Kansas City Chiefs in the seventh round. Perhaps one of the former Bulldogs not named Patrick Witt might follow the same path.

Witt has been down this road before as he took part in the NFL combine last month. New England and San Diego sent representatives specifically to check out Witt (although New England did show quite a bit of interest in Sacred Heart University tight end Rich Rossi).

The only agility drill he did was the 40 which he ran a 5.03 but he spent plenty of time throwing in front of the scouts.
"It was fun, I was glad to have a bunch of the other guys out there, I think they showed well today," Witt said. "I think we all did. It was a little hotter than we expected. I got a little sweat going but I think the scouts liked what they saw from everyone, I am really proud of those other guys."

Witt worked out for several weeks in California in preparation for the NFL combine and then prepared for Thursday's pro day. Now he is heading home to Atlanta. He will likely get invited for personal workouts with teams as the draft draws nearer but he is glad to have the combine portion of the process completed.

"It is driving me nuts. It is kind of the last hurdle I have before the draft. I am planning to go back home and hope to get a call and go from there.

"Out in LA things moved kind of slow in anticipation of the combines (being) seven weeks away, six weeks away and once it is on you, it is gone in a flash. Those three or days go by really fast. You are up early and staying up late, interviews and medical tests. It is a cool experience and I was really grateful to be one of the guys invited."

Witt admitted that seeing NFL head coaches in the stands or on the field at the combine took some getting used to.
"It is a little bit different with scouts coming through and you don't recognize their faces and then you look on the field, look up in the stands and there is Bill Belichick staring back at you," Witt said. "It doesn't help ease (his nerves) that but it is a great feeling and once it is going you tune all the rest of it out just like you are playing a game. It was a great opportunity to be seen by a lot of decision makers.

"I think what I have learned from this whole process is that what one team thinks of you is not really what another team thinks of you so you can be valued in a lot of different ways by a lot of different teams. There is no way to predict, that is what I keep hearing from everyone so I am trying to stay patient and calm my mind about it and see what happens."

As luck would have it, the first scout he spoke to at the NFL combine was the Denver Broncos and the team representative who met with Witt is Brian Stark, his former position coach at Yale.

"I saw him quite a bit at the combine," Witt said. "This year he was a runner so in the interview room the scouts come up and bring you to the team tables, he was the guy who grabbed me for the Broncos. He was the first guy I interviewed with. It was weird, I wanted to just kind of joke around with him, slap him on the shoulder but we had to maintain a business relationship there because of the nature of what we were doing."

I did speak to Witt about putting the Rhodes Scholarship controversy behind him and his reaction to the fallout resulting in Tom Williams being forced to resign as Yale's coach. I think that is better served to be a blog of its own and will put together an entry in the next day or so.
Some other Yale related notes, I asked Yale coach Tony Reno about defensive end Chris Coyne and offensive lineman Andy Ellis, both part of last year's freshman class. He said that Coyne is still injured and dealing with concussions but is still with the program. However, Ellis is not a member of the team.
There's a chance that Yale's recruiting class could be officially announced before the Apr. 21 spring game.
Former Yale assistant coach Duane Brooks was in attendance today. He said he just purchased a home in Bar Harbor, Maine and will be moving up there. Settling in Maine has been a dream of Brooks once his coaching career is over and he will get the opportunity.

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