Athletes prepare for unconventional NFL Draft


BOCA RATON, Fl. — In a normal Spring leading up to the NFL Draft, prospects show off their skills at the combine, pro days or individual workouts with teams.

2020, however, is not a normal Spring.

“We had a kid from Penn state projected to go first round and he could not run at the combine,” XPE Sports Trainer Andrew Spruill said. “He was going to run at his Pro Day. It was going to be a big day for him. And his pro day got shut down five days before it was suppose to happen.”

XPE Sports is located in Florida and specializes in getting college football players in top shape both physically and mentally for the draft.

In mid-March, however, the COVID-10 pandemic shut down their facility at the worst possible time for NFL prospects.

“But we could not accommodate any workouts after we got shut down,” Spruill said. “There was not fields, parks facilities. We weren’t able to do any recorded video workouts for our guys.”

Teams like the Kansas City Chiefs would send scouts across the country to watch pro days and possibly bring in prospects to the Arrowhead Complex for a private workout, but none of that happened.

“You get to that fifth, sixth, seventh round where you picking guys you met at pro days,” Spruill said. “It’s going to get tough. But everyone has had to find different ways to do their jobs. And I’m sure they’ve found different ways to do theirs. And get their intel.”

Another thing that Andrew and his XPE colleagues do is keep current NFL players like Travis Kelce in shape in the off-season.

The shutdown took that away as well.

That raises the danger of injuries when the game starts back up again.

“I’m friends with guys who have spots in Kansas City, Texas, and California,” Spruill said. “They’re having a hard time finding a place for guys to work out. It’s a concern. It’s going to be these trainers and players have to be creative… But it’s a concern when they go back to camp. If they go back to camp without having an OTA or structured offseason.”

This just adds another level of difficulty to what will be the most unusual draft in the history of the NFL.

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