Rutgers Pro Day features 13 participants vying for NFL shot
For 11 recently graduated athletes and two players entering their second year of eligibility for the NFL, this week presents one of the last opportunities to show their skills to the numerous NFL scouts occupying the Rutgers campus.
The Rutgers football team will host its "Pro Day" event Friday, March 10 at 9:30 a.m. in the Rutgers Indoor Practice Bubble, where 13 former Scarlet Knights will take to the turf in assorted drills and tests to impress the scouts — who in many cases can act as liaisons to a future NFL career come Friday.
The opportunities from "Pro Day" heightens considerably for those participating in Piscataway, as this Rutgers team did not send any players to the 2017 NFL Combine.
Of the 2016 team, the Knights participating at "Pro Day" include wide receiver Carlton Agudosi, defensive back Anthony Cioffi, offensive lineman J.J. Denman, linebacker Greg Jones, linebacker Kevin Marquez, wide receiver Vance Matthews, offensive lineman Chris Muller, offensive lineman Derrick Nelson, defensive back Marcus Parker and wide receiver Andre Patton.
Running back Paul James and linebacker Kaiwan Lewis will also be competing at "Pro Day," with both going undrafted last season.
James and Lewis, along with the rest of the field, will take to various training drills include the 40-yard dash, three-cone drill, vertical and broad jumps and other workouts specific to each position.
Cioffi remains one of the more likely competitors to draw the attention of the scouts on Friday, given his presence in the secondary last season, leading defensive backs on the team with 63 tackles. He has also been making a concerted effort to raise his draft stock, with videos circulating on Twitter of him running the 40-yard dash, of which he finished in 4.3 seconds.
Joining Cioffi in probable scout shortlists are Muller and Nelson, both team captains last season, combined for 72 starts over their respective careers. Muller was named to the Honorable Mention All-Big Ten in 2015 and Nelson was awarded the team's 2016 Paul Robeson Award, given to the player with the greatest impact in performance, leadership and dedication on and off the field.
Notable absences from "Pro Day" on Friday will be three-year captain defensive tackle Darius Hamilton and defensive ends Julian Pinnix-Odrick and Quanzell Lambert.
While Hamilton will be recovering from surgery on both of his patella tendons and Lambert will be rehabbing from ACL surgery, Pinnix-Odrick, the 2016 Homer Hazel Award recipient, given to the team's MVP, is pursuing opportunities outside of football.
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