There was the expected: Brian Price, projected as a first-round pick in April’s NFL Draft.
There was the unexpected: Ben Olson, a year removed from his college football career, more than 800 days removed from his last college pass.
UCLA’s Pro Day had it all on Tuesday afternoon at Pauley Pavilion and Spaulding Field.
Wide receiver Terrence Austin, second on the UCLA list in career all-purpose yardage, doing the 40-yard dash.
Tight end Ryan Moya sprinting from side-to-side in the shuttle run.
Linebacker Kyle Bosworth doing rep after rep on the bench press.
And in the middle of it, Price, who drew approximately 45-50 scouts and is projected as a first-round pick.
Price did not perform in many drills after already completing several at the NFL Combine, but he was certainly the prime cut of this meat market. He was officially measured and participated in individual position drills, forgoing the testing phase.
“It’s a job interview, that’s how you have to approach it,” Price said. “The only two things I control are my attitude and effort. I came out here with a good attitude and willing to give a 100-percent effort. That’s what I did, so the sky is the limit.”
The biggest surprise, other than the sheer magnitude of the event, which many observers said was double the turnout of last year: Bosworth.
After participating in the combine along with Price and cornerback Alterraun Verner, Bosworth still had to test his broad jump, vertical leap and 40-yard dash. The former UCLA linebacker was satisfied with his jump performances, but very pleased with his unofficial 40 time of 4.58 seconds.
“It feels really good to be done,” a relieved Bosworth said. “It’s a long time of waiting – those three months could not have gone by any slower. You feel like you’re training as hard as you can and waiting, waiting, waiting. Luckily I had the combine so I was able to get it done a little bit earlier, kind of have the foundation taken care of. But coming out here was another two weeks of getting specialized. It was definitely intense getting picked and prodded.”
Others impressed as well: Austin ran an unofficial 4.48 40-yard dash, Kyle Bosworth’s brother Korey – who is attempting to switch from defensive end to linebacker during the evaluation process – clocked in at 4.65 seconds, Moya came in at 4.65 seconds and fullback Chane Moline was very pleased with his 4.68.
Offensive lineman Nick Ekbatani had the clear-cut top score on the bench press with 42 repetitions of 225 pounds, followed by fullback Trevor Theriot at 34, Reggie Carter at 31, Korey Bosworth at 26 and tight end Logan Paulsen at 25.
“The goal is to come out and look good running, put up some numbers and keep the dream going,” Moline said. “Hopefully you get picked up by a team and get to keep extending your career. I’ve been playing football since I was nine, ten, so I just want to keep playing.”
And then there was Olson.
The Thousand Oaks High product gave it one more go after his disappointing career ended with a broken foot last season while preparing for UCLA’s Pro Day. He has been throwing extensively in recent weeks, attended UNLV’s Pro Day last weekend and threw to receivers on Tuesday, though he did not do any strength or speed testing.
“I’ve known all along, since last year, that I was going to come out here to this Pro Day and at least throw and see what happens,” Olson said. “You have those milestones in life, those things that you want to accomplish, and luckily enough, I was able to make it out to this one.”
Price is a man of milestones as well.
The Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year had 23.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks while drawing constant double- and triple-teams. With Price’s stock falling in recent weeks, however – at one point, he was projected in the top-15; now most experts project anywhere from pick 28-32 – he understands there is still work to be done before April 22-24.
“I have everything to improve on,” Price said. “I’m not perfect. Everything. Every part of my game needs improvement because I’m not the best…yet.”