Hornets showcase talent at NFL Pro Days

Joe Davis

Sacramento State Football seniors came one step closer to living their dream of playing professional football as the university hosted its NFL Pro Day on Wednesday. 

Among the NFL teams represented at the event, the San Francisco 49ers and the Oakland Raiders both had scouts on hand. 

The 11 Sac State seniors took advantage of the opportunity to showcase their skills in various agility, technique and speed drills with hopes of impressing the scouts. 

Wide receiver T.J. Knowles, linebacker Jeff Badger and defensive back Ryan McMahon have all signed with agents in order to bolster their draft stock. 

“Pro Day is really important and (the draft process) just accelerates from here,” said Lynn Lashbrook, Knowles’ agent and founder of Sport Management Worldwide.

Knowles played tight end and wide receiver during his senior season, but will enter the NFL draft strictly as a tight end. 

“He is 6 feet 8 inches, so he is unique,” Lashbrook said. “He hasn’t been a tight end very long and he has been to three different schools, so from my standpoint, it will be a lot of picking up the phone. He has a high upside.”

Knowles was chosen for a roster spot in the NFL Player’s Association Collegiate Bowl in January, but a hamstring injury prevented him from playing the game; however, Lasher said Knowles was able to show some of his potential in practice leading up to the game. 

Knowles, who has added 15 pounds to his frame over the offseason, will have another opportunity to display his talent in the next few weeks when he holds a private workout with scouts from the Kansas City Chiefs. 

McMahon may have had the most impressive workout in the group. He posted 4.4 second 40-yard-dash time that ranked him in the top 10 amongst defensive backs, had he been invited the NFL’s premier combine event in Indianapolis. 

McMahon’s agent, Ty Barnes, said his client’s workout results are on par with some of the NFL’s top prospects and will be conducting private workouts in Southern California for the 49ers and Raiders position coaches. 

Badger played many positions at Sac State and plans on changing his primary position of linebacker to fullback because scouts said it will give him the best chance of moving forward with his football career.

“I just wanted to come out here and show that I could switch positions so I ran a couple routes,” Badger said. “I wanted to show my speed that I’ve been working on and hopefully I earn a spot in (training camp) somewhere.“

Badger said his time at linebacker should prove to be an asset when playing fullback. The concept of finding the hole in the line and hitting someone is the same on both sides of the ball. 

Badger planned on attending fire academy after graduating from Sac State, but he said he wants to exhaust all of his options before hanging up the cleats. 

“I’m just giving this a shot,” Badger said. “I figure I can still play right now, so I might as well keep doing it while I can. If I get into camp then good, but if I don’t then I’m done and I’ll work into the academy.”

Badger and McMahon will join 240 other players from around the country on Saturday at the NFL’s regional combine in Seattle. If the two Hornet standouts perform well enough, they will earn a spot at the Super Regional in Dallas, which will have representatives from all 32 NFL teams present.

Joe can be reached on Twitter at @famousjoe530