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Lineman Vinston Painter may have improved his stock after working out for NFL scouts.
The Roanoke Times | File 2012
Offensive tackle Vinston Painter is encouraged by his NFL draft prospects.
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
BLACKSBURG — As a chiseled, 6-foot-4, 306-pound athlete who doesn’t resemble your typical flabby offensive lineman, Virginia Tech tackle Vinston Painter had a sound strategy to catch the scouts’ eyes at the NFL combine in Indianapolis last month.
“Took my shirt off,” he said with a laugh. “I just walk around a little bit, get my Calvin Klein on. That’s all.”
Painter, who has heard good things about his draft stock since a solid showing at the combine, was one of several Hokies who tried to impress scouts again at Virginia Tech’s pro day on campus Wednesday.
The Norfolk native tried to build on last month’s performance. Satisfied with his combine numbers — he bench-pressed 225 pounds 32 times, ran a 4.95-second 40 and had a 30 1⁄2-inch vertical jump — Painter declined to do the workouts again in Blacksburg, instead doing whatever positional drills scouts and coaches asked of him.
He’s encouraged by what he’s heard about his draft stock recently. Projected as an undrafted free agent immediately after the season, Painter’s agent has heard that Painter could be a late-round pick now.
Painter thinks he displayed a strong football IQ at the combine, in addition to his obvious physical attributes. Although he didn’t play much until his senior season at Tech, the fact that he has little wear and tear on him actually could be a positive.
“The doctors for the teams couldn’t really believe it,” he said “They tried to find any and everything that they could, but there was nothing there.”
He said he has “maybe one or two” individual workouts with NFL teams coming up, although he chose not disclose with whom, per his agent’s advice.
Painter wasn’t alone in working out for NFL scouts Wednesday. Receivers Marcus Davis and Corey Fuller caught passes from former West Virginia quarterback Pat White, a stand-in for Logan Thomas, who is not allowed to throw in front of NFL personnel because he’s still a college player.
Davis and Fuller are expected to be the first Hokies off the board, projected as midround picks. It’s a thin group of Virginia Tech prospects this year. It’s shaping up to be only the second time since 2008 that the Hokies haven’t had someone go in the second round or higher.
Linebacker Bruce Taylor looked at Wednesday as a second chance. He struggled in the workouts in Indianapolis, running the slowest 40 time of the linebackers, but he fine-tuned technique in the weeks afterward. He didn’t know his time Wednesday but thinks it was faster for a variety of reasons.
“I got a good night’s rest, which I didn’t get on the combine,” Taylor said. “My legs were a lot fresher than they were at the combine. Just overall, I felt a lot better.”
For players who didn’t get an NFL combine invitation, Wednesday was the first chance to show off their stuff to scouts. Former Bassett High running back Martin Scales, who did every drill and workout, enjoyed the opportunity.
“For me, it was just fun,” he said. “I’m stretching my legs out, enjoying myself, because it’s not the end of the world for me. I just go out there and do my best. You can’t be mad at yourself if you just go out and do your best. That’s how I feel. So I enjoyed it.”
Scales, who isn’t projected to be drafted, hopes he can latch on to a team this spring, even if it’s a tryout situation.
“I’m going to push it and see if I can go with it,” he said.
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