The 2020 NFL Draft has been unique in that virtually all pro days for players were cancelled. Yet, many players, especially those fighting to become a late-round selection, needed to find an alternative way to show teams that they were NFL-ready. One of the players in such a position is Holy Cross tight end Derek Mountain, a 6’5″, 250 lb. Senior. Mountain finished the 2019 season with 29 receptions for 413 yards and three touchdowns and is hoping to land on an NFL roster sooner rather than later.
Mountain spoke to Pro Football Magazine about the challenges of conducting a virtual pro day, saying, “the virtual pro day process has been crazy and different from what we expected. All of the quarantine protocol and escalation of the (COVID-19) virus happened really fast. I was expecting to fly home to Philadelphia to participate in Temple’s pro day on Monday, March 16, and I received an email hours before my flight cancelling the pro day altogether.”
With his pro day being cancelled, Mountain was able to recreate a pro day in the Athletic Evolution gym in Woburn, Massachusetts, which is what many of the players have been doing this draft season. “Obviously it is not the same as having a live pro day, but it was the best we could do with the situation,” said Mountain. “We are really confident about my numbers and performance in the virtual pro day.”
As far as all the gyms being closed, that was not an issue for Derek Mountain, who told Pro Football Magazine that he had full access to a gym. “I’m trying to use all this free time to the best of my ability and to make sure I’m as ready as possible when I’m given a chance to play,” Mountain said.
Finding facilities to do fieldwork has been a bit more of a challenge, however. “I’ve been kicked off of multiple local high school fields since I’ve gotten home,” Mountain told us. “I still bounce around locally and there are still a few fields that I haven’t been kicked off of at this time, so I’m still able to get my proper fieldwork in.”
Prospects like Mountain have had to adjust to the circumstances surrounding this year’s draft process, with mostly everything going virtual. And Mountain and others like him are hoping that there’s a team out there willing to take a chance, despite the unique and disadvantageous situations caused by the coronavirus pandemic leading up to the 2020 NFL Draft.
(Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)