Through the 2013 NFL Draft from April 25-27, Florida Gators safety and 2012 leading tackler Josh Evans will be keeping fans up-to-date on his Path to the Draft via a weekly blog entry exclusively here at OGGOA.
Evans’s fourth entry covers his experience at the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, IN and his plans over the next week as he gets ready to return to Gainesville, FL in order to prepare for Pro Day on March 12.
My overall experience at the combine over the last few days was amazing. It was an honor and a privilege, first of all, to be in this situation, so I totally took advantage of that. It pretty much was just getting adjusted to meeting all these NFL head coaches and general managers and being comfortable. They want to see how comfortable you are and how confident you are showing off your scheme and defense, being vocal and talking to someone. I felt like I did pretty well throughout the whole process during the four days and had some great interviews while I was there.
The interviews were broken up. I had a couple group interviews where I met with entire staffs and there were some teams where I just met with the position coach and they got a feel for me as far as being a defensive back, drawing up schemes and learning the schemes they run. I had great interviews with the Washington Redskins, San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Those interviews went real well, and it was great to talk to all of the coaches and front office executives.
Some of the schemes were similar – even with the Atlanta Falcons and the Arizona Cardinals when I met with the position coaches there – they all showed a lot of interest and liked the type of schemes we played at Florida.
The defensive back assistant coach with the Dolphins, Blue Adams, actually recruited me out of Purdue and he was there. It was funny to meet up again because we had a great relationship when I was in high school. When I was coming up, he showed me a lot of love, and now to see him on the professional level there is a sort of comfort to know this guy actually knows who I am. He knows my character, knows I’m not a problem child and knows I’m someone who is striving to be successful in life.
This whole thing was just phenomenal; being able to talk to these coaches was amazing and something you grow up as a football player dreaming that you get to experience.
The third day of the combine was mostly filled with all of the psychological tests you read about including the Wonderlic. It definitely was a lot of pressure because it was pretty much us testing all day. There is a big difference between taking a test for 15-20 minutes and then you get a break for an hour or two. Whereas in this situation, you took one test for about 45 minutes and the next test was about an hour and then the next test was about 35 minutes. It was test after test after test, and you can wear out your brain a little bit. The overall process was OK. We studied and had pre-exams that we took to get a feel for the tests but there is a difference between taking those pre-exams and sitting down for the actual tests.
After the tests were over, we moved over to the gym to do the bench press. A few weeks ago, I strained my elbow a little bit trying to lock out on a max set, and I felt it was not worth it to go up there and not do the best I can do and risking an injury. I decided to wait until I’m completely healthy and do the bench press at my Pro Day.
The final day consisted of all of the on-field workouts starting with the 40-yard dash. It was definitely disappointing in my eyes because I knew I’m faster than 4.58 seconds in the 40. In practice leading up to the combine I was hitting 4.49 and 4.45 and those are times that I can run. During the warm-up that morning as I was training, I kind of tweaked my hamstring a little bit. But it was too close. I did not want to back out at the end and decide not to run. I already didn’t bench press and I felt like I backed out of something when I did that. I’m very competitive. It was time to go, so I just got out there and ran it, didn’t complain about it, and ran it again. But I know I’m faster than that, so I’m probably going to run it again at the Pro Day along with the rest of the workout.
The three-cone drill, that is one of the drills in which I really improved during training. I concentrated on planting my feet and being disciplined and doing my steps correctly. I took a lot of pride in that drill. Though I did not run as well as I wanted to, I knew I had to compete and at least try to come out on top in one of the events. I wound up coming in with the top time for safeties in the three-cone drill (6.64 seconds); that was second for all defensive backs and third at the entire combine.
After the combine, I flew back in to South Florida and am back in Boca Raton where I am training. I am taking Wednesday and Thursday of this week off in order to rest my legs and relax a little bit, but I start training again on Friday. I’ll head up to Gainesville on March 8 to return to working out in The Swamp. It is important to get readjusted to running on grass and being back in an open stadium.
I will stay in Gainesville for the whole month of March and probably a week or two into April before going home for a week or two before the draft. That will all depend on how many teams want to meet with me in Gainesville and when they want to schedule interviews or private workouts. I was told some might also fly me out to their facilities, so I may be going back-and-forth from Gainesville a lot.
After Thursday, it is pretty much no days off at this point. This process is about grinding, working hard and getting a foot in the door. That is exactly what I plan to do.