After taking the Senior Bowl by storm, Adam Trautman seemed right at home at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Having already introduced himself to the pro football world during the annual all-star game in Mobile, Ala., Trautman could worry more about refining the picture teams (and reporters) will paint of him between now and the draft in April.
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Not that he was taking anything for granted. While confident in his abilities after holding his own against prospects from Power 5 college teams at the Senior Bowl, Trautman knows he is not a finished product.
“Every level I’ve played at I’ve been told I wasn’t good enough,” he said. “Coming out of high school, you’re not good enough to play in the (NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision). And then coming out of Dayton, really no one has played in the NFL or been drafted since the ‘70s, so I’m here to keep fighting that, always use that edge and carry it with me.”
The most productive pass-catcher in Flyer football history, Trautman confirmed he has the requisite size to play the position when he measured in at 6-foot-5, 255 pounds at the combine.
Workouts scheduled for Thursday will let him display his athleticism for teams, but he sounded more interested in just improving between now and the draft in April.
That means working with trainers on flexibility and posture while also developing better technique as a run-blocker.
As far as the latter, desire is not a problem, something he will no doubt hope to emphasize when meeting with NFL teams this week.
“Just tying my hands and feet together and repping it over and over again,” he said. “I’d rather control the line of scrimmage and dominate people than catch the ball and score touchdowns and I think that shows up on film. It’s not just lip service.”
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Trautman has received a prospect grade of 6.2 from NFL.com, a number that translates to "good backup who could become a starter."
The site’s Lance Zierlein praised him for his speed for his size and his ability to make tough catches but expressed concern with his stance and initial movements as a run blocker.
That’s not entirely surprising for a player who was a lightly recruited quarterback in the northern part of the southern peninsula of Michigan coming out of high school five years ago, but Trautman still feels like he has come a long way as a blocker.
“I always had the athletic traits, which is why I was able to make the transition from quarterback to tight end, but the physicality was something that was unfamiliar to me,” he said. “And that just came from really taking advantage of every opportunity I had. I had a great offensive coordinator and O-line coach and he gave me all the tools I needed to be successful.”
Trautman specifically praised Dayton offensive coordinator Austin King, who joined the Las Vegas Raiders as an offensive quality control coach earlier this month, for developing him and deploying a pro-style scheme that gave him the opportunity to line up all over the field and do a little bit of everything.
“I’m kind of like a big chess piece,” he said. “And I don’t mind if I’ve got to put my hand in the dirt 90 percent of the game and then the next game 20 percent. Whatever it is, I don’t really care, but I do feel very comfortable flexed out.”
Dozens of Dayton football players have been drafted, but none since Bill Westbeld of Carroll High School in 1977.
Trautman figures to be able to check off that box, and then he will aim to be the first Flyer to play in an NFL regular season game since 1975.
That season Bob DeMarco played for the Los Angeles Rams and Mike Wilson of Wilmington played for the Kansas City Chiefs.
“That would mean the world to me,” he said, noting punter Sean Smith is on the Giants offseason roster after signing a “futures” contract after the season. “Just the amount of time and blood sweat and tears I have for that program, the amount of love I have for that program, I wouldn’t change a thing about where I went to school.”
Bengals coach Zac Taylor got a good look at Trautman while coaching the other team at the Senior Bowl and called him a great player Tuesday.
“Certainly he’s put himself in a position to do well in the NFL,” Taylor said. “He didn’t speak necessarily with our whole staff, he spoke with the position coach. There’s a lot of guys like him that are really great players that will do well for themselves in the draft.”
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