A number of BYU football alumni took part in Pro Day activities March 29, in which players performed a number of drills and strength feats in front of NFL and other professional scouts.
Cougar participants included quarterback Tanner Mangum, running backs Squally Canada and Matt Hadley, receiver Dylan Collie, fullback Brayden El-Bakri, linebacker Sione Takitaki, cornerback Michael Shelton and kickers Andrew Mikkelsen and Rhett Almond.
“It was a lot of fun,” Mangum said. “It’s an amazing opportunity to be out here showcasing our talents in front of scouts. It’s fun to catch up with the guys; it’s been a few months. It’s fun to see how everyone’s in great shape and see everyone’s doing good.”
Drills at the event included the 40-yard dash, bench press, vertical leap, shuttle and various position challenges. Canada and Collie led the pack in the dash with a 4.59 clip and El-Bakri impressed scouts with 24 reps at the bench press.
El-Bakri and Shelton were the most obvious standouts from the first stage of drills, but Mangum stole the show in the passing clinic following a training stay at the Mamba Academy in Thousand Oaks, California.
“I was able to work with (Ohio State quarterback) Dwayne Haskins and he became a great friend of mine,” Mangum said. “It was good. It was a good process and good training. I felt like it prepared me well for today.”
Collie turned heads with his route running while catching passes from Mangum. While virtually untapped within the offense during the 2018 season, Collie feels confident in his current abilities as he hopes to get a shot in an NFL training camp.
“Ultimately it comes down to how you play the game of football,” Collie said. “When it comes to my route running and catching balls and catching punts, I felt like I excelled pretty heavily and did extremely well there. I can go home confident in knowing I can play this game.”
Takitaki, BYU’s only representative at the NFL combine earlier this month, did not participate in the running or strength drills but did take part in the position drills, excelling once again and possibly raising his draft stock.
One surprise from Pro Day was the absence of defensive end Corbin Kaufusi, whose season ended before bowl season because of injury. He was under the impression he would rehab in time for the combine and Pro Day.
“Up until basically yesterday, I was thinking I was going to do it,” Kaufusi said. “I know I could do so much better given another week or two, or three weeks.”
Currently, Takitaki is projected to be a mid-round pick in the NFL draft while Kaufusi could end up in the mid to late rounds. Mangum, El-Bakri, Takitaki and Collie are all near locks at being invited to training or minicamps prior to the season.