Yes, we're in the middle of March Madness - I get it. Still, I'm not going to abandon football completely and with about a week in between games, this is actually a good time to get some football talk in.
When I first heard about Henry Hynoski heading to the NFL Draft a year early, I was a little conflicted. He had a total of 33 rushing yards - for the season. And while there aren't a lot of NFL caliber fullbacks in college, I still thought he could use some work. But I also mentioned at the time that his stock might not improve all that much.
So several weeks and one NFL Combine later, hynoski's status is a little murky.
ProFootballTalk.com not only states the obvious - that Hynoski left early because of Pitt moving from a pro set offense to a 'spread' - but also calls him the Draft's top-rated fullback. ESPN.com disagrees, though, not even putting Hynoski in their top five (must be Insider), so you obviously have to take these things with a grain of salt.
Hynoski was at the combine, but couldn't participate in all the drills because of a pulled hamstring, but it didn't seem to matter all that much:
"When I pulled my hamstring, I was just upset I couldn’t finish the drills," Hynoski said. "I pulled my hamstring at the 28-yard line. After the 40-yard dash, I wasn’t able to do the positional drills. I was highly disappointed; I don’t have a 40-yard dash time, I don’t have shuttle times and I didn’t get to show off my skills as a fullback."
What he quickly found out, was that it wouldn’t matter to the scouts and groups of NFL executives in attendance. Just as he had learned in his early impressions of the combine, this whole thing is all more mental than it is physical—everything from how the daily schedules are set up, the mental maturity to takes to go through the NFL Combine, and especially meeting with a handful of coaches, general managers and player personnel directors.
Hynoski met with nearly NFL team during that respective session of the Combine. Only one team asked about his 40 time. Even in that instance it was simply a formality.
"It didn’t seem like a major concern," Hynoski said. "The scouts talked to me about being the top fullback on their board. They said I do a lot of things, I’m very versatile and I’m a tough guy. They said I do all things they’re looking for; running, blocking, catching the ball out of the backfield.
(By the way, that article gives a pretty good idea of what Hynoski went through at the combine).
I still don't know where he'll be drafted or even if he'll be drafted. The one thing I do understand a little more is his decision to leave. Tough to justify sticking around for new coaches and a new system if you don't think it will benefit you. Personally, I think Hynoski could have played in the system. He was utilized a lot as a pass-catcher and Graham would have been foolish not to use him in that regard. But who can tell if his stock would have really improved all that much.