Grambling football players seek NFL shot at pro day

G-Men schedule signing. Raven LeDay/The Gramblinite

It is nearly every athlete’s dream to one day play in a professional league. 

On Saturday, March 19 at the Eddie G. Robinson Memorial stadium, that dream may be one step closer for some Grambling football players who will work out in front of professional scouts for a pro day. 

This will be the second year that Grambling State University players will have their pro day in a familiar facility and field. Fans will be allowed to watch the field workouts. However, workouts taking place in the weight room will be closed to the public. 

On pro day, players will get a chance to showcase their skills to a multitude of scouts ranging from the NFL to the CFL. The G-Men’s pro day will also host additional players from other schools such as UAPB as well as players from previous seasons. 

Although uncommon, it is not impossible for a player to get drafted coming from an HBCU program. The most recent draftee from Grambling was Chad Williams in 2017, who went to the Arizona Cardinals. 

“I feel like being a player from an HBCU makes it extremely harder to get drafted coming from an HBCU. A lot of people don’t see us as competitive as other DI schools but my former teammates and I are here to prove them wrong,” linebacker De’Arius Christmas said. 

It is more common for players to receive consideration as undrafted free agents such as Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Chester Rogers and Los Angeles Chargers offensive tackle Trent Scott. Both Rogers and Scott are former Grambling football team members who were picked up after the draft. 

During the pro day players will participate in many activities including measurements, bench press, vertical and broad jumps, 40-meter dash, cone drills and position drills. 

Most players have taken the last couple of months to completely transform their lives in order to have a shot at making a professional roster.

“I’ve had to change my living style as a whole for this process. From the way that I eat to the times that I sleep. Everything is technical at this stage,” defensive lineman Rodney Jackson said. “I will normally wake up around 7 or 8 in the morning to get mentally prepared. I try to get about six eggs in before working out to get the nutrients. From there, I have field training and weights. After that I will go to class and then come back to the field for a little conditioning.” 

Training for pro day can oftentimes be a full-time commitment in which some have to also balance with school. However, others have been lucky enough to fully focus on their training. 

Graduates Percy Cages and LaAllan Clark have traveled outside of the city to train full-time prior to pro day. 

“It was important to get outside of the city and train professional for this very important day. Being away allows me to focus on the task at hand with absolutely no distractions,” Clark, a defensive lineman, said. 

“Having a professional trainer has been great because(I know) exactly what is needed to be successful at this level.”  

Once the pro day is finished, players will await the NFL Draft. 

This year the NFL Draft day ceremony will be held in Nashville, Tenn. this year. The draft will last two days from Thursday, April 25 through Saturday, April 27.