Trey Hendrickson spent the past four seasons feasting on Conference USA quarterbacks.
Now he’s ready for dessert.
Since Hendrickson, the FAU career sacks leader, last took the field as an Owl in December, he focused on preparing for the 2017 NFL Draft, which begins today with the first round only and runs through Saturday. The finishing touches included – the frosting – on his NFL resume came during these last few months at the NFL Scouting Combine and workouts for individual teams.
“This is like the icing on top of the cake,” Hendrickson said. “If you’ve got a good cake and terrible icing, then nobody really likes that cake. I feel like I had a good career at FAU and I want to top it off with an even better presentation, and then I got to do that at the Combine and the East-West Shrine Game.”
NFL draftniks seem to think the latest layer of icing improved Hendrickson’s cake.
Hendrickson so impressed during the January all-star game in St. Petersburg that the Shrine Game named the defensive end its Most Outstanding Defensive Player. His quickness became the subject of many a tweet from the Combine.
Those workouts may have helped Conference USA’s Defensive Player of the Year climb into the second day of the draft. The consensus among NFL draft prognosticators is that Hendrickson will be selected in the third round, which is the final round on Friday, or when the draft resumes on Saturday with the fourth.
“Nothing is set in stone,” Hndrickson said. “I’ll believe it when my name gets called, and whatever team picks me is going to be my new favorite team.”
If Hendrickson has an idea which team will be his new favorite team, he isn’t saying.
He estimates that about 10 different NFL teams worked him out individually or brought him to their headquarters for a visit. Hendrickson says those teams asked him not to reveal their identity and he is complying with their requests.
“That’s the last bit of appreciation I can show, give to these teams, for taking me on visits and working me out,” Hendrickson said. “They asked me to do that and I’m going to stick to it.”
If the draft breaks his way, Hendrickson could surpass D’Joun Smith as the highest drafted player produced by FAU. Indianapolis selected Smith with the first pick of the third round in 2015.
Hendrickson will likely be the only former FAU player drafted this year, but several others have a chance to extend their football careers as undrafted free agents.
Dillon DeBoer moved from tackle to center for his senior season at FAU, but he says many teams have shown interest in moving him to guard.
“They can bring me in and shuffle me around if they want,” DeBoer said.
Defensive tackle Shalom Ogbonda participated in the local team workouts for Miami and Houston, and says that between five and 10 teams have shown some level of interest.
He’s confident some team will give him a shot.
“I’ve heard talk about late round but it’s mostly more undrafted [free agent],” Ogbonda said.
Since the season ended Tyler Cameron added long snapping to his repertoire. The athleticism he showed during FAU’s Pro Day piqued some teams interest in his ability to play a hybrid tight end/fullback role.
And then there’s Dalton Schomp, who led the nation in punting as a junior. Last year his average yards per punt dropped in large part because he didn’t have Ryan Rickel around to handle pooch punting duties.
Schomp showed off his booming leg at a specialist camp in Arizona and says that “five or six” teams are showing interest. Few teams, however, spend a draft pick on a punter, and most teams only carry one punter on their active roster, so there aren’t many openings.
“I’m expecting to be an undrafted free agent. It’s really hard to get drafted as a specialist,” Schomp said. “I’m confident I’ll be getting calls and I’m going to end up signing with some team this weekend.”