Pro Day offers Texas players chance to showcase skills before draft


Matt Norris

While Vince Young finalizes a degree in applied learning and development at Texas, he will also participate in the Longhorns’ Pro Day  in order to rekindle his relationship with the NFL.

Rachel Thompson

For young NFL hopefuls, the Texas Pro Day will provide an opportunity to rub elbows with top coaches and other talented players. 

For more seasoned prospects like Vince Young, Pro Day will be a chance to prove themselves in the eyes of scouts in order to make a comeback. 

Tomorrow’s activities will allow Young, who is currently finishing up his degree at Texas, to retool the skills that made him a high draft pick in 2006.  

Young led Texas to a BCS National Championship in 2005, leaving many fans with hopes of a bright future for their star quarterback. But his professional story failed to inspire. After being drafted by the Titans and serving as a backup for the Eagles, Young was cut from the Buffalo Bills in 2012.  

Texas seniors entering the draft can showcase their skill sets in the familiar comfort zone of the Texas training facilities. While the official list of Pro Day attendees won’t be released until Tuesday, draft prospects Marquise Goodwin, Alex Okafor and Kenny Vaccaro can be expected because of their promising draft stock. 

The speedy receiver Goodwin clearly boasts running talent, but lacks the size of other top players. He dazzled at the NFL Scouting Combine with a 40-yard dash time of 4.27 seconds, nearly surpassing the previous record set by running back Chris Johnson in 2008. 

Safety Vaccaro has hard-hitting abilities, speed and natural athleticism, and was a top performer in the 20-yard shuttle at the NFL Combine, notching an impressive time of 4.06. analysts peg Vaccaro to go in the first round of the draft. 

Then there’s Okafor, who is also projected to be selected early in the draft. The defensive end developed strength and firm control over his feet during his sophomore year as a defensive tackle. Last season, he tallied 12.5 sacks and led the Big 12 conference in sacks per game with .96. 

Former Texas cornerback Nathan Vasher, who later played six seasons with the Chicago Bears, said Texas players are groomed to succeed in an environment like Pro Day. 

“We’ve been prepared day in and day out to showcase our talent,” Vasher said. “When the day comes, it’s going to be one of the biggest interviews of your life, and the important thing is getting to that team and being the best you can be.”

Printed on Tuesday, March 26, 2013 as: Going out with class