Last weekend was one of the most important of my professional football life, as I participated in an NFL regional scouting combine in Houston. It was one of my biggest opportunities aside from my Tulsa pro day to show more than 20 NFL scouts what I can do and why they should draft me or give me a shot on their team.
I honestly did pretty darn well, and none of it would have been possible without my team at APEC Fort Worth getting me right for the event. We were tested and measured on the 40-yard dash, pro agility, broad jump, vertical jump, height, weight, arm length and hand size. I know some of those tests seem like overkill. Who even looks at those, right? But you would be surprised. In the NFL, every little thing counts.
I arrived in Houston on Friday night, was picked up, got a quick bite to eat and checked into the hotel. I basically just waited until 12:30 p.m. Saturday for when I could check into the combine and get it all started.
We began with the individual quarterback drills, so me and the three other quarterbacks stretched, got loose and tried to break the nervous tension with small talk and three-step drops.
The quarterback drills were ones I have done my entire life, so that put my mind at ease. I just went out and did what I know how to do. Once the quarterback drills were complete, it was time to run the 40.
I was ready to go, but the 40 was still nerve-racking because for whatever reason this is the drill that everyone likes to look at first and talk about, even though it isn’t as practical for a quarterback as it is for a wide receiver or defensive back.
When I started at APEC, I ran a 5.2-second 40. For people who don’t know, that’s slow by NFL standards. In Houston, I ran a 4.9, which isn’t blazing by any means but a huge improvement. I owe it all to APEC. At my pro day in a couple of weeks, I expect to run a 4.8 or faster. That has been my goal since I started.
After the 40, we tested the pro agility. I usually am really good at this one, because for some reason my lateral quickness has always been much better. I ran a 4.3, which is pretty good, but I know I can be faster at my pro day.
The two jumps I did in Houston also showed a huge improvement from when I started at APEC. When I started at APEC, my vertical jump was 24 inches and my broad jump was right at 8 feet, 5 inches. On Saturday, I killed the jumps. On vertical, I jumped 31 inches — a seven-inch improvement. I broad jumped 9-6 — almost a full foot of improvement.
I was very happy with my testing Saturday, but I know on March 10 at pro day it’s game time and I can improve all those numbers.
My favorite part of Saturday came after all the testing when we finally got to just grab the footballs and throw routes to wide receivers and tight ends. No matter how old I am or how much football I play, this will forever be my favorite part of the game. Once I get that ball in my hand, it’s over. I don’t like talking much about myself, but I will say that I threw the ball pretty well last weekend, which was the biggest thing I wanted to show scouts.
After the combine craziness, I got to have a little fun this week.
If you haven’t figured it out, I love baseball, and on Tuesday I went to the UTA-TCU baseball game in Arlington. Other than this being a great matchup, I got to see a couple of guys I haven’t seen in at least five years.
The starting pitcher for UTA, Adam Meyer, got the starting nod against the No. 1 team in the country, and he balled out. When he left the game, UTA was up 2-1. Even though TCU ended up pulling out the win, I couldn’t have been more proud of him.
I played baseball my whole life with Adam, who went to Azle, and Jud Kinzy, who pitched for Guyer and now is a relief pitcher for UTA. It was so cool to get to see those guys out there on the diamond. The best part for me was getting to see them after the game and talk to them for 10 to 15 minutes. That made the whole day worth it. There’s always something special about seeing people you grew up with succeed.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Former Sanger standout and record-setting Tulsa quarterback Dane Evans is preparing for the NFL draft. Over the next several Sundays, Evans will provide insight into his life as an NFL prospect chasing his dream of being drafted, despite being undersized and overlooked.