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Combine Correspondent: An Encounter With A Fullback Prospect

Posted by Matt Terl on February 25, 2011 – 1:08 pm

Official Redskins Blog NFL Combine correspondent Jordan Beane checks in. This update is especially timely, as it centers on a chance encounter with a fullback prospect — while, over on Redskins.com, Gary Fitzgerald is doing a roster review of fullbacks. That’s some good synergy right there, kids! Enough from me — here’s Beane.

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – In case I haven’t made it abundantly clear, there are a lot of NFL people currently residing in a six block radius of Indianapolis. I’ve only been in town for seven hours and have already run into Kevin Gilbride, Rex Ryan (repeatedly) and scores of lower level NFL types, all with their team logo proudly emblazoned on some article of their clothing. As for the people that they’re all in town to see, the 2011 Combine participants, they’re nowhere to be found. Whether they’re undergoing a battery of tests, studying at the last minute for the Wonderlic test (someone even put together a book to help out prospective draft picks, like they’re taking the SAT’s) or sequestered away in some underground bunker, I’ve yet to see a real NFL draft prospect walking around the streets of Indianapolis. Well, that’s mostly true.

Our 8:26 United flight from Dulles to Indianapolis had the usual cast of characters for a flight to the Midwest. An elderly woman on her way to a church conference, a United employee headed home after an overnight shift. Yet filling out seat 7C was a rather large guy whose intentions in Indianapolis were clearly football related. With a matching grey Pittsburgh Panthers sweatshirt/sweatpants ensemble, the trademark oversized headphones and a backpack with his uniform number on it, I was intrigued to see who this guy was. After doing a little research when we got to the hotel, it turns out our fellow traveler is one (wonderfully named) Henry Hynoski, red-shirt fullback from the University of Pittsburgh.

The Combine means different things to different people. For guys like A.J. Green, Cam Newton and other consensus top picks, the Combine helps cement your first round status as you jockey to get into the top ten. For guys like Hynoski, the Combine can be the difference between a job in the NFL or hoping the skills you learned in your Business-Marketing classes can land you full time employment. So what kind of chance does our friend Mr. Hynoski have of realizing an NFL career?

NFLDraft101 says that Hynoski’ is the “best lead blocker in the draft – a road grader in the mold of Lorenzo Neal” and that he’s a “throwback fullback – a bruiser who does the dirty work.” They goes so far as to rank him their #1 fullback available. Meanwhile Sideline Scouting says that Hynoski “Has a great frame for an NFL fullback”, while his “versatility will appeal to teams.” Yet there are some weaknesses to his game. “Lacks speed” and “essentially no experience running the football (he only had 37 carries in his college career)” are two of problem areas that he’ll have to prove untrue to the scouts and coaches at the Combine. Still his chances seem pretty good that he’ll hear his name called in April, as NFLDraft101 has him going in the 6th round to the Tampa Bay Bucs. However all of that can change here on the turf of Lucas Oil Field.

When announcing his decision to leave school early, Hynoski said, “After a long discussion with my close family members I feel that the current time is my best opportunity to fulfill my life-long dream of entering the NFL Draft.” Getting on the 8:26 United flight to Indianapolis was his first step in achieving that.

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