Today marks the final day of workouts at the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine, a day that features the best amateur defensive backs from around the country.
It was exactly seven years ago, today, that Division-II Northern Colorado free safety Reed Doughty took the field to prove he was worthy of draft consideration.
For someone from the North Central athletic Conference, a Combine invitation was the ultimate recognition.
“Sometimes they invite the smaller school guys just to give a level playing field, so that [teams] know what they’re looking at,” he told Redskins Nation’s Larry Michael. “You get them all in one place, and you’re competing directly against [each other].
“I remember Eric Smith was in my group, Antonio Cromartie, Antoine Bethea; a lot of guys that are still playing. I remember a lot of guys that were in our group.”
Like most players that go on to play in the NFL, Doughty remembers his Combine experience as a stepping stone to something bigger. The event itself was very stressful.
“For me it was not fun. That’s not a fun process,” he said. “It’s an incredible opportunity, but it’s an interview. It’s very intense. It’s not going down to have a good time.”
Doughty had reason to be concerned. For the same reasons he was not heavily recruited out of high school, he needed to show that he could handle the physical strain of the NFL.
“The question with me wasn’t my character or my intelligence; it was what are my physical attributes,” he said. “What am I going to weigh? What I am going to bench [press]? What am I going to have in my agility, my 40-[yard dash]?”
Doughty measured 6-1, 209 pounds, and did 15 repetitions on the bench press, all middle-of-the-pack numbers for available free safeties. His 4.65 40-yard dash was in the lower-third of the class. His 37-inch vertical leap and 10-1 broad jump were both in the bottom half.
But it was Doughty’s agility that turned heads.
Of the more than 300 participants in the Combine that year, Doughty had the second-fastest three-cone drill, beating out the likes of Devin Hester, Vernon Davis and Maurice Jones-Drew.
Another area where Doughty excelled was in the team meetings, where he was able to showcase the character that has been a hallmark in Washington.
“I know a lot of guys go to these big academies and get tested and practice these sorts of things,” he explained. “For me, I just felt like I’m going to be myself and I’m going to present myself in the best light that I can.
“Be yourself, because you don’t want to back yourself in a corner where you say something that later you’re going to have to explain.”
While some of the stars of the Combine will meet with most of all of the NFL teams, Doughty had a much lighter meeting schedule. One of those interviews proved valuable.
“You know some guys had a draft interview every night; I had two draft interviews,” he said. “One was the Dolphins, one was the Redskins. That was it.
“I was very focused. I felt like I handled myself well,” he said. “I think overall, I helped myself and that in itself was the positive experience.”