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March 20, 2013

Draft Hopefuls At VT's Pro Day

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With almost a month until the NFL Draft, seven former Hokies participated in Virginia Tech's pro day today in hopes of impressing scouts one last time. With scouts from 18 NFL teams in attendance, the players went through a series of drills and tests to try to boost their stock in the eyes of teams.

It's become likely that more than one of those players will be selected, and Wednesday's workouts provided solid evidence of that.

"I performed really well, I just did some position drills to show the scouts how I can move in those situations," offensive lineman Vinston Painter told HokieHaven.com. "I feel like I can do whatever it takes to make a team."

Perhaps now the Hokies' most-sought after draft hopeful, scouts that were in attendance liked Painter's toughness and solid performance from this season on top of his size. Though he didn't see significant playing time until his final season, the lineman has seized the opportunity and appears primed to be drafted. Multiple teams should be in the mix come draft day regardless of his tenure as a starter.

"Things happen for a reason, I feel like," Painter said about his transformation. "My career played out the way it did and it's working out the way it is. My preparation [over the last two months] has paid off."

It's been a few months since Painter and his former teammates concluded Virginia Tech's worst season in 20 years, but that doesn't mean the 7-6 campaign didn't teach any lessons for the next level.

"I learned you just gotta fight through adversity (because) we had a tough season," offensive lineman Nick Becton said. "But we pulled it out in our bowl game, so finishing my college career with a win is always good."

Becton doesn't have as high of a ceiling as Painter, but his strong technique has caught the interest of NFL teams. Like Painter, he only participated in some drills for the scouts. He also mentioned that over the next month he will 'continue to work out and stay ready' until the possible dream-call is received from an NFL organization.

Five of the former Hokies (Painter, Becton, wide receivers Corey Fuller and Marcus Davis and linebacker Bruce Taylor) who participated in the NFL Combine didn't have to prove as much, but one player has continued to grind everyday in hopes of catching the interest of scouts. Alonzo Tweedy, special-teams star, put himself in a position to at least be signed as a free agent.

"I think I came out here and did what I wanted to. I wasn't expecting a 10'7" broad jump, so I was happy with that," Tweedy told HokieHaven.com. "I don't know [if NFL teams have interest], we'll see after today."

Considering scouts on hand talked about Tweedy's potential on special teams, it's a good bet that the WHIP linebacker (he has moved to safety) will have a chance to crack an NFL roster come August. Running back Martin Scales also participated in the pro day's events.

For the next month, there won't be much of anything the NFL hopefuls can do to increase their draft stock. Their agents will market their talents around the league as best as they can, and the chips will fall as they may.

Virginia Tech's team struggles were well-documented this past season. But after all the drama and coaching changes, one consistent trend is likely to be the same for the Hokies: sending players to the next level.




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