Chris Kelsay Diary: Part III

By NU Athletic Communications

This is the third in a series of features leading up to the 2003 NFL Draft. In this series for, former Husker Chris Kelsay shares his thoughts and experiences on preparations for the draft and the NFL Combine, his meetings with NFL coaches, scouts and executives and other events in preparing for the start of his NFL career. In the first two segments, Kelsay covered the first month after the conclusion of the Husker football season and his thoughts heading into the NFL Combine. In this segment, Kelsay recaps his experience at the Combine which was held in late February in Indianapolis.

The next update from Chris will come in late March as Kelsay begins final preparations for the NFL Draft. Kelsay will also be doing a video chat on in the next week.

March 10, 2003
I've been back in Nebraska for a little over a week now. It's good to be home. The weather is not nearly as nice here as it was in Florida, but it is good to be back in God's country.

The NFL Combine went real well for me. It was actually a cakewalk compared to what I was thinking going in. I was prepared for the worst-that's what the people at IMG prepared us for. As it turned out, I thought it was easier than Senior Bowl Week.

I weighed in at 273 pounds and was measured at just under 6-5. The majority of the guys there were a lot lighter and a lot shorter than they've been listed throughout college. Right there I helped myself because I was listed at a lighter weight for my senior season and when I weighed in right around 275 that raised a lot of eyebrows. I've been told the right size for defensive ends in the NFL is anywhere from 270 to 290, so I fit right in there.

I interviewed with about 20 or 25 teams during the Combine and I had interviewed with about 10 at the Senior Bowl, so I think I've talked to all 32 teams. The interviews were much more organized than what I'd heard about in the past. They ran from 6 to 11 in the evening. Every morning you got a card with the time of your interviews. It listed the team, the room number and the time of the interview. The interviews could not last longer than 15 minutes, so everything was kept on a tight schedule.

I'd also heard horror stories about the medical tests and hospital visits and that went real well and was pretty easy. Right when I got there I was put on the Cybex machine to test the strength in my right hamstring I injured last fall. It tested out just as strong as the other one, so I think that eased some fears of a lot of teams. Basically, each team doctor is there and has the change to examine every player. I was poked, prodded and pulled by all 32 team doctors. The medical tests as a whole were pretty extensive. The teams have the right to order extra medical tests on players, but I only had one extra test ordered. I held up good in the medical tests. Everything was sturdy and stable.

The physical testing was probably the easiest part. I was real prepared for that through my training over the previous couple months and everything I've done through my time at Nebraska. My 40 time was the best I've ever ran. The different scouts had me anywhere from 4.62 to 4.69. My vertical jump was 37 inches, my broad jump was 10 feet. I was real happy with how I did in all the tests. I improved in every category since fall testing in August.

It was strange to watch some guys that really weren't prepared physically and mentally for the Combine. It is the biggest job interview of your life and the only place you'll have all 32 teams watching you. There are always guys that choose not to run or test out. It is understandable if you are one of the top five or 10 players, but for some people it doesn't make any sense.

Everything I'm hearing now in terms of draft projections is good. They've got me pegged right in the middle of the first round. I know I could move three or four spots in either direction, but I'm happy with where I'm projected right now. I know Kansas City is real interested in me and they pick right in that area.

Now, I'm just continuing my preparations here. We've got pro day here in Lincoln this week, where scouts and coaches will come in to see all the Nebraska guys work out. I'm staying with my brother in Omaha and working out in Lincoln or at UNO. The IMG people printed out everything I was doing down there, so I'll be on the same program. I'm in constant contact with my agents, so they'll keep me posted if teams want to fly me in for individual workouts or interviews. I'll probably have several of those in the next month before the draft.


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