Herron Turns Eyes To Pro Opportunity

Dan "Boom" Herron hopes to prove he's a professional running back by showing his completeness as a runner. He displayed his quickness at the NFL combine, worked on speed and pass-catching on Pro Day and now hopes to impress teams with his intangibles in visits. Count former teammate Chris "Beanie" Wells among those in his corner.

Chris Wells knows what it takes to be a running back in the National Football League. After being a first-round pick of the Arizona Cardinals in 2009, Wells has 2,237 yards in his NFL career including a career-high 1,047 in 2011.

And when Wells looks at fellow Ohio State product Dan Herron, he sees a player who has what it takes to succeed at the highest level.

"He's going to be a great player in this league," Wells said. "He runs a lot stronger and bigger than he actually is. I think that's what's going to attract a lot of scouts and coaches to him. He has heart. In this league a lot of guys don't go out there and play with heart. He's one of those guys. All this stuff that you're doing out here, you can't measure what's in a guy's chest. He's one of those guys that has that."

Now, the trick for Herron is to convince NFL front offices of that in at a time in which 40-yard dashes and three-cone drills are the buzzwords by which many prospects are measured.

Herron did a good job of improving those skills March 9 at Ohio State's Pro Day in the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. After running a 4.66 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis that he fully admitted was disappointing, Herron appeared to shave about a tenth of a second off that time, though no official results were given.

"I felt more relaxed and everybody said it looked good," Herron said. "I was very disappointed (at the combine). I wasn't comfortable in my stance and if you watch it, I kind of stumbled coming out and then my second one drifted. I had another chance to come out here and run again, so I just made the best of it."

Herron also did position drills and looked good catching passes. The Warren, Ohio, native caught 44 passes in his Buckeye career for 309 yards and a touchdown.

"I feel like I have pretty good hands and I'm capable of getting out there and catching a ball," he said. "I feel pretty comfortable about that."

Now, the back – who ran for 2,872 yards and 32 touchdowns in four seasons at Ohio State, two as the starter – gets to take his show on the road. Though he couldn't say for sure which teams he will be visiting in the lead-up to the late-April draft, he will likely have a few suitors.

There, he will try to show off the intangibles that made him a captain at Ohio State as a senior despite the fact he was suspended for six games for his part in two separate violations of NCAA rules. He will also have the ability to answer questions about those situations and get a better sense of which teams are out there vying for his services.

"It'll definitely be cool," Herron said. "You go there so you can get to know the coaches and they can get to know me and see the facilities, things like that. That's another thing you have to take advantage of. They put you up on the board, just to see the type of person you are, if you learn fast, those types of things. It's definitely going to be another task."

He'll also get to continue to show off the work he's done since finishing his Ohio State career. Herron was listed at 205 pounds during his senior year at OSU but checked in at 213 at the combine.

"Work ethic is certainly something that Boom has had for a long time," his father, David, said. "He's very diligent, very committed to what's important to him. Boom was always the kind of kid that didn't mind putting the time in, going the extra mile. I never had to get on Boom about doing what he needed to do in terms of his preparation, his training, his discipline."

At Pro Day, Herron didn't do any of the other drills set up by new strength and conditioning coach Mickey Marotti, choosing to stick with the numbers he put up at the combine. Herron was second among running backs in Indianapolis with a time of 4.04 in the 20-yard shuttle, was sixth in the three-cone drill with a time of 6.97 seconds and seventh in the bench press with 22 reps – numbers that show his quickness and strength.

Still, he was somewhat downcast after the combine because of the 40 time, which was 31st among running backs there.

"He was down," Wells said. "He was a little down about it because he knew he could run a lot faster. Hopefully he's come out here and do that today."

Indeed, he did. And even though he was going through his second chance to impress scouts, Herron admitted nervousness after going through workouts.

"Oh my goodness, oh yeah," Herron said. "You're nervous. It's a job interview. A lot of great coaches are here. You just want to put on the best show, so you try to be at your best, but at the same time you have that gut feeling in your stomach."

Soon, the job interviews will be over, though, and Herron will be a professional football player. He's projected as a mid- to lower-round pick, but no matter what, he'll be on a roster come minicamps.

"It's very exciting," he said. "It's a blessing. It's going to be fun. I'm just taking advantage of the opportunity."

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