Destiny Vaeao’s WSU Pro Day all about speed, he tells CF.C

DL DESTINY VAEAO naturally wants to showcase all of his skills at Washington State’s Pro Day on Thursday. But one thing above all others could influence his NFL draft stock most, and its been his primary focus the past couple of months -- speed.

Since WSU's Sun Bowl victory in December, Vaeao has been training in Orlando and had a strong showing in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl in Carson, Calif.  He arrived back in Pullman this past Thursday.

"I've just been working out this whole time, working on speed -- my goal was to work on my speed," said Vaeao.

There are many (including this writer) who feel the importance of a 40-yard dash time is grossly overstated when it comes to a true indicator of NFL stock. But NFL teams do use the 40 times, particularly in factoring size-speed ratio when it comes to linemen.

If Vaeao, at 6-4, 298 pounds, can clock 5.0 seconds or better in the 40, it could be the tipping point when it comes to the draft (April 28-30).  NFL media gurus have Vaeao going as high as the 4th round to signing as an undrafted free agent. 

Asked what NFL teams he's hearing most from, where/if he thinks he might be drafted and his feelings on not being invited to the combine given the unusually deep DL class, Vaeao said those things simply aren’t on his radar. As he heard Mike Leach and Cougar d-line coach Joe Salave'a preach over and over during his time at WSU: focus on the things you can control.

Vaeao has been content to let his agent (Brandon Smart of Smart Consulting Agency) handle the bulk of the communication with NFL teams.  But at the NFLPA bowl, Vaeao told CF.C that NFL scouts did ask him what he sees as his "true spot." And that's where Vaeao's versatility may help set him apart from the large group of NFL d-line hopefuls.

"I told them I can move to the nose, three-tech or on the end... Coach Joe has meant a lot to me. At the (NFLPA) bowl game a lot of guys at other schools, they know just one spot, like tackle... But Coach Joe showed me how to play tackle, nose and end all at the same time," said Vaeao.

Vaeao never redshirted at Washington State and started 35 games over his Cougar career. He started every game this past season, posting 41 tackles (20 solo) and finishing second on the team with 12 tackles for loss, with 4 1/2 sacks.

RELATED STORY: WSU's Destiny Vaeao earns highest grade at NFLPA

If Vaeao does post a time of under 5.0 seconds in the 40, we might not find out about it. NFL coaches and scouts at Pro Days are notorious about keeping times and scores to themselves, sometimes even from the the prospects themselves.

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