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Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Football

Pro Day last chance for football alumni to showcase skills


D’Juan Hines has a chance to become the third-straight linebacker drafted into the NFL if he has a strong showing at Pro Day. | Richard Fletcher Jr./The Cougar

The NFL Draft is one month away, and with the NFL Scouting Combine long since wrapped up, every university across the country is hosting its respective Pro Day, when football players practice drills in front of NFL scouts.

The practice session is meant to showcase strength, agility and general football athleticism. This year, 19 alumni of the Cougar football team will participate.

The day will start with measurements of the athletes’ height, weight, hands, arms and wingspan. After that they will participate in seven events: vertical jump, broad jump, bench press, 40-yard dash, the Pro Agility Drill, the Three-Cone Drill and the 60-yard shuttle.

Three Cougars have been selected in each of the last two NFL Drafts. That streak is in danger given that no Cougar was invited to the Scouting Combine. Pro Day is the last chance to prove to NFL franchises they are worth a draft pick.

Five of the six Cougars who have been drafted the last two seasons came from the defensive side of the ball. However, the majority of the athletes at Pro Day will be those from the offense.

Quarterbacks Kyle Postma and Kyle Allen, who skipped his senior year to declare early, will be throwing to wide receivers Linell Bonner, Steven Dunbar and John Leday and running back Dillon Birden. Offensive tackles Na’Ty Rodgers and Marcus Oliver will also be working out.

From the defensive side, defensive backs Khalil and Terrell Williams and defensive end Nick Thurman are some notable names. But two to keep an eye on are linebackers Matthew Adams and D’Juan Hines. A linebacker from the Cougars has been drafted in consecutive years – Elandon Roberts in 2016 and Tyus Bowser in 2017 – so if either has a strong day, that streak could be extended.

Notably, the prospects will be joined by 2016 alumni wide receiver Chance Allen and linebacker Steven Taylor. Both athletes graduated from the program last year but have yet to receive a call up from any NFL teams.

Fans are not allowed to watch Pro Day in person but will be able to follow along on Facebook.

The event will run from 9 a.m. until noon.

UPDATE: Due to rain, all field events will take place inside the Houston Indoor Practice Facility instead of TDECU Stadium.

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