The NFL Draft is coming and hundreds of prospects are all trying to catch the eye of a general manager, scout, or coach. Between the Scouting Combine this month, the Regional Combines that started last month and will continue into March, as well as individually scheduled Pro Days, former college players are all doing everything they can to raise their draft stock and, hopefully, catch on with a team.
One of those prospects is Eastern Washington Eagles quarterback Kyle Padron, who is looking to make the jump from the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision to the NFL. Padron graduated from Texas football powerhouse Carroll Senior High School (aka Southlake Carroll) in 2009. He then headed to SMU, where he started 21 games over three seasons, racking up a 12-9 record, and led SMU to their first bowl game, and win, since the NCAA "Death Penalty." Padron was named the MVP of the 2009 Hawaii Bowl, as well as named to the "Hawaii Bowl's Tenth Anniversary Team" in 2011.
Following the 2011 season, Padron was granted his release from SMU and transferred to Eastern Washington. In an interesting parallel, Padron would be following former SMU quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell to the red turf of Eastern Washington. Padron also replaced Mitchell at SMU.
In a time share offense with redshirt freshman Vernon Adams, Padron started five games, and appeared in six others. He threw for 2,491 yards with 17 touchdowns and 7 interceptions last year, leading the Eagles to a semifinal appearance in the FCS Playoffs.
In the quarterfinal game against Illinois State December 8, 2012, Padron threw for 358 yards and six touchdowns.
On January 9, Padron announced that he would forego his final year of NCAA eligibility, and declare for the NFL Draft. I asked Padron how he came to that decision:
"I decided to forfeit my last year of eligibility because I feel now is the time for me. I have always wanted to play in the NFL and be apart of the greatest league in professional sports. I felt like I matched up well with the other quarterbacks in my class and though I don’t have a big name or come from a big school, I believe in myself and my ability to fulfill my lifelong goal. I spoke to my family on a few occasions and some close friends and it just got to the point where I was done talking and ready to take that next step to declare myself for the 2013 draft."
After making the decision to declare, Padron actually had to prove his draft eligibility to the NFL. I asked Padron about the specific steps needed to have his name listed on a big board somewhere:
"I had to first inform my coaching staff at Eastern and tell them that I would not be coming back for classes. I spoke to the NFL offices and learned that I needed to fill out some paper work acknowledging that I could not return to school if I changed my mind after the designated date. I also had to submit transcripts from the schools I attended. One from SMU as well as Eastern in my case. They do that to make sure you are eligible to declare. Once I sent all of that information, they confirmed they received it and said I was declared as of January 17."
Finally, I asked Padron about selecting an agent.
"I was fortunate enough to have a friend reach out to some agents for me since I am a small school prospect and not very attractive to big time agencies. I started some talks with a few different agents and met for lunch with a couple. I enjoyed the personal side of the lunches and getting to know the man that would represent me. I wanted an agent who was a family man and had a relationship with Christ like I do. I wanted an agent that I trusted and one that I knew would fight to get me every opportunity possible to make an NFL team whether I am drafted or a free agent. I ended up choosing Drew Pittman who has represented a great number of players in the NFL. He has healthy relationships with every team in the league and knows what it takes to get me there."
A big thank you to Padron for taking the time to answer my questions in the midst of the chaos of getting ready for the NFL Draft. Hopefully we will be able to catch up with him again as he completes his Pro Day and gets ready for the Draft itself in April.