Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Frank displays versatility at UConn pro day

Considering all the different position groups Reuben Frank was working with at yesterday's pro day at UConn, I was fully expecting Reuben Frank to be asked to attempt a 50-yard field goal or start taking five-step drops alongside Chandler Whitmer.

Frank, who started at 12 games as a senior at defensive end or outside linebacker as a senior, worked alongside fellow defensive linemen B.J. McBryde and Angelo Pruitt. However, a few NFL teams did their homework and realized that Frank began his career at UConn as a fullback, so they wanted to see him get some offensive work in. There was one problem, there were no running backs among the nine former Huskies working out for the pro scouts so Frank ended up doing drills along with receivers Geremy Davis and Deshon Foxx. Seeing Frank race 50 yards downfield to snare a pass from Whitmer with ease, it might have surprised some onlookers to hear that this was a starting collegiate defensive end and not a receiver or tight end catching pass after pass.

"They wanted me to play some offense because a couple of coaches wanted to see me play fullback, how I moved at fullback, how I could catch, if I could run," Frank said. "I played three different positions here so I am willing to do anything, I am not going to say 'no I don't want to do this.'

"I was willing to go straight from the offensive drills straight to the defensive drills without complaining or 'Coach, I don't know I can do it anymore.' The coaches said 'don't gas yourself, don't hurt yourself' but I am willing to do anything. I will die out here before I would walk away from somebody who wants to talk to me. I just want an opportunity."

Frank had strong showings in the workouts as well. He had 24 reps at 225 pounds in the bench press. As a point of reference, of the 30 running backs who did the bench at the NFL combine, only five topped that number. His 33 1/2 vertical leap matches what Miami's Duke Johnson did at the combine and was equal or better than 13 of the 32 players at the combine even though he is 20, 30 and perhaps 40 pounds heavier than some of those players.

Frank's upbeat approach to pro day is hardly a surprise to anybody who knows him.

"He doesn't look at anything negatively," said McBryde, Frank's former roommate. "He might say something . I may walk into the room and say 'workouts were crazy.' But no. Pretty soon the closer we got to pro day, it is not when I run this, when I bench this, when I finish with this time. It is 'I ran this time. I benched this many. I jumped this. I sprinted this.' It wasn't that we got through the drills, we finished the drills. We worked hard, we pushed ourselves. Reuben helped me a lot."

Frank was just grateful for the opportunity to work out in front of scouts and coaches from 29 NFL teams.

"You only have one shot at it and doing your best is all you can really do," Frank said. "I have been here for five years and played a lot of different positions so I just showcased that. I am willing to do anything in order to get the chance.

"It felt good. I dropped two balls but once I got warmed up I was good. It felt good to be out here with the teammates supporting me, everybody watching me so I could showcase to everybody. It is a dream of a lifetime and I really appreciate the opportunity I got today."

Perhaps nothing made Frank happier than to see Anthony Sherman, the starting fullback of the Kansas City Chiefs in attendance. Sherman was UConn's starting fullback when Frank was redshirting back during the 2010 season. He learned so much about playing the position as well as the work ethic it takes to succeed from Sherman.

"It was good to see him and have his support," Frank said.

Sherman is going into his fifth season in the NFL. The Pro Football Focus site, which breaks down every play in every game to rate players, said Sherman was the best blocking fullback in the NFL last season so who better to give an opinion on how Frank looked during offensive drills than Sherman?
"I always watch (UConn games) when I can on TV and he did great," Sherman said. "He did both defense and offense. I joked with him that you could do (both). The more you can do in the NFL the better chance you can keep a job or get a job. You see him out here and doing his thing."



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home