By Dayna O’Gorman // @DaynaOG
Kansas City and the KC Chiefs played host to this year’s NFL Regional Combine. 30 college football players from all over the country came to show their skills to NFL scouts. While it may not have had the flash as the one in Indianapolis, it had the same goal.
The Regional Combine is much the same as the main combine in Indianapolis. The same drills, tests, and measurements, just on a smaller scale with fewer players. The Regional Combine often showcases players from smaller colleges or players who may have been under the radar during the regular season.
Speaking with many of the players, the same sentiment was stated over and over. They felt lucky to have been invited, even though it wasn’t the large combine in Indianapolis. Fredrick Jones, DT from Florida state said “It’s an opportunity that God has given me to show what I have and to give it my all. I’m blessed to have the opportunity.”
He wasn’t alone in his feelings of being lucky. Bowie State quarterback Amir Hall also was excited to be in Kansas City. “It was exciting. Getting able to perform, because some scouts may not be at my Pro Day… That was big for me.”
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Being a versatile player was also a common theme during the interviews. Many players seemed to understand the need of NFL players to be able to perform well in multiple positions on the field.
Playing both wide receiver and running back, Austin Walter from Rice University understands it adds to his value. “I can play in the slot, I can play in the backfield, I played out wide. I’m able to do it all. So based on where a team wants me to get a certain matchup, I can exploit it the best of my ability.”
Kyle Phillips, a defensive end out of Tennessee, put on some weight after the end of the season. “I wanted to show my versatility. Being at 275, I think I ran pretty well today, moved pretty well today, especially being at this size. I was happy to know I could still move well at this weight, and knowing they (teams) can put me at different spots to play right away.”
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Helping with that versatility, many of today’s players mentioned they were multi-sport athletes when they were younger. Phillips said he played basketball, which is no surprise if you know who his mother is. Theresa Lawrence Phillips is a former basketball coach at Tennessee State and is currently their Athletic Director. She was also the first woman to ever coach a men’s NCAA basketball team.
Phillips liked playing multiple sports. “I’ve always played basketball growing up. I would encourage a lot of different kids to try different things. Got to think each level of competition, each game, can help you in a specific way which translates to football.”
Terrance Bynum, WR from Florida Tech, agreed with Phillips. “It helped, especially in my case. Growing up, I had a huge growth spurt in high school. I was kinda like a baby deer. Like trying to run, my knees and hips and everything was hurting. So me staying active paved the way to me growing into my body.” Bynum is 6’4″.
But by the end of the day, it was all about what they had done on the field. Most were happy with their performance and impressed by everyone else. Chris Johnson, safety from North Alabama, said “I think I did pretty well today. I enjoyed being out here in Kansas City. Everyone did pretty well. Everyone showed up to work and got after it.”
Now all they can do is hope the NFL scouts that watched them thought they got after it as well.
Editors Note: At the time of publication, 40 yard dash times and other measurables weren’t available.
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