STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA/MSU Athletics) - Representatives and scouts from all 32 NFL teams were on hand for Mississippi State's 2018 Pro Day as 16 former Bulldogs seek to take the next step in their football careers.
Players participated in drills of their choosing, including the vertical jump, broad jump, bench press, 40-yard dash and shuttle runs. They also went through position workouts with respective scouts.
Offensive lineman Martinas Rankin, a projected second-to-third round NFL Draft selection, did the vertical and broad jump, while ending the day with position workouts. Rankin will meet with several NFL teams in the coming weeks. MSU is seeking back-to-back years of at least one offensive lineman drafted.
Tight end Jordan Thomas improved on his 40-yard dash time from the NFL Combine earlier this month. Thomas was unofficially clocked at 4.69 seconds, shaving time off from his 4.74 mark at the Combine. He also bested his vertical jump, posting a mark of 29.5 inches on Wednesday. At 6-foot-5, 270-pounds, Thomas is a massive target with speed that could make some noise on Day 3 of the NFL Draft.
Defensive back J.T. Gray had the best measurables of the day, clocking an unofficial 4.48 40-yard dash, a team-high 19 reps in the bench press and team-highs in the vertical jump (33.5) and broad jump. Fellow defensive back Lashard Durr clocked an unofficial 4.45 40-yard dash.
Wide receiver Donald Gray posted a 32 in the vertical jump, while recording 16 reps in the bench press. Gray, who missed the final five games of the year due to injury, was in great shape and game speed on Wednesday while running routes in front of scouts.
The conclusion of the day featured specialists Logan Cooke and Hunter Bradley auditioning on the outdoor fields in front of scouts. Both have garnered interest from several NFL teams. Bradley was an outstanding snapper, while Cooke delivered the best year of his career as a senior.
Former Bulldogs will now await the 2018 NFL Draft and post draft free agency. The 2018 NFL Draft begins Thursday, April 26 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Offensive Lineman Martinas Rankin
On his Pro Day experience …
"It went well. I am just glad to get back out on the football field with some of my old teammates and guys that I have been around for the last couple of years."
On how he compares the intensity of today to the NFL Combine …
"It was probably the same. There were fewer guys, so it was a little different, but I enjoyed it."
On how he feels health wise…
"I am feeling good. I cannot complain. I have come a long way and I still have a long way to go, but I am going to continue to work hard. Everything is feeling good. My legs are feeling good, my ankles are feeling good so there are no complaints here."
On what he has been told he needs to improve on…
"Just continue to get stronger in the weight room. Continue to improve on technique and keep working hard on my versatility and be able to play all five positions."
On how it feels getting closer to NFL Draft day…
"Just transitioning and like understanding this is a job. This is my livelihood, and this is how I have to pay the bills, but at the same time embracing it. This is something I have been wanting my whole entire life. It is a dream. It is right there. It still hasn't hit me yet, but I am just embracing this process and taking it all in."
On what he wanted to prove today …
"Just prove versatility and prove that I am a good football player all around and that I am willing to do whatever it takes to get on the field wherever I go."
On team he would like to go play for…
"It doesn't matter to me. It is all about getting out there on the field. Whatever team calls my name, just embracing that process and just being happy. I am going to be happy when that time comes. I can't wait. I can't find enough words to describe how grateful I am and how blessed I am to be in this position."
Tight End Jordan Thomas
On Pro Day compared to the NFL Combine …
"I thought I came out and had a very good day. I am at home and I am going to be more comfortable at home on my home turf. I think I had a good day. Everyone had a good day."
On what his daily routine has been since the NFL Combine …
"I workout probably twice a day down at D1 in Madison, Miss. That has been my daily routine every day. Working out, trying to find ways to get better."
On what has he been told he needs to improve on…
"They tell me that there is not a lot of blocking on me, film wise because I played receiver. They just question my blocking and if I can and if I am willing. They don't have any doubts about me catching the ball and running. They have film on me running past defensive backs."
On how he can improve his blocking…
"Outside of football season, I would be on my own maybe getting with a coach or something like that or working on it by myself."
On his college experience at Mississippi State…
"The college experience here has been a great experience. I wouldn't trade going anywhere else for anything."
On does he have a preference for which team he would like to go to…
"I don't care which team. I am just excited. If you would've asked me in high school if I would be in the position that I am today, I would have probably told you no. So, being where I am from, it is a great experience and I am enjoying everything about it from the (NFL) Combine to Pro Day. I am just enjoying everything. You can't wipe a smile off my face."
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