Haslam, Blaszczyk Ready for Rutgers Pro Day

More than 20 players will work out for NFL scouts during Rutgers' pro day Wednesday, including offensive linemen Kevin Haslam and Ryan Blaszczyk. Both have been training for the last two months and reveal what are the keys to do well in the drills, and what they learned from watching former teammates at previous pro days.

Since debuting for Rutgers as a 17-year-old, Anthony Davis was always the glamour player on the Scarlet Knights' the offensive line. It was pre-ordained he would leave after his junior season, and he was always expected to be a first-round pick.

And the left tackle's talent also overshadowed the rest of the offensive linemen, but Wednesday Kevin Haslam and Ryan Blaszczyk move to the forefront.

Neither were at the NFL combine, but both will compete in Rutgers' pro day, which gives them a chance to demonstrate their skills in front of scouts from nearly every NFL team.

"It's really weird working out for a specific day for three months,'' Blaszczyk said. "I've done it all before, and (Wednesday) is just going to be another workout for me. I've been training for five drills, position drills, and it's a lot different than overall training for a season.''

It will be Haslam's second chance to perform in front of the scouts. The former Scarlet Knights right tackle participated in the East-West Shrine game, where the week of practice is as important as the game.

"I guess it kind of makes it easier in that some of the coaches that might have been at the shrine game will be at pro day,'' Haslam said. "I've spoken to them before. Just the fact you've been through a pressure environment, where the coaches are there watching you and evaluating you, and that's what the East-West Shrine game was, so I guess I've sort of been there already.

"It helps with calming nerves. It's very nerve-wracking, but I've been through the situation so I already know what it's like.''

But unlike the Shrine game practices where players are evaluated in how they perform against competition, pro day is solely devoted to agility, speed and strength drills.

For offensive lineman, running a three-cone drills, which emphasizes balance, footwork and explosion, is telling.

"It's more a technique thing, I would say,'' Haslam said. "It's not a pure speed thing. It's more making sure you come out of your turns and you're touching the line, and stuff like that. I feel it's the same thing with the L-drill. It's not running in a straight line.

"It's making sure you're on the right path, making sure you're keeping your technique down. Otherwise, you could run some crazy times just by taking two steps the wrong way.''

For Blaszczyk, who played center last season, it is his first chance to be seen by scouts. He didn't play in an all-star game, and has spent the last two months working out at Rutgers.

"I worked a lot on lower body strength, just being able to explode out, push and speed,'' said Blaszczyk, who added why he remained at school to work out. "I felt the strength coaches at Rutgers really new me more and they knew what I needed to work on most, and that it would save time because of how much they know about me.''

Blaszczyk believes his versatility of being able to play center and guard should help.

"I look at myself as both a center and a guard,'' he said. "I think over my three years I showed that I can play center, and I feel playing guard is like playing center without the ball.''

Although the event is new to both players, at least there is familiarity for both, who attended prior pro days and spoke to former teammates about how to handle the day, which also includes interviews with teams.

"Stay focused throughout the day because it's kind of long,'' Haslam said. "You do the weigh-ins, you do the bench. You go through the drills, and it's not you, by yourself. There's like 20, 25 people there, and then you've got the individual workouts after everything.

"You have to make sure you are listening, in general, because sometimes guys get caught up in everything and they don't listen to specifically to all the details. That's what I remember.''


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