STATE COLLEGE — Connor McGovern let his work do the talking at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis last month.
Kyle Vasey had to wait until Tuesday.
One is a lock to be among the first guards selected in next month’s NFL Draft; the other former Penn State standout knows he’s no lock to land a job through the league’s hallowed selection process.
While the Wallenpaupack graduate isn’t going to get his hopes up that he’ll be one of the few long snappers taken in the Draft, Vasey posted strong numbers in Penn State’s annual Pro Day workouts for Draft-eligible players at Holuba Hall.
Numbers, he said, make him confident he’ll get a solid opportunity to pursue an NFL dream.
“It was excellent,” Vasey smiled after running the 40-yard dash along with some shuttle runs and jumps and exceeding expectations in the bench press. “I was very happy with everything. I really impressed a lot of people. Throughout the day, I was just able to keep my composure and show what I have.”
Vasey seemed especially pleased with his time in the 40, officially a 5.06 that came in a tick before his targeted time of 5.1 seconds. He also bench pressed 225 pounds 22 times.
Meanwhile, McGovern eschewed the drills, for strategic reasons.
While participated in some individual workouts for scouts representing NFL teams ranging from the Steelers to the Packers, the Seahawks to the Bengals, he stood on his strong times and lifts in Indianapolis, where he did 28 reps on the bench press and broad jumped 9-feet-4.
“I was very comfortable with everything I did (at the Combine),” the Lake-Lehman product said.
Following his performance in the individual blocking workouts, McGovern had an extended meeting with a scout representing the Tennessee Titans, a team looking for interior offensive line help that has three of the top 83 picks. That’s a range in which McGovern is expected to be taken, but he said several teams have held similar meetings with him, raving about his versatility.
McGovern started games at guard and center last season and has played some tackle during his time at Penn State.
“I’ve asked different teams, and it’s basically a 50-50 split where they see me,” said McGovern, who did some snapping during his individual workouts Tuesday. “If something happens, I can go play any of the five positions, and that’s what they like. ... The versatility helps. You only get to dress seven, maybe eight at most in the NFL for offensive linemen. If a guy goes down, I can plug in at any of those spots.”
For Vasey, the opportunity will likely come from a team looking to build competition at the long-snapper position, or an organization searching for a cheaper option. He said a few teams invited him to their local pro days, and he believes his ability to snap under pressure will be something teams will want in camp.
“Where a team decides to take me, that’s completely up to them,” Vasey said. “I know I’ve put in the work and the effort, and I’ve proven in the results that I can play at that level. So, I’m just waiting for the call.”
Vasey is the one of the few players who had to get used to a small difference in equipment preparing to give the NFL a go.
The NFL ball is ½-inch longer and a full inch wider in circumference than a college ball, which forced him to get used to a ball that feels a bit different as he prepares to snap. But, NFL rules will make blocking a bit more of a priority for Vasey than it was at Penn State.
“As far as the NFL goes, you’re blocking after you snap,” he said. “So I had to get used to kicking back and engaging someone rather than just free releasing down the field.”
Vasey said he picked up the blocking aspect “really quickly” during practices for the SPIRAL Tropical Bowl in January, and he watched plenty of film on veteran long snappers like Indianapolis’ Luke Rhodes and Baltimore’s Morgan Cox, trying to imitate their blocking techniques.
“There are still some little areas here and there I like to tweak as far as my stance and getting up,” Vasey said. “But when it comes to me getting my hands on a guy, I just put up 225 pounds for 22 reps. So, I’m very confident I can handle some guys in the NFL.”
Quarterback Trace McSorley threw in drills for about half an hour, with only four balls hitting the turf. Two were on high throws, and two others came because the passes were dropped. ... Two players who stood out during those throwing drills: Running back Miles Sanders, who made an impressive catch on a deep wheel route and handled every throw his way cleanly, and receiver DeAndre Thompkins. Thompkins hauled in two off-target McSorley throws impressively, didn’t drop a ball and ran a 4.33-second 40, the fastest of the day. It was a strong effort for a receiver who battled drops throughout the 2018 season. “I wanted to solidify everything and leave no doubts,” Thompkins said. ... Running back Jonathan Thomas (4.4), safety Nick Scott (4.43) and linebacker Koa Farmer (4.48) were the other three Penn State prospects to run a 40 in the 4.4 range.