AUSTIN (KXAN) — This year’s Texas pro day took on even more importance for a slew of Longhorns, hoping to hear their names called in next month’s NFL Draft.
With the traditional NFL Combine canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic, Texas’ pro day is the sole opportunity for the (now) Texas Exes to get measured and tested by NFL scouts.
“I haven’t been through this process before, so for me, it’s no different,” Sam Cosmi said. “Everybody else is like, ‘This is so different.’ This is my first time doing it, so this is just how it’s gonna go.”
Cosmi was joined by the likes of Sam Ehlinger, Joseph Ossai, Caden Sterns and Ta’Quon Graham on Thursday.
“I really came in wanting to throw the ball really well,” Ehlinger said. “Throw NFL-style routes, NFL-style footwork and really drive the ball down the field with great accuracy. I thought it went really well, I was really happy with that.”
Ehlinger’s optimism comes despite the fact that he’s projected as a late third-day pick. He seemed confident that he helped dispel the knock that he has weak arm and struggles with accuracy. The one thing about Ehlinger that’s never been questioned, though, is his leadership — an important “intangible” that teams love.
“All the feedback’s been very positive,” Ehlinger said about his conversations with scouts. “Have a lot of tape from playing four years here at Texas. So I think just showing consistently being able to drive the ball down the field with accuracy and strength. The feedback’s so far has been really good about what went down out here.”
On the other end of the draft board spectrum is Cosmi, Ehlinger’s offensive lineman. He hopes to be the first Texas offensive lineman taken in the first round of the draft since 2002. Social media was abuzz with his 40-yard dash time of 4.84 and his 36 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press.
“I was fired up, I was super ecstatic when I saw those numbers,” Cosmi said. “It shows that I’m strong and powerful and explosive and I’m quick. The testing, the combine, it’s all good when it comes to showing people this that and the other. What really matters is the coaches and the scouts getting these numbers and seeing what type of person and type of player I am.”
On the other side of the ball, Joseph Ossai’s stock has been on a bit of a roller coaster. The defensive end/linebacker hybrid has been projected as high as a first-round pick and as low as a third-day bargain.
He’s hoping his versatility makes him an attractive option early in the draft.
“As you can see, I’ve played all over the place, so I don’t care [about my position],” Ossai said. “Wherever they want me to play, as long as I have a coach that can development in that area and give me the tools that I need to succeed, I’ll play safety if you teach me.”
Ossai also had some eye-popping numbers. His vertical jump was 41.5 inches, he was half-an-inch shy of 11 feet on his standing long jump and he had 19 reps on the bench.
“I wasn’t too surprised, but I did go in thinking of surprising myself in everything I did, which is PRing, going above and beyond,” Ossaid said. “But I don’t take too much of the measurables in. I still had to come out here and show that I wanted to compete, I wanted to finish all the drills and I wanted to work hard.”
Both Ossai and Cosmi opted out of the season late in the year — Ossai just for the bowl game, and Cosmi for the final two games of the season.
“Making my decision to opt out was ultimately the best decision for me, and I knew it was time to go onto my next chapter of life and pursue the NFL,” Cosmi said.
While the draft is a bit of sure thing for guys like Cosmi and Ossai, it’s far more of an unknown for someone like Brennan Eagles, who left school early hoping to hear his name called, despite a solid body of work and consistent production.
“This is a very important day for me, it’s a make-it or break-it type of day,” Eagles said. “This is determining my future.”