Boyd, others workout at Pitt Pro Day

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Boyd, others workout at Pitt Pro Day

Jeff Ahearn | Assistant Visual Editor

Jeff Ahearn | Assistant Visual Editor

Jeff Ahearn | Assistant Visual Editor

Jeff Ahearn | Assistant Visual Editor

By Jeremy Tepper / Senior Staff Writer

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With 24 NFL teams in attendance at Pitt football’s Pro Day, a lot of money was at stake for Tyler Boyd.

Boyd — who starred at wide receiver for the Panthers for three years — ran a disappointing 4.58 second 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine earlier this month, souring some on the chances he had to be a first day pick.

Boyd admits he was anxious at the combine, but relaxed on Wednesday at the team’s UPMC Sports Performance Complex in South Side, and the results attest to that. Scouts clocked him at around a 4.45 or 4.47, depending on their stopwatch.

“The big thing is to just go up to the line and just relax, be yourself, don’t be anxious,” Boyd said. “Just relax and make sure you stay fundamentally sound and stay on point on the little things.”

Boyd was one of eight Panthers who participated in the Pro Day, joining Khaynin Mosley-Smith, Artie Rowell, Darryl Render, Lafayette Pitts, David Murphy, J.P. Holtz and Nic Grigsby.

NFL personnel from three-quarters of the league, including teams like the Green Bay Packers, Pittsburgh Steelers and Indianapolis Colts, were in attendance to evaluate these eight players’ prospects of making the leap to the NFL.

Though Boyd only chose to take part in the 40-yard dash, as well as individual workouts with teams, Pitt players had a chance to impress scouts in the bench press, broad jump, vertical leap and various cone drills.

Having not been invited to the NFL Combine, this was defensive tackle Mosley-Smith’s chance to impress teams in the offseason. He admits that he felt pressure, but it’s nothing that he hasn’t dealt with previously.

“We were prepared for the pressure and work well through pressure. Playing football, that’s all it’s about,” Mosley-Smith said. “When you go into a game, there’s going to be a lot of pressure and you’ve got to face adversity and push yourself through it no matter what.”

Mosley-Smith led all participating Panthers in the bench press, pushing up 27 reps of 225 pounds. Rowell, an offensive lineman, was second with 25 reps.

Though Mosley-Smith said 30 reps was his goal, he was pleased with his effort. As each player completed the bench press, they were cheered on by their teammates around the weight room.

“Believe it or not, all of them yelling and screaming helps you put out a couple extra reps,” cornerback Pitts said.

Pitts put up 12 reps, which he was content with. Further, he clocked in at the 4.4 to 4.5 second range in the 40-yard dash. Going into Pro Day, Pitts was focused on having a solid performance in the broad jump and vertical leap, and he was pleased with his numbers — 10 feet 2 inches and 33.5 inches, respectively.

Grigsby, a former Pitt linebacker, was especially impressive in the broad jump and vertical leap, putting up 10 feet 4 inches and 36.5 inches in each drill. Those numbers would have both ranked fourth among linebackers in the NFL Combine.

To best prepare for Pro Day, Mosley-Smith said players must do different workouts that have specific focuses for the drills — like working out the hamstrings for the 40-yard dash.

Though defensive lineman Render said he embraces those different workouts, it didn’t feel like he was conditioning himself for the gridiron.

“The last couple months I’ve been training to be a track runner and a bodybuilder, not a real football player,” Render said. “I really can’t wait to put on the pads again and get out there and really show what I can do on the field.”

Though most of Pro Day is composed of workouts geared toward speed, strength and agility, players did get an opportunity to show their football skills. After the participants completed their drills, NFL scouts pulled some of them aside for workouts.

Notably, Boyd ran a number of routes, in hopes of showcasing his precision and crispness in his routes, as well as catching the ball. In similar drills at the NFL Combine, Boyd was pleased with his performance, though said he improved on it at Pro Day.

“In the field, I knew my craft was pretty much legit, was sharp,” Boyd said. “But I knew I’d go out there and do a little better. Each day I come out on the field I believe I can get better.”

In the time leading up to Pro Day, Holtz trained in Florida at Fit Speed Athletic Performance. Other players, like Mosley-Smith, chose to stay in Pittsburgh.

Upon completion, scouts reached out to players they were interested in or impressed with, exchanging information and laying the groundwork for future visits. Pitts said he has a visit lined up with the Cleveland Browns later this month.

Teams have expressed interest in Pitts as a cornerback, safety and in returning punts or kicks, though he has only played corner during the past two seasons at Pitt. Holtz solely played tight end at Pitt, yet worked out as a fullback for some teams.

No matter the position, Pitts, like his fellow participants, expressed that he just wants a chance with an NFL team.

“Whatever I can do to help, I’m glad, I’m willing to do it,” Pitts said. 

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