On March 20, Wake Forest football hosted its official NFL Pro Day to showcase upperclassmen and draft-eligible athletes to NFL scouts coming from all over the country so that they could evaluate potential draftees.
With the NFL Scouting Combine done and the NFL Draft about a month away, the pro day is possibly the last opportunity for athletes to make a good impression with NFL teams and improve their odds of getting a professional contract. Around 30 NFL teams sent scouts to Winston-Salem to evaluate the Deacs. Headlining this year’s group of athletes were Greg Dortch, Alex Bachman, Phil Haynes, Ryan Anderson and Cameron Glenn — all key starters for the 2018 football team that set a record for the most bowl game wins in a row in Wake Forest’s history.
Dortch and Haynes were arguably the two players with the highest draft stocks heading into the pro day. Haynes had a great season in 2018, starting all 13 games for the Deacs and earning second-team All-ACC honors. He followed his strong senior campaign with an impressive combine showing that saw him put up 33 repetitions on the bench press and jump 31 inches on the vertical jump, both marks were in the top-10 among offensive linemen. Haynes solidified his draft stock with another good performance throughout the pro day activities. He is projected to get selected at the beginning of day three of the draft.
Dortch, on the other hand, entered the Deacs’ pro day with a lot to prove to scouts about his athleticism. Dortch sat out all the athletic tests during the scouting combine due to a right scaphoid injury on his wrist that required surgery during the offseason.
“I’m a big competitor. You’re in [the combine] with the top prospects in the nation. You just want to showcase your abilities. You’ll never get another chance to be in front of every NFL coach in your life,” said Dortch reflecting on his experience at the scouting combine. “[Not being able to perform] definitely took a lot out of me. I had a long talk with my agent, and he told me to wait for this day. I did what I needed to do, and now I just have to wait.”
Dortch didn’t disappoint. He displayed his quickness with an impressive sub-4.0 on the 20-yard shuttle drill. Dortch also showcased a lot of fluidity during the three-cone drill and posted a respectable time at the 40-yard dash clocking in around 4.46s.
“I feel like I did pretty well. I was a little worried about my 40, just because I didn’t have a lot of time to prepare for it because of my previous injury,” said Dortch. “I thought I came out here and did what I was supposed to do. I think I opened a lot of eyes.”
Dortch’s biggest drawback heading into the combine was his height. He measured at 5 feet 7 inches tall at the combine, which is considered small for NFL standards. Yet, with a strong pro day, Dortch showed some of the athleticism that earning All-American honors as an all-purpose player. The expectation is that he might be drafted as early as the fourth round.
The most surprising performance, however, belonged to another former Wake Forest receiver. Bachman had a great day overall with strong performances at both the three-cone drill, 20-yard shuttle and 40-yard dash. Bachman also led all athletes with a 10.7 feet long broad jump. The broad jump drill is usually used as a measuring stick for how explosive a player can be. For Bachman, who has been labeled as a possession receiver and not necessarily a superb athlete, posting strong numbers at his pro day can massively help his draft stock. Before his impressive workout, Bachman was more likely going to be an undrafted free agent. Now, there is a good chance he gets drafted in the later rounds.
The NFL Draft will be in Nashville, Tenn, between April 25 and 27, 2019. Make sure to tune in to find out where our former Deacs will be playing next year.