BYU football holds NFL Pro Day

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Bronson Kaufusi works on a bag drill during Pro Day. Kaufusi is projected as a second to fourth round draft pick. (Ari Davis)
Bronson Kaufusi works on a bag drill during Pro Day. Kaufusi is projected as a second to fourth round draft pick. (Ari Davis)

BYU football held its annual NFL Pro Day on Friday. There were 15 scheduled participants, headlined by Bronson Kaufusi, Mitch Mathews, Devon Blackmon, Manoa Pikula and Ryker Mathews. The majority of the NFL was represented, with scouts from more than 20 of the league’s 32 teams in attendance. The Canadian Football League was also represented.

Bronson Kaufusi

Kaufusi only participated in position drills, saying he was “confident” in the numbers he put up at the NFL Combine in late February. There he put up 25 reps on the bench, ran a 4.87 second 40-yard dash, had a 30-inch vertical jump, a 111-inch broad jump and was one of the Combine’s top performers in the three-cone drill (7.03 seconds) and the 20-yard shuttle (4.25 seconds).

He did footwork and bag drills, garnering the attention of all the scouts.

Kaufusi said he “felt good,” and knew what he wanted to show NFL scouts.

“I just wanted to show them that I can move,” Kaufusi said. “I’m big and I’m tall, but I wanted to show them I can still move well while heavy.”

One of the criticisms on Kaufusi’s game (from his NFL.com draft profile) is that he is “too easily caved in and washed down when blocked on angles” and that his “thin legs lose their base when he is redirected with power.”

Ari Davis
Bronson Kaufusi works on a drill during Pro Day. Kaufusi was approached by the Miami Dolphins and the Atlanta Falcons after his workout. (Ari Davis)

Kaufusi has attempted to correct these issues by gaining weight. He said that during his senior season he weighed in at 265 lbs. He now weighs 285 lbs. and believes that he can fit into any NFL defensive scheme.

“Any scheme (works). I feel like I’d fit into all of them. Some teams will have me as an outside linebacker, some as a defensive end. But no matter what I play, they tell me I’ll be rushing the quarterback.”

Kaufusi said he has “a few visits” lined up for next week, but declined to specify the teams he would be meeting with.

Before Kaufusi left, he was approached by scouts from the Atlanta Falcons and Miami Dolphins, who told him he “did a good job” and added they’ve “enjoyed scouting him.”

Ryker Mathews 

Mathews struggled with injuries during his tenure at BYU, getting surgeries on his knee, foot, and hip. But, he moved well in drills and (unofficially) ran a 5.0 second 40-yard dash.

Mathews said he enjoyed getting a moment to tryout for the NFL.

“It was great,” Mathews said. “It’s just kind of nerve-racking. Usually I’m not in the spotlight. Usually everyone else is, but it’s great. This is what I’ve worked for ever since I was a little kid.”

Mathews said he didn’t have expectations for the NFL Draft, but instead said he only needed “an opportunity.”

When asked what he wanted to show scouts, Mathews said he wanted to prove his injuries are a thing of the past.

“I just wanted to come out here and show that, even with knee surgery and hip surgery and foot surgery, that I can still run, that I can still move and that I can still play the game,” Mathews said.

Mathews put up 23 reps on the bench press and showed quick feet during his positional workouts.

Devon Blackmon

Blackmon ran well on both 40-yard dash attempts, clocking in at 4.38 seconds and 4.41 seconds.

Devon Blackmon running the three-cone drill. (Ari Davis)
Devon Blackmon running the three-cone drill. (Ari Davis)

“I feel like it went really well,” Blackmon said. “I surprised a lot of people and I feel like I was focused and came out and did what I was supposed to do.”

Blackmon ran a tight cone drill and looked good catching passes from Southern Utah quarterback Ammon Olsen, finishing the session with an impressive one-handed catch on a deep pass.

While Blackmon said he was still trying to “reach (his) potential,” he’s confident about what he can bring to an NFL team.

“Speed, hands and change of direction, definitely,” Blackmon said. “I felt like I really did good on those things and I can only get better from here.”

Blackmon would project as a slot receiver in the NFL, but his draft prospects are slim. However, it’s expected he will enter the NFL as an undrafted free agent.

Whether his name is called on draft day or not, Blackmon said he’s ready.

“I’m just excited for the future,” Blackmon said.

Manoa Pikula 

Pikula was the second-best player on the bench press, putting up 24 reps. He also ran the 40-yard dash in about 4.5 seconds (his first run unofficially clocked in at 4.46 seconds; 4.55 seconds in his second) and recorded a 9-foot-8-inch broad jump.

He turned heads earlier in the month after posting pictures of his improved physique leading up to Pro Day.

Pikula said he maintained “a clear mindset” and trusted himself to be successful.

“I don’t have to worry about certain things, like when I was in school,” Pikula said. “When I was out training, I could just focus on training, so that had a lot to do with it. I felt like my mind was more clear, my mind was more focused, and I just got better results that way.”

Pikula said he hadn’t received any feedback from scouts yet, but added he was pleased with his workout.

Mitch Mathews

Mitch Mathews runs his 40-yard dash during Pro Day. (Ari Davis)
Mitch Mathews runs his 40-yard dash. (Ari Davis)

Mathews turned a number of heads during his workout.

The 6-foot-6-inch receiver ran a 4.4 second 40-yard dash and 6.96 second three-cone drill. He put up 12 reps on the bench and recorded a 10-foot-9-inch broad jump.

His draft prospects aren’t great. Only 35 wide receivers were drafted in 2015 and 43 receivers were invited to the NFL Combine. Mathews wasn’t one of those invites. However, he did spend a significant amount of time chatting with a scout from the Green Bay Packers after he was finished working out.

Other Notes

– Former cornerback and current Green Bay Packer Roberston Daniel was at Pro Day, as was former tackle and current Baltimore Raven De’Ondre Wesley.

– Pro Day participants were all wearing royal blue gear.

– SUU quarterback Ammon Olsen looked good throwing to receivers. He didn’t have a particularly tight spiral on deep passes, but he only threw a handful of incompletions.

– Center Tejan Koroma, who is allegedly dealing with an Honor Code violation, was at Pro Day.

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