NFL evaluates incoming seniors
By Stephen Tsai
The scale did not provide justice.
"Two-thirteen?" Hawai'i football player Kealoha Pilares whispered in astonishment as the scale's needle quivered to a stop.
But then the National Football League scouts noted that Pilares, a 5-foot-10 1/4 slotback, had not changed from a padded uniform he wore for a commercial shoot for the Warrior football program.
The differential would offer some relief for Pilares, one of 18 Warriors who participated in yesterday's pro-evaluation program at the UH athletic complex.
The players, who will be seniors in the fall, were recorded for height, weight, hand spans and arm reaches. They also filled out a lengthy self-history form, and took a version of the Wonderlic, a 50-question IQ test.
"There were a lot of observation questions," left slotback Greg Salas said. "One of the questions was: 'Do these numbers match?' They weren't hard."
Two National Football League scouting coordinators — Dave Petett of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Ray Biggs of the Tennessee Titans — collected the information.
Petett and Biggs also reviewed videos of the soon-to-be-senior Warriors, and met with the UH position coaches.
While the measurables — heights, weights, hand spans, arm reaches — can be easily accessed, the Wonderlic scores and player evaluations will be sent to a scouting organization that will distribute the information to 28 of the 32 NFL teams.
"Now we have a starting point," Petett said — a sentiment shared by mock-draft analysts across the country.
By an unwritten code, NFL teams usually wait until a few months before a player's senior season to initiate evaluations.
"We know Hawai'i has good players," Petett said. "We wanted to get some numbers."
Of all of the Warrior prospects, Petett acknowledged, Salas has drawn the most buzz.
In 2009, Salas, having moved from left wideout, made 106 receptions fo 1,590 yards and eight touchdowns.
"We know he can play," Petett said. "We wanted to meet him in person."
Salas, too, was enthusiastic about the session.
"I was curious to see what they were looking for," Salas said. "It was a good experience. Next time — and I hope there's a next time — I'll know what to expect."
Salas' hand span was measured at 9⁄ inches and his arm reach at 31 1/2 inches. He also was recorded at being 6 feet 1‹ and 205 pounds.
"He's a good size," Petett said.
Left wideout Rodney Bradley, who had been listed at 6 feet in the 2009 UH media guide, yesterday was measured at 5 feet 11 1/2.
The half-inch reduction should not impact Bradley's status.
"I play taller," Bradley said, noting, "on the field, I wear cleats, so I'm 6 feet when I play."
Of more importance is Bradley's health. He averaged 95.8 receiving yards before suffering two leg fractures in UH's sixth game, against Idaho, in 2009. Bradley has recovered, and he will resume full workouts in a few weeks.
The scouts did not seem concerned about injuries that kept a couple of defensive backs from playing in last week's Warrior Bowl.
Cornerback Lametrius Davis yesterday was on crutches because of recent surgery to repair a torn meniscus. He tried to straighten up, but was recorded at being 5 feet 10 3/4.
Cornerback Jeramy Bryant, slotback Ryan Henry and running back Chizzy Dimude were all measured at 5 feet 9.
"I think we've got the 5-9 relay team," said UH associate coach Rich Miano, the Warriors' pro liaison who arranged yesterday's session.
After reviewing videos yesterday, Petett and Biggs were familiar with the Warriors. When Melvin Hopkins was summoned, Petett said, "He goes by 'Tank.' "
Also recognizable was offensive tackle Laupepa Letuli, who participated in last year's session.
Last month, the NCAA approved Letuli's request for a medical hardship that will enable him to play as a sixth-year senior in 2010. While awaiting a ruling on his appeal, Letuli participated in UH's April 1 Pro Day, an audition for more than 50 NFL scouts.
"Now," Petett said, "they just have to go out and have good seasons."
SPEED CLINICS THIS WEEK
Hawai'i Speed and Quickness clinics will be tomorrow and Sunday in UH's Klum Gym.
Each session is from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.
The $10 participation fee includes instruction in plyometrics and resistance training. Each participant also will receive coupons to Jack in the Box and Jamba Juice.
For details, call 228-7447 or go to www.hawaiispeedandquickness.com.
Visit Tsai's blog at www.warriorbeat.honadvblogs.com.