Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Process Can Drain Prospects; Workouts, Waiting Factors That Take Toll on Road to Draft

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Process Can Drain Prospects; Workouts, Waiting Factors That Take Toll on Road to Draft

Article excerpt

Byline: Hays Carlyon

Jaguars tight end Marcedes Lewis still remembers how mentally taxing the draft process was for him eight years later.

Lewis' road as a prospect ended nicely when he was selected with the 28th overall pick in the 2006 draft. Lewis had competed in the Senior Bowl, NFL Scouting Combine and gone through several private workouts in the months leading up to the draft.

"It's the unknown," Lewis said. "You don't know what's going to happen. You're trying to get yourself prepared for what could happen. You're so geeked up the whole time. There's so much anxiety running through your body."

Lewis says the pressure doesn't stop for any player the following offseason after his rookie year. There's always fierce competition to maintain your place on the roster.

Still, for last year's Jaguars draft class, the last few months have been much more enjoyable than the start of 2013. While they realize the opportunity to be a top draft prospect is special, it's also stressful.

"Last year, I spent about six weeks just training for the combine," said left tackle Luke Joeckel, the second-overall pick in 2013. "That's not football. It's not a total waste of time. You're still getting bigger, faster and stronger. Now this year, I'm working on football technique as well as getting bigger and stronger for football. I have an offense, I'm watching film, and it's definitely a huge plus. Last year, I was sitting around waiting."

Strong safety Johnathan Cyprien, the team's second-round selection, said his main focus last offseason was running a great 40-yard dash time and timing well in the shuttle drills. Travel also is a major drawback for prospects as they try to stay in peak shape.

"You're traveling to meet different teams and that keeps you from working out," Cyprien said.

The Jaguars' second-year players also can now focus on a specific training regimen. Cyprien has gained muscle mass from last season. He says that's part of Jaguars strength and conditioning coordinator Tom Myslinski's plan. …

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