Pro Day performance at GSU

Layne Saliba

In the midst of the excitement for “About the same. Different drills. Did some defensive back drills today that I had been working on. So I think overall the hard work paid off today,” McKinnon said.

Once the athletes completed the 40-yard dash, a short session of shuttle drills took place, followed by running back drills. This is when McKinnon got to show out for the scouts, and he thought the other seniors did the same as well.

“Ya know, everybody came out, was loose, didn’t let the scouts get to ‘em, played the game, and I think everybody did their best today,” McKinnon said.

While all of the seniors were turning heads, the scouts couldn’t help but notice the talent coming from McKinnon. After the performance he had at the NFL Combine, all eyes were on him. He says he was able to perform well by not letting the pressure of scouts watching get to him.

“A lot of intensity built up, but you know you can’t pay attention to it or it might get to you, or get the best of you. You just got to block it out, play the game, and act as if nobody was there,” McKinnon said.

As soon as the running backs finished up, the defensive backs took the field to perform for the scouts. This is when Lavelle Westbrooks was able to showcase what he has spent his college career preparing for. When his turn came, he showed the scouts everything they wanted to see following his performance at the combine.

“I just wanted to go out there and just compete. I mean, the scouts wanted me to go out there and show that I wasn’t content with what I ran at the combine,” Westbrooks said.

And Westbrooks did just that. He performed very well during the defensive back drills along with McKinnon. They were both seen to the side working on their cuts with a GSU coach. The scouts seemed impressed by their efforts but Westbrooks didn’t appear focused on that.

“The main focus was to just go out there and show that I wanted to compete, and more than anything I wanted to get better as far as when I tested at the combine,” Westbrooks said.

McKinnon also took part in the defensive back drills. He had been working on drills after this past season ended because he wanted to perform well on all parts of the field. However, he has a bit of a different mindset than Westbrooks when asked about his draft stock. He isn’t solely focused on the scouts, but he knows what they have been saying about him.

“You know, [I] definitely got a lot of interest from some good teams. I’ve been hearing good things, especially from the combine and what I did there. [I’m] really just looking to build off of it and keep going forward,” McKinnon said.

Pro Day gave many of the players the opportunity to display their skills in front of an audience of “job interviewers” in hopes of earning a spot at the next level. Despite their performances, going from college football to the NFL is not a simple transition, and it is not something to be taken lightly. It is still the same game, but many different aspects change. Whether it’s on the field or off the field, players must carry themselves in a professional manner at all times.

“You know, in this process it’s all business. So you know, it’s always great to smile but you come out here you got to have your business face on. So I just try to take that approach and put my best foot forward,” McKinnon said.

Though not every graduating senior will land a spot on a NFL roster, the effort and intensity of every participating player at Pro Day was high and determined.

“It was a great competition for everybody, and I think we put on a great show for Georgia Southern,” Westbrooks said.

The first round of the 2014 NFL Draft will take place on May 8 and will end with rounds 4-7 on May 10. GSU will be watching in anticipation of the players that have represented the university so well being drafted to the NFL.