By Kristian Dyer and Mike Naples
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The NFL Draft is still weeks away, but don’t tell that to Mike Naples, who continues his training for the draft at the TEST Parisi Football Academy. A tight end at Boston College, the product of Somerville High School in central New Jersey is hoping to get a shot in the NFL.
Last week, Naples had his Pro Day at Boston College, where he put together weeks of hard work and preparation at TEST Sports Clubs in Martinsville, N.J., towards this goal.
Each week, Naples will blog exclusively for CBS New York on his draft process, taking us into the life of a prospect up through being signed by an NFL team. This week, he gives insight into his Pro Day, another step forward towards his NFL dreams.
Pro Day is finally here.
So I officially arrived in Boston last Friday and proceeded to check into the Sheraton Needham, which was our team hotel for home games. I brought three bags with me: one for workout clothes, one for street clothes and one with cleats and other workout accessories like stopwatches and things of that nature.
Mike Naples Blog: Pro Day Is Coming And The Nerves Are Setting In
I then went and got dinner with a few of my teammates whoI haven’t seen in a long time, guys like Jake Sinkovec, Mike Marscovetra, Josh Bordner, Ian White, Steele Divitto and Matt Patchan. Chipotle was our favorite spot throughout college, so we thought it would only be right if that was our first stop together on our first day back.
I arrived at Pro Day around 10:30 A.M. It was bout two hours before the recommended time, as I thought I could benefit from getting there early, checking out the scene and doing some last-minute preparations. I also made a run to our local food store and picked up a basket of oranges, a loaf of bread and peanut butter and jelly for all of my teammates and myself. Finally, at 1:45 P.M., our Pro Day was officially underway as I was weighed in and got measured.
When I started this whole process a couple of months ago at TEST Parisi Football Academy, it all seemed so distant. Now, it was here.
After that, the first event was up — the bench press. I was one of the first people to test and registered 26 total repetitions. After the bench was the vertical jump, and I jumped 34 inches. That was all done inside our weight room, and as we finished up and got ready to go out to the field, I was excited to show them what I could do with the football in my hands. We then tested the 40-yard dash as well as the 20-yard shuttle and the broad jump.
The last test we did was the “L Drill,” and I was unofficially timed at a 6.79 seconds. That was the fastest out of any of the tight ends at the NFL combine the past few years. (The fastest time this year was a 7.10 for the L Drill.)
All of that training and hard work really kicked in.
Finally, it was onto the field drills and positional drills. The drills went very well overall. One of the things that I tried to concentrate on — other than the obvious things, like catching the ball — was to run very clean, fast, precise routes. The most important thing I wanted to show the scouts and coaches was that I have great receiver skills. I played wide receiver in high school and then converted to tight end in college.
By playing in a run-friendly offense, I didn’t get a chance to show my receiver skills as much as the scouts probably would have liked to see. With that being said, on Pro Day I wanted to stand out as a receiver, so I ran multiple speed-speed-outs — a route most tight end or halfbacks wouldn’t be able to normally run — to try and catch the scouts’ eyes. I then proceeded to do long and short snaps for the scouts as a long snapper.
Overall, I was happy with the way Pro Day went. There will always be things I go back on and wish I did better on, and nothing is ever as good or as worse as it seems. But overall, I was happy. I received great feedback from scouts and coaches, as well as my coaches at Boston College.
Not only were people impressed with my receiving skills, I was told, but they were impressed with my long snaps (and short) as well. With a limited number of spots available on an NFL roster, someone who can play multiple positions is very valuable.
With Pro Day over I am currently still in Boston working out and training at Boston College. I have a great strength and conditioning staff here that is more than willing to help, as well as a position coach and a head coach who would do anything in his power to help me in any way he could.
Reflecting back on this experience, it makes me very thankful to have had high-school coaches like Kevin Carty and Greg Arakelian and also college coaches like Frank Leonard and Steve Addazio. Those are four guys who have made me what I am today, and I will forever be in debt to them.
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