Playing football on the Football Championship Subdivision level, former Georgia Southern cornerback Lavelle Westbrooks became accustomed to being under the watchful microscope of NFL scouts.
This will surely intensify on Tuesday when Westbrooks participates in the NFL Scouting Combine for prospective defensive back draftees. The former Riverdale High standout will be among several defensive backs participating in drills in front of numerous NFL personnel at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
“The one thing you get a lot of playing at a small college if you have NFL potential is several scouts will attend your games,” Westbrooks said. “There are a lot of scouts that know me because I’ve talked to them throughout the season.”
This will be the second time that Westbrooks will get to showcase his skills in front of a large contingent of NFL personnel. Last month, he was a member of the South squad in the annual Senior Bowl game in Mobile. He had a good performance as he made a tackle in the game.
“I was pretty pleased at the way I planned in the Senior Bowl,” Westbrooks said. “I was able to compete all week against players that played at bigger schools. I felt like I belonged in the game with them.”
During the days leading up to the Combine, which will be televised live by the NFL Network, Westbrooks will likely interview with several NFL personnel, including head coaches and general managers.
“I’ve gone through the process before, but this time you get to meet a lot of the higher up guys in the organization,” Westbrooks said. “It is definitely a great experience for you to have.”
The Combine has evolved into a showcase event not only for the players, but also for NFL fans due to live television coverage. The scouting combine is held each February and has more than 900 credentialed media in attendance as well as 330-plus prospects.
“Now we have the banners on the streets, we have NFL Network,” New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick said in a press conference. “This is a huge media event and fan event. It’s really come a long way.”
Especially for players that come from small schools, like Westbrooks.
The NFL Scouting Combine has been described as an “intense, four-day job interview” in advance of the NFL Draft in May, the itinerary for the annual event includes six physical tests: 40-yard dash, 20-yard shuttle run, 225-pound bench press, vertical jump, broad jump and three-cone drill.
In addition to the physical tests, players undergo evaluations and interviews with executives, coaches, scouts and physicians from all 32 of the NFL teams. Of course they take the traditional Wonderlic test that measures their non-physical capabilities.
After finishing up at the Combine, Westbrooks said he will head back to Riverdale to visit with family and friends. Prior to flying out to Indianapolis, Westbrooks spent a few weeks in Arizona working with a personal trainer. He will start preparing for Pro Day at Georgia Southern, which will take place on March 27.
“This is part of the process that you go through to reach your goal,” Westbrooks said. “I’m excited about my opportunity to got to the scouting combine.”