Minnesota Football: Winning the Combine and Pro Day Preview

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Both Brock Vereen and Ra'shede Hageman performed well in the skills portion of the combine.

The 2014 NFL Draft Combine was this past weekend in Indianapolis, and two former Gopher's, Ra'shede Hageman and Brock Vereen were invited to participate.  Both Hageman and Vereen performed well, standing out amongst others in their position groups in the physical attributes and skill drills. First we will take Big Shede.

Ra'shede Hagemen- Defensive Line

Profile page from NFL.com

Height: 6'6 Weight: 310

40-yard Dash Time: 5.02 Seconds.  25th fastest out of 41 DL prospects who ran a 40 yard dash.

Bench press reps of 225 pounds: 32.  4th out of 50 DL prospects who lifted. Tied for 10th Overall.

Vertical Jump: 35.5 inches.  7th out of 43 DL prospects who jumped.

Final Combine Grade: 6.1.

According to NFL.com, a grade of 6.1 out of 10 = A player who should become an instant NFL starter.

So basically Hageman did exactly what he was expected to do.  He wasn't particularly quick, but playing where he will in the NFL, that isn't a particularly important attribute.  He isn't going to be judged on his explosiveness as Jadeveon Clowney who ran an impressive 4.53 will be.  Where Shede's strength is his strength.  His 32 bench press reps were the fourth most out of all the defensive line prospects who lifted.  His vertical leap at 35.5 inches ranked seventh, proving his worth on field goal blocking teams as he showed as a Gopher.. Along with his game film, which is impressive his results here did nothing to dissuade the idea that he will be a first round pick when the NFL Draft begins on Thursday May 8th.

Here is his interview from the combine from the Big Ten Network:


Brock Vereen- Defensive Back

Profile page from NFL.com

Height: 6'0 Weight:199

40-yard Dash Time: 4.47 Seconds. 11th fastest out of 48 DB prospects who ran a 40 yard dash. 2nd fastest out of 17 Safety prospects

Bench press reps of 225 pounds: 25.  1st out of 50 DB prospects who lifted. 1st out of 27 Safety prospects.

Vertical Jump: 34 inches.  34th out of 46 DB prospects who jumped. 10th out of 17 Safety prospects

Broad Jump: 117 inches. Tied 33rd out of 44 DB prospects who jumped. Tied for 10th out of 17 Safety prospects.

3 Cone Drill: 6.9 seconds.  12th out of 38 DB prospects who ran. 2nd out of 13 Safety prospects.

20 yard shuttle drill: 4.07 seconds. 8th out of 39 DB prospects. 2nd out of 13 Safety prospects.

Final Combine Grade: 5.37.

According to NFL.com, a grade of 5.37 out of 10 = A player who should become a NFL backup or has special teams potential.

Brock Vereen was prospected to be a low round pick or a undrafted free agent coming into the combine.  However, with an impressive performance in the combine, he is now getting mentioned as a potential middle-round pick.  Vereen crushed the bench press with 25 reps of 225-pounds, ranking #1 out of all of the defensive back prospects who lifted.  He ran a 4.47 in the 40-yard dash, an impressive time that ranked him the second fastest out of all of the safety prospects who ran.  It is appearing that Vereen is projecting more as a safety then a corner in the NFL, and while his leaping numbers weren't particularly impressive, his strength and speed project the role of a hard hitting free safety. Additionally, while the results are never fully released to the public, Vereen is expected to excel on the Wonderlic test.  The test which is supposedly a guide to a players ability to learn and process information quickly consists of 50 questions in 12 minutes.  You usually hear scores talked about especially for quarterbacks, but as a safety in the field, someone who can process information and react quickly is a major asset.  Vereen had an interview on the KFAN morning show this AM where he discussed the combine and his performance.  He said that he will not be told how he did on the Wonderlic, but on a practice test he got 40 out of 50, a VERY impressive score.  If he can perform that will on the real test, along with his combine performance a fourth or fifth round pick for Vereen does not seem out of the question.

Gopher Pro Day- Monday March 3

Hageman, Vereen and other former Gophers will get to show their skills to the NFL scouts once again on Monday, March 3rd.  The annual Gopher Pro day will take place in the indoor facility.  Hageman and Vereen will be there to perform drills and interview with NFL scouts, as will several other Gopher seniors who were not invited to the combine including: Jeremy Baltazar, Jake Filkins, Aaron Hill, Roland Johnson, James Manuel, and  Martez Shabaz. Additional players from Division II and Division III schools around the area are usually invited as well.  The event starts at 8:00 AM on Monday.  However, don't go down and expect to be able to watch.  The Pro Day is closed to the general public.  However, last year the Gophersports.com crew did a great job of taping individual workouts and posting them on their website.  Assuming they do this again, we will have links to the various videos as soon as they are available.

Good luck to the former Gophers, and hopefully we will see several of them in the NFL next fall!

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