Players working on NFL draft status

Matt Goul

Kent State’s Joshua Cribbs runs the 40-yard dash while NFL scouts timed him during yesterday’s pro football workout in the Kent State Field House.

Credit: Andrew popik

Joshua Cribbs could have to get used to playing as a wide receiver.

For a player who’s not guaranteed to be picked in next month’s NFL Draft, impressing scouts at yesterday’s pro football workout at the Kent State Field House can come in a variety of ways. For Cribbs, a four-year starting quarterback at Kent State, it’s showing he can play another position. For running back David Alston, it’s impressing with his workout numbers.

Cribbs compared the anxiety leading up to yesterday’s workout to getting ready for a game.

“I was visualizing the whole thing. It was hard to sleep,” Cribbs said. “I got up at 6 o’clock and Darrell (Dowery Jr.) called me. We just sat up, waiting to come down here. I had all my clothes on and was doing high knees up the steps. I was just trying to get in the mood and hype myself up. I had to calm myself down. There was a lot of anxiety built up.”

Similar to preparing for a game, yes. But the consequences of success at a workout can differ from a game. Cribbs said his top priority is his family, meaning that is who he’s playing for in the workouts — opposed to 50-plus teammates in a game.

He took passes from Ravens scout, John Fassell, and backup quarterback Daryl Polk. Cribbs made juggling catches and diving catches. He’s gotten pointers from Dowery. Cribbs said he mirrors Dowery’s routes.

Dowery also worked out for scouts, as did safety Abram Elam and other seniors from last season’s Kent State team. Many had to take a written test after the workout. Alston and Elam said the question of “are you a cat or a dog” was the strangest. Both said they answered with dog.

Alston impressed with his 40-yard run, vertical jump and bench press. He ran 40 times of 4.45 and 4.47 yesterday, including a vertical jump of 39.5 inches. Linebacker Eric Mahl bench pressed 225 pounds for a workout-high 28 times. Offensive lineman Chad Bandiera and Alston benched the weight 25 times.

This was Alston’s third workout. He also went to pro days at Pennsylvania and Temple. Alston said he started training for workouts a week into January. He spent about two weeks with Velocity, a sports training facility in Cherry Hill, N.J.

“They teach you how to run against the clock,” Alston said. “That’s their thing, where they teach you all the techniques to shave off time. You practice it over and over again.”

Scouts have told Alston they’re interested in him, he said. His college career was hampered by injuries, including a broken foot in 2003 and ankle problems the year before. Alston said the injuries made him tougher in playing through pain. Although the chances of getting drafted are slim, his chances of making a practice squad or signing with a team as an undrafted free agent are higher.

If he cannot make an NFL squad, Alston said he would consider playing in the Canadian Football League, but not arena football. Cribbs’ rights in the CFL, which already held a draft, are owned by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

“If that didn’t work out, I’d go do something else,” Alston said, “go coach Pee-Wee league football or something.”

Elam has received interest from various teams. He had an individual workout with the Browns last week.

“A lot goes into it with preparation and things,” Elam said. “For a lot of us, our dream is finally in hand. It’s an opportunity to prove to a lot of people you are worthy of making it at the next level.”

Contact assistant sports editor Matt Goul at [email protected].