Apr 15, 2013, 10:15 AM EDT
Editor’s Note: Former University of Richmond quarterback John Laub (’12) guest blogged for CAA Football over the past several months. Laub recently participated in the NFL’s Super Regional Combine in Dallas from April 6-8. We chatted with him about his experience this past week. Our conversation and a few photos of Laub’s experience can be found below, and a link to his blog posts can be found here.
CAAFB: For those who aren’t familiar with the Super Regional Combine, can you give us some background on the event?
JL: The NFL started doing regional combines for players as another way to get their name out there. It’s for guys who are draft eligible or guys who are looking for another shot at the NFL. They had 13 Regional Combines all across the U.S. this past year, and I went to the one in Baltimore. One of the guys who was at that Regional Combine with me was a former teammate, Richard Muldrow, who went through this whole process last year and kept on training before coming back for another shot this year.
From those Regional Combines, the NFL’s evaluators and scouts select individuals to invite to the Super Regional Combine, which this year was at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas. There were about 200-215 players who were invited. 30 of the 32 league teams were there to evaluate, so it gave me a great shot to get my name out there some more.
CAAFB: What was your reaction when you first received the invite to Dallas?
JL: I was pretty stoked because I thought I had a really good workout in Baltimore, but I wasn’t sure how many QBs they’d already invited and would take. I knew it was a huge deal to get invited and would be a great opportunity, so I was pretty pumped and happy that I received the call to go down there.
It’s another opportunity for me to go through the testing and quarterback drills – to show off my arm strength and how I move in the pocket. Like I said, I think 30 of the 32 teams were there, so it was the best opportunity I’ve had to be seen by teams and evaluators.
CAAFB: What did you specifically do to prepare for the event?
JL: One thing that I really wanted to focus on was my throwing and to do well in the quarterback drills. I wanted to make sure I threw the ball well because when it comes down to it that’s what a quarterback has to do, so you have to be able to throw well and move in the pocket during the drills. I did a bit more drill work and throwing with the time I spent training versus focusing a lot on the running prep. My thought was that the quarterback drills and throwing would be where I could really show my skill set.
CAAFB: What were your emotions and mindset heading into the weekend?
JL: First of all, I was focused. It’s very easy to get sidetracked in having to do all of the travel arrangements and the travel itself. On Sunday I had to wait seven hours for my room, so I was sitting in the hotel lobby for seven hours. Instances like that can distract you, so I wanted to make sure that I stayed focused and did everything from a mental standpoint to keep in mind the goal that I went down there to achieve, which was to throw well and perform well in all of the testing.
CAAFB: So what does one do in a hotel lobby for seven hours?
JL: It was actually all right because a bunch of the other athletes were also waiting. I hung out with a couple other guys who are also with my agency. They had to wait for their room for a long time, too.
CAAFB: Besides the guys with your agency, were there other players you knew at the event?
JL: There were a few others guys from around the league who were also there. Kenny Miles, who was a wide receiver and special teams guy at Villanova, was there as well as two guys from Towson: Jordan Dangerfield is a safety and Frank Beltre is a defensive linemen. There were other name guys you recognized there like Joe Montana’s son Nate and Cris Carter’s son Duron. It was cool to compete against and throw to some of those guys.
CAAFB: Did you have a chance meet with your agency during the weekend?
JL: Yeah, it was great to actually have a chance to meet them in person. The agency I signed with is ProStar and meeting them was a big part of the weekend.
CAAFB: You were down in Dallas from Saturday through Monday. Take us through what you did each day.
JL: On Saturday I flew into Dallas and checked into the hotel I was staying at that night. The Regional Combine paid for our hotel on Sunday since it was the night before the event, and on Saturday I was staying in a different hotel. After checking in I went to dinner with Tyler Sullivan, who used to play for Richmond and lives down there now.
On Sunday a couple of the other guys and I met with ProStar to go over Wonderlic testing, which is the aptitude test we would be taking that night. Afterwards, we went in and checked in at the hotel all of the athletes were staying at. Then we took an hour-long behavioral test, checked in at registration for the event and got our Under Armour gear that we’d be wearing on Monday.
Then we waited around the hotel lobby for a good part of the day. That night we took the Wonderlic test. All the athletes participating on Monday took it. Then we did height and weight in front of all 30 teams, where you walk up on the stage and do your height and weight in front of everyone.
The quarterbacks worked out first Monday morning. We took a shuttle over to the stadium at 6:15 a.m. and went through the warmups and did our 40-yard dash and quarterback position drills – throwing different routes, different pocket movements, throwing on the run and other drills representing the types of things you do during games. We finished the rest of the testing with the pro agility drill, L drill and vertical and broad jumps.
By that time the wide receivers had been shuttled to the stadium. They ran through about 10 routes total and completed three or four different drills. We stayed there and threw to them, which is both an evaluation for them and for us to help teams better gauge accuracy, ball placement and making sure we could throw the type of ball they were asking us to throw. It was nice to get a quality 75-100 throws in between the drills and the routes.
That pretty much wrapped up the morning for the quarterbacks. The whole process took about three or four hours for us.
CAAFB: How do you feel about your overall performance?
JL: I was very happy. I thought I did very well in the testing. The only thing I wasn’t sure about was my 40, and my agent told me I was in the 4.6 to 4.7 range, which is right around where I wanted to be. I had the fastest pro agility and L drills of any of the quarterbacks and my vertical and broad jumps went well. I actually jumped a 10’3” broad, which is the best I’ve ever done.
I also thought I did well with the throwing in terms moving in the pocket and showing my ability to throw on the run. When we threw routes to the receivers, I felt I had very good accuracy and threw a good deep ball and hit all of the throws that I needed to put in there.
My agent also seemed very happy with my testing. He said that he was thrilled and impressed with how I did. So I was feeling really good about everything on Monday.
CAAFB: You spent some quality time with the other quarterbacks on Monday. What was the dynamic like among the group?
JL: I think that everyone was under the same type of understanding because it’s all on them individually. When you compete, that’s when you get the best out of yourself. So I think there’s obviously a bit of a competitive nature among us all. But at the end of the day it’s you showing your abilities, so has any effect on that other than yourself. You have to go out, take advantage of the opportunity and show your skill set. Competitiveness and all, everyone was very encouraging of each other during the drills.
All in all, I think it was a good atmosphere. Personally, I like to have a bit of a competitive edge with my mindset because it helps me perform better. I tried to make every throw as perfect as it could be and show my skill set to the best of my abilities because when it comes down to it you have to remember it’s on you. And if you can go out and perform, then someone will probably notice you and hopefully give you a shot. That seemed to be everyone’s mindset.
CAAFB: Can you speak a little more to the feedback you received coming out of the weekend?
JL: I didn’t actually talk to any of the teams that were there because it’s more a process of my agent pushing the information to the teams these next two weeks and getting feedback on how I did. As I said, though, my agent seemed to be pretty happy with how I did and thinks I put myself in a great position coming out of the weekend. I know he’s not just saying that and trying to stroke my ego because he’s a knowledgeable guy who’s got a lot of experience. The positive feedback I got from him made me feel encouraged and gave me a good feeling about where I stand these next two weeks in terms of a team hopefully giving me a shot.
CAAFB: Talk about the experience of playing in Cowboys Stadium.
JL: It was awesome. I tried not to be too in awe when we first walked in and started warming up. I think I did a good job of staying focused and not being sidetracked by the spectacle that is Cowboys Stadium. But after I finished working out, I definitely made sure to appreciate the opportunity I was given because not everyone gets to do what I did this past weekend. I took a lot of pictures for my mom and dad. It was a great opportunity and just great to be there and to be able to perform on the field.
CAAFB: What’s next for you now?
JL: Right now I’m training and making sure that I don’t take too much time off from that if I do get an opportunity with a team. A lot of what’s being done now is by my agency. They’re contacting different teams and pushing information to them. Once the draft hits, hopefully that third day they start hearing some things in terms of me getting my opportunity. I’m realistic here and know that I’m not going to be a first round pick or a second through fourth round guy on that second day. So I’m really hoping that what my agency is doing is putting me in a good position to get the call on that third day and get a shot with a team.
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