Adam Trautman’s statistics in the Senior Bowl were not impressive.
Everything else the University of Dayton tight end did during a week in Mobile, Ala., seems to have been.
“One of the (NFL) people I talked to this week was like, ‘You know what I like about you? Coming out of high school, you’re basically told you weren’t good enough to play at certain schools, and and then you go to Dayton and people were probably telling you you’re not good enough to play in the NFL,’” Trautman recalled. “‘Here you are at the Senior Bowl, and you got kids from’ — he named off the schools of every single tight end there — and he goes, ‘And you’re better than all of them.’”
And what was Trautman’s reaction to that?
Not much else needed to be said after the 6-foot-5, 251-pounder showed what he can do as a blocker and receiver during practices.
“I think I went out and proved absolutely everything for the most part that I needed to,” said Trautman, who caught to passes for the North, a 34-17 winner last Saturday. “The asterisk next to my name about the level of competition, I completely wiped that out. And that’s not gonna be an issue for me anymore.”
While he expected going up against players from Power 5 schools to be more challenging than the FCS teams on Dayton’s schedule, Trautman said that was not really the case.
“Honestly, I didn’t feel too much of a difference,” he said. “I mean they close a little faster, and they’re a little bigger and a little stronger, but I got great movement in the run game as a blocker and I think I showed that I was the best blocking tight end there for sure. And then route-wise, I didn’t feel out of place at all. I just trusted the techniques that I’ve been taught that I’ve practiced so hard.”
Trautman also felt comfortable learning the Detroit Lions scheme, crediting Dayton offensive coordinator Austin King for preparing him with the Flyers’ multiple, pro-style offense, and he was appreciative head coach Rick Chamberlin and others were able to trek down to Mobile to support him during the week.
“That was awesome, especially now,” he said. “I mean, they’re so busy with recruiting and everything and they come and take a full Tuesday and Wednesday and go down there and support me like that meant a lot.
“To be honest, I really enjoyed that. I know they did as well. But I mean, they gave me the opportunity obviously the first place that put me in positions to be successful. So, I guess it’s only right if you pay him back with opportunity to experience something like that.
“Another cool thing: I had like 24 people there. I don’t know if you’ve seen the pictures or anything, but I had a bunch of buddies come down. Some of them drove overnight 11 hours to come see me. I had friends fly from Chicago, drive down from Memphis. My brothers came, too. My parents came. It was awesome. No one else had a fan base like that, honestly. That was so cool.”
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If Trautman had any doubts about himself, they were eliminated early in the week.
“After the first day I could feel it,” he said. “I was like this is not a huge deal. And a few plays into the second practice I felt like I was one better players out there, one of the best players on the field on offense.”
Next up for many prospect draft choices is the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
Although invites have not been officially announced, Trautman seems like a good bet to be there there the last week in February.
If he is, that will present another chance to meet with every team in the league, but this time he will not be doing introductions. His goal is more likely to be cementing himself as one of — if not the — first tight ends to be drafted in April.
He has come a long way since he was a lightly recruited high school quarterback from a small school in northern Michigan, but he says his newfound fame will not change him.
“I have never let it change any of my habits that have gotten me to this point,” he said. “I’m not gonna change because I’m getting more recognition or anything.
“You know what got you to this point and have to stay true to that. That’s what I’ll continue to do while I have this opportunity to continue to play football and do it for hopefully a very long time.”
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