Friday morning, NFL scouts descended upon the OSU campus to take part in the Pro Day for draft-eligible players. By my count, 24 of the 32 teams were represented by personnel, but none of the head coaches and general managers were in attendance. One of the Falcons scouts was on hand to run the Pro Day, but he gave way to a Patriots scout during the running back drills. It was an interesting event that served as a critical opportunity for some future NFL stars.
Fullback Ricky Ortiz was one of the many players taking part in the OSU Pro Day. Despite playing tight end, H-back, and linebacker throughout his Beavers career, Ortiz actually worked out with the running backs. He ran the bag drills with Tim Cook and caught passes with Victor Bolden Jr., Cook, and Rahmel Dockery, turning in one of the best performances of the day.
Ortiz met with BeaverBlitz after the Pro Day’s conclusion and was positive overall about his Pro Day experience. Although he did share some concerns about his shuttle runs.
“It was a pretty solid day, I could have done better on some of the drills," Ortiz said. "You know, the shuttles and the cones, but it comes with the territory. You gotta persevere through the hard times.”
The struggles with the shuttle runs came when Ortiz slipped twice while quickly changing directions. However, he recovered his balance and didn’t actually fall down while running. The interesting part is that his struggles happened on the short shuttle and the figure eight drill. Ortiz actually excelled at the 60-yard shuttle sprint.
Ortiz’s day improved with the receiving drills as he caught almost every pass thrown his way. The only miss was a wormburner from the Pro Day quarterback that was uncatchable at best. He ran fantastic routes and displayed serious hands. The best catch of the day was on a seam route where he caught a pass in stride 25 yards downfield.
Considering the stress of working out in front of NFL scouts, Ortiz turned in a very impressive workout. When asked about the differences between preparing for a college season and a potential job in the pros, Ortiz explained his approach to the biggest job interview of his life.
“Different, it’s not your typical after-college process. I actually had a three-month internship here at Oregon State so I could train with the head strength coach. So I had everything I needed with trainers, and coaches so I could fine tune things in the playbook. It was different, but it paid off. It was a fun process.”
Ortiz doesn’t play a premiere position in the NFL considering that only a few teams use traditional fullbacks. However, this lack of potential suitors isn’t limiting his positive thoughts, or his opportunities.
“So it was unofficial, but I met with the Falcons representative here. They offered for me to go in May to their five-day OTA’s, and the Broncos just came up to me. I don’t know what their (the Broncos) intent is, but they will talk to my agent. So far, two teams," he said.
Atlanta could be the perfect spot for Ortiz. The Falcons just lost fullback Patrick DiMarco to the Bills in Free Agency, but Dan Quinn needs a fullback to block for Devonte Freeman, Tevin Coleman, and Terron Ward (on occasion). Quinn is a hard-nosed coach who needs a tough running game to keep the pressure off Julio Jones and Matt Ryan. Plus, he likes to use fullbacks as secondary receivers out of the backfield. In two seasons under Quinn, DiMarco caught three touchdowns and totaled 162 yards. Ortiz has the hands--that measured a ridiculous 10.25 inches--and size to be a reliable asset for years to come.