No matter what the age –– from a 7-year-old kid playing catch in the backyard to a college athlete — everybody who has played football has imagined what playing in the National Football League would feel like.
For some of the 16 athletes who worked out for the CSU football Pro Day on Wednesday, that dream inched a little bit closer.
“They did a great job, when you look at a number of Pro Days and the way they’re run well, kids really bust their ass and work hard,” Minnesota Vikings scout Conrad Cardano said. “Not everybody is a prospect, but there are a few.”
Scouts from 17 different NFL teams showed up to watch the football prospects made up of 10 former CSU players and six others from schools in Colorado showcase their skills.
The players performed in the weight room of the McGraw athletics center and indoor practice field in hope of being recognized by the organizations before the NFL Draft begins next month.
“I’m going to go anywhere that somebody wants me to play football. If I get a shot, that’s all I’m looking for,” offensive lineman Joe Caprioglio said. “If you play college football, that goes through your mind that it would be really cool to get drafted.”
Listed at 315 pounds, Caprioglio put up 27 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press before running an estimated 5.1 seconds in the 40-meter sprint.
He caught the attention of Cardano, who was one of the 20 scouts looking for talent.
“I thought he moved pretty good for a guy as big as he is,” Cardano said. “He worked hard, he was prepared and I thought he did an adequate job for what he is. He might get a chance.”
For the participants who have been training for months, the most difficult part is still to come. Over a month remains until the draft begins, forcing them all to wait until April 25 before questions about their performance are answered, if at all.
“The waiting is hard,” defensive lineman Lanston Tanyi said. “I’ve been training but with all these eyes on you, I kind of got the jitters.”
Although there may be several different factors that play into a player’s ability to perform at the professional level, CSU head strength and conditioning coach Mike Kent believes it is much simpler than that.
“It really comes down, ultimately, to how you play in your position against your competition,” Kent said. “We instruct our players that if you have aspirations and dreams of playing in the National Football League, that you’ve got to be able to play on Saturdays.”
Sports Reporter Quentin Sickafoose can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.