Kerry Hyder got an invitation to participate in the NFL combine, but there’s only so much he could do in Indianapolis to convince scouts of his merits.
So the Texas Tech defensive lineman is prepared for a lengthy wait in the NFL draft.
“I feel like I’m easily a Day 2 pick in the draft,” Hyder said this week, “but what from what I’m hearing, I feel like I’m more likely to go on Day 3.”
The NFL draft begins with first-round selections Thursday, followed by rounds two and three on Friday and rounds four through seven on Saturday.
Tight end Jace Amaro seems set to become Tech’s highest-drafted player since 2009, when wide receiver Michael Crabtree went 10th overall to the San Francisco 49ers and safety Darcel McBath went 48th to the Denver Broncos.
Amaro could fall in a similar range, with most projections having him as a second-round pick, maybe a late first. A handful of other Tech players are hoping to be picked late or sign on as free agents shortly after the draft.
“I’m preparing for the worst-case scenario,” linebacker Terrance Bullitt said, “but I’m praying for the best. So, we’ll see how it plays out.”
Based on his presence at the NFL combine, Hyder might be the Red Raiders’ best chance for a second draftee after Amaro. As a junior, he led all Big 12 defensive tackles in sacks (six) and tackles for loss (14) and made first-team All-Big 12.
As a senior, he was among the national leaders in tackles for loss by a defensive tackle with 10 during the Red Raiders’ 7-0 start, but Hyder had a harder time when linemate Dartwan Bush missed 4 1/2 games with a knee injury. He finished with 11 1/2 tackles for loss and second-team All-Big 12 recognition.
Hyder spent a day at Valley Ranch interviewing with the Dallas Cowboys, including owner Jerry Jones, head coach Jason Garrett and assistants and has had other conversations.
“Honestly, I’ve been talking to every team,” he said. “I kind of feel like everybody can use a defensive tackle on the third day, so I’m having a chance to talk to every team.”
The biggest thing working against Hyder with the pros is his size — 6-foot-2 and 290 pounds. His combine profile on NFL.com compliments Hyder for toughness, effort, defending the run, good hand use and “a professional work ethic.” But it knocks him as “bad-bodied” and “not explosive.”
On the flip side, Hyder says he can play in more than one scheme, either as a 3-technique defensive tackle in a 4-3 or a defensive end in a 3-4. He’s played both at Tech.
“Because I’m versatile, I can play something in everybody’s scheme,” he said.
The same might be true of Bullitt, who is a shade under 6-3 and weighs 226 pounds. He played safety early in his Tech career and outside linebacker as he got older.
Then he put up some solid workout numbers, with a 40-inch vertical jump and good times in agility drills.
“The teams that I’ve talked to, they’re kind of intrigued by my size and speed and how I did on the vertical jump and everything,” he said. “I had good pro-day numbers.
“Whatever team that gives me a shot, whatever they want me to play, I think I’ll be able to play both (positions), but special teams is going to be a big part of what I’m doing.”
Bullitt tried to reinforce his Tech pro-day performance by attending the NFL regional combine in Miami. From that, he was invited to the super regional combine in Detroit.
The NFL regional-combine workouts, much less publicized and talked about than the annual national combine in Indianapolis, were launched in 2012. This year, they attracted about 3,000 hopefuls to NFL team facilities across the country. Position players paid $245 to register, specialists $295.
Only about 10 percent of the regional participants advanced to Detroit, Bullitt being one of them.
Former Tech safety Cody Davis was one of 10 NFL regional participants to make a 53-man roster last year.
Bullitt heard about it from Davis.
Even if he didn’t improve his performance numbers, Bullitt might have benefited by more exposure.
“I know the drills that I did were real smooth, caught a lot of teams’ eye, but everything stayed about the same,” he said.
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