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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Path to the draft

Photo by Cassie Stricker

Kwame Etwi stretches before the 40 yard dash.

With 52 NFL personnel, 32 teams represented, two general managers and 18 former Texas A&M football players in attendance, the NFL Pro Day kicked off at the McFerrin Athletic Center on Tuesday.
Among A&M’s draft prospects were Jace Sternberger, Trayveon Williams, Erik McCoy and Cullen Gillaspia. The Aggies completed drills and testing such as vertical jump, broad jump, 40-yard dash, 5-10-5 shuttle and position drills.
A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher said it was great to see his former players showcasing their talents and the amount of progress they’ve made since the fall.
“They all have dreams and aspirations, which is one of the reasons they came here,” Fisher said. “Those guys did a great job; hope everything goes well for them.”
Sternberger, who transferred to A&M last April as a tight end, participated in position drills on Tuesday, choosing to use his numbers and statistics from the NFL Combine for other drills. He said his journey since declaring in January has been a whirlwind.
“I still really haven’t had the time to process everything,” Sternberger said. “Ever since the day I declared for the draft, its been going 100 miles an hour, from moving to a different state, to pro day, to going to the combine — its been hectic. I’m just smiling and waving through it all.”
As the draft nears, A&M’s prospects are working out and meeting with teams from the NFL to discuss their future, their performance in the senior bowl and the NFL combine, along with their experience playing for an SEC team.
Williams said he has spoken with the Philadelphia Eagles, Chicago Bears and Houston Texans, while Sternberger has worked out for the Arizona Cardinals and has spoken to the New Orleans Saints, with more visits scheduled through April.
McCoy, who is mostly being worked at center, has spoken with the Los Angeles Rams and Carolina Panthers, and he will meet with the New York Jets, Baltimore Ravens, Washington Redskins and Arizona Cardinals soon.
McCoy said pro day and the combine call for a different mindset than playing in a regular season game because of the different way players prepare their bodies.
“It’s a lot different,” McCoy said. “Here [at A&M], you’re doing all the conditioning. Doing this [pro day], you’re preparing your body for certain things; you’re preparing your body for the 25 bench press, the 40[-yard dash], instead of actually preparing yourself to play football.”
Gillaspia took part in most of the drills, participating in tight end, running back, full back, linebacker and special teams workouts.
“It was overall a good day,” Gillaspia said. “I’m just looking for a place to play and looking for a team that can fill me in wherever I need to go, whether it’s linebacker, whether it’s fullback. … At the end of the day, it’s about making a roster, and wherever I can add value is what I’m going to do.”
As for projections on which player will be picked and in what round, Williams said anything can happen on draft day, despite mock drafts or NFL projections.
“It really depends on how a certain team is feeling you,” Williams said. “A team might want to really go early on you or want to go mid round on you, but we will see. I’m excited, and hopefully I go as early as possible.”
Players will learn their fate during the NFL Draft in Nashville, Tennessee, from April 25-27. The draft will be televised on the NFL Network, ABC, ESPN and ESPN Deportes starting on April 25 at 7 p.m.

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