Woods shines at combine, a certain first rounder

Editor's Note: In this installment of the Rashaun's pre-draft diary Woods talks about his experience at the NFL Combine. Woods was in Indianapolis for the Combine from Feb. 19-22. He details the events of the trip unlike any athlete that we've experienced. The two-time All American wide receiver at Oklahoma State made a tremendous showing at the Combine, and according to two different NFL general managers made himself a certain first round draft choice.

Rashaun Woods Diary #3

The things I wanted to concentrate on working out in Arizona was to prepare my self well to run well, to test well, and show the coaches that I belong with the top players.

When we first arrived in Indianpolis the first thing we did was to get our room and stuff like that, and then we went straight to cybex testing. With cybex testing it's a machine that they strap you to and it really tests your leg strength and your lower extremities like your knees and joints and stuff like that. They strap your thigh down and the machine puts resistance on your leg and you have to kick to give them a read of how strong your leg is. Straight from there we had to go to the hospital to check out any injuries that we may have had in the past. They take X-rays, we took EKGs, things like that, a blood test. It's all kind of tests in the hospital to give the coaches an overview of any past injuries that we may have had, to see if we were still hurting from them or if we had healed from them. All of that took, maybe, four hours when we got there. At that point I had not even had an opportunity to go check into my room yet.

After that we had to eat and then we got to meet some of the coaches. Some people got these cards where they would go have individual meeting with different teams coaching staffs. My first night I didn't have any meetings with any coaches, so they sent us across the street to a big building where all of the position coaches and people like that are. You sit down and talk with them and you fill out cards that give them permission to do a background check on you. They just want to see if you've been in any trouble, look into your family, really just a record report.

The next day we had physicals. The physicals were basically done in six rooms. The teams would split up into the six rooms and, again, they checked on any injuries that you had. They wanted to check and see if you were still hurting from a shoulder sprain on something like that. As many people know I have had some tendonitis in my knee, and sure enough, they knew about it. They were pulling on it and tugging on it. It felt like I had been through a practice by the time it was over because it makes you just as sore as if you had been running. They are not playing around. These are the NFL trainers and they want to know if they are going to invest money in these guys if they are already hurting or injured. Believe me when I say there were a lot more guys jacked up than some of the others. They wanted to do whatever it took to find out if you still had pain from an injury. Luckily for me, the training staff at Oklahoma State did a great job of rehabbing me back and I really don't have any problems at all. It turned out that that was my stronger leg. It's my kick leg. I really didn't have any problems at all with it.

From there we went to do height and weight. This is where when they talk about you being a piece of meat at the Combine, this is where you really feel like it. You are in a line and you walk up on a stage and in front of the stage is an auditorium with something like 200 coaches seated out there watching and taking notes. Every time somebody would step up you would get your heigth and then go get you weight, then your arm length, and finally, your hand size. For instance when I got up there, they announced, "Rashaun Woods, Oklahoma State." I walked up on the stage and they announced my heigth at, "six oh two." You want to boast out all you can and stand up tall because you never know when somebody may be looking at your size when they are trying to decide who to pick. Then they all start taking notes and you can hear the coaches writing. You go to weight and they said, "two oh two." Then right there they did my arm length and hand size. I ended up having the biggest hands out of the wide receivers with 10 and 1/4 inches. I didn't hear anybody else have anything higher than that. You walk off stage and they take your body fat and then you are done with that.

The next thing was we took the Wunderlick Test, which is a test to make sure your are not dumb or anything like that. They want to make sure you can read, add and subtract, and things like that. It was pretty easy. From there we came back to the hotel and this is where I first got my cards to meet with individual teams. I think I met with eight teams that night. In the meeting rooms, when you talk about a pressure situation, you had each of the coaches on the staff. You are sitting in the front of the room in a little chair and they are all around you. They all ask you questions. A lot of the questions are about family, questions about what I think my attributes are, questions about what I think my weaknesses are. There were questions about how I would adapt in the game, they want to see me make reads, and they would draw up plays and put me in a situation where I have to make decisions on whether I should break a route off or keep running it. There was a lot of stuff like that testing my football saavy. Most of the time the head coaches were kind of quiet. They didn't talk much, a couple of times they asked me about fishing and stuff like that. They really try to calm the situation down. It was the offensive coordinators and position coaches that really grill about whether you know your stuff and how confident you are in yourself. For the most part I thought I did pretty well. I enjoyed it and the opportunity to be in front of a big crowd. It was a lot easier than I thought it was going to be. There were a couple of teams that tried to bother you a little bit and get into your head. There was one coach that just said, "how do you get away with this pushing off all the time?" They would say something like that. I would explain that I'm not pushing off. He knows I'm not pushing off, but he wants to see if I'm offended or what I would say. Some guys, like the I think it was the Miami Dolphins, would ask me questions real fast to see if can keep up, and then they would ask some of the same questions twice maybe five minutes later to see if I would give them the same answer. They wanted to see if I'm consistant in my answers and make sure I'm not lying to them or something like that. It was a crazy experience, crazy.

Saturday is a day where we do pyschological testing. You find out every team that is interested in you and you have to take a test for them. The tests can be anywhere up to 200 questions. I ended up taking seven different tests, and that had to take about four hours out of the day. That had to be the easiest part of the day. The second part of the day I ended up having interviews for about three hours and it was a lot like the night before where I would go into a room and be on the "hot seat" facing a coaching staff and give them an insight on what kind of person I am and what kind of character I have.

Now Sunday that was the day that we did everything on the field. I was in group six and I'm not sure how many groups there were, but it was the last group of the receivers. When we first got on the field they took us through a series of warmups and I had my own set of warmups that I took from Athlete Performance (the group he worked with in Arizona prior to the Combine) and that I felt comfortable with. After we did their warmups then I did my warmups. The first thing that we did testing was the vertical jumo and the broad jump. They were backed up on the forties from the fifth group, so we went ahead and did all the jumping. They do vertical just like any other place you do verticals. You do walk throughs so they can get your arm length and reach, and then you come back and jump. I came back and did a 39 (inches). I was feeling really good until a guy named Wilford from Virginia Tech did a 40. I was hoping I would have the best jump, but he could really get up there now. He was 6-5 and could really jump. You get two chances, so you want to get a good jump right off the bat. Usually on my last jump is when I get my highest. They we moved over to the broad jump and I had a 10'5" and that was my personal best.just like my vertical leap was my personal best also. I felt pretty happy with that.

After that we had a 30 minute break before we ran forties. Since we were going alphabetically I had a lot of time, but I felt warmed up so I didn't do anything to stay loose. I felt pretty confident, so I just sat over there and waited until it was time. When you get up to run there are about 300 coaches in the stands and they are all looking at you and it seems like they all have a stopwatch on you. When I stepped up to the line, a guy on the intercom says, "Rashaun Woods, Oklahoma State, wide receiver." I got up on the line and the first time I got up there I was pretty excited and it was hard for me to focus on my technique and stuff like that. When everybody is looking at you on the forty, it is different than in a game when there are 21 other people out there on the field with you. You can see everybody's face looking at you, and you can see they are all ready for you to start. My first forty, I felt pretty good running. It was my slower forty, but at the end there was a little string that you are supposed to run through. It's the accutrack (electronic timer) deal. You run through the string and it stops the clock. I didn't know it and I started slowing down three yards before it. That made it my slower time. The second time I ran through it and ran a 4.45, and I was really glad for it. I was really starting to get tired of people saying that I was a nice player that could run routes and catch the ball but I was slow. It would really tick me off when TV announcers would talk about me making plays and that I wasn't the fastest guy in the world. No, I'm not the fastes guy in the world, but I'm faster than most, and I proved that at the Combine. You have to have some speed to be a successful player at this level, and to have people beating me down, beating me down over my speed when it wasn't true really made me mad. When I had the chance to do it, I'm really glad I proved myself.

After the sprint we then went over and ran routes, we actually run each route one time on each side of the field. They had us run an out route, a fade, a curl route and a dig. Quarterbacks that are in the draft throw like John Navarre of Michigan, Kent from Jackson State, Rod Rutherford from Pittsburgh, guy from Washington State, and several others. They were good quarterbacks, a couple of guys were errant with their throws, but most of them were on the money. There was one that I didn't catch that was behind me, but, for the most part, these guys were putting it on the money. There's this one drill that really shows it you a true receiver and can catch the ball in your hands. It's called the gauntlett. What you do is stand on one sidelines and the quarterbacks are spaced out and you have to run a straight line down the sideline catching all these passes from the quarterbacks. You stay on the line full speed and catch the ball with your hands, catch it, drop it, catch it, drop it. That was the toughest thing to do because you had to catch the ball, run the sidelines, and catch the ball with your hands. A lot of guys were off the line. Guys were catching it with their body that weren't used to it. This is probably the most revealing drill that separates a lot. Fortunately for me, the guys at Athlete's Performance had a soft spot and sent me the basics, there will be much more. It was pretty easy for me, but a lot of guys had problems with it. Then we moved over to do a 20 pound shuffle. By then the coaches had all left. They had seen what they wanted. It's all taped and there were only a few coaches left in the stands. You have to really keep it focused or it's going to be a long day.

Next week at Pro Timing Day at OSU I'm willing to go out and catch some passes for the scouts, but I've done all the other stuff and I did it to the best of my ability.

Right after I got through running I saw Greg (Richmond) and Antonio (Smith). They came in a couple of days after we did. I was real excited to get a chance to talk to them. When I was working out, Tatum was in front of me in an earlier group and I could tell he did real well. That really pumped me up, and I did get to talk to him afterwards. Everything was going great and it seemed like it was all going well.

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