The Road to the NFL: Jared Odrick

The National Football Post’s “Road to the NFL” series continues today with a look into the life of Penn State defensive tackle Jared Odrick.

Jared is currently living in Naples, Fla., and training at Velocity Sports Performance in preparation for his March 17 pro day at Penn State.

He agreed to give our readers a look into what life is like for an NFL prospect.

This is his first journal entry.

Right now, the focus is on training for my March 17 pro day at Penn State.

You don’t know what type of team you’re going to end up with or what type of technique they are going to want to teach you. Because of that, I’m just trying to keep an open mind. I’m a blank slate just trying to take everything in while getting into the best physical condition possible.

That’s not to say there aren’t distractions.

I’m training in South Florida right now and have a bunch of friends from school who are down here on spring break that call me to go out.

But you’ve got to stay focused. You certainly don’t want to snub your friends, but at the same time, you hope they can respect that you have to focus on the job at hand.

When it comes to the NFL, I don’t plan on letting anything distract me from doing what needs to be done.

We’re working out six days a week down here. The typical day starts around 9:30 in the morning with a two-hour workout where we focus on improving our agility and running the 40. We get back after it around 2 p.m. for an afternoon session that involves a combination of weight-lifting and football-specific drills.

The other guys I’m working out with at Velocity include Andrew Quarless (tight end, Penn State), Lee Campbell (defensive end, Minnesota), Cole Pemberton (offensive tackle, Colorado State) and Riar Geer (tight end, Colorado). We’re all working together and pushing each other to get better. Over the last few weeks, we’ve definitely formed a bond. That’s what happens when you spend 5-6 hours a day working out with guys who are going through the exact same process as you.
Speaking about this process, the NFL Combine in Indianapolis last month was extremely busy. I had formal interviews with about 25 teams while I was there in addition to the workouts that were held at Lucas Oil Stadium.

A.Q. Shipley, my former teammate at Penn State, told me beforehand how intense the combine can be. I thought he was exaggerating about how tired he was and how early they get you up, but it turned out to be exactly like he said.

As soon as I landed in Indy, we went to the hospital to get checked out and were there for about four hours doing medical examinations. Keep in mind, this is before you meet with any of the team doctors.

A typical day consisted of us getting up at about 5:30 in the morning for drug testing, followed by breakfast. Then we’d head to the stadium for workouts such as the bench press and 40-yard-dash — all the stuff you see on television. When that wrapped up, it was back to the hotel, where you would meet with personnel from different teams until 11:30 p.m. or midnight.

The scouts and coaches know it’s a tough three or four days, but they want to see how we perform under these types of tiring situations. I felt positive about my performance, but it’s tough because the combine is about trying to get a better gauge of what kind of player and person you are, without actually playing any football.

The key is to give maximum effort and work as hard as possible — two things I’ll continue to do in preparation for hearing my name called at the end of April.

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