LEWISBURG — With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic altering every day schedules and events, it’s hard to imagine the numerous people who have been affected, including NFL Draft prospects around the nation.
For Bucknell punter and fifth-year senior Alex Pechin, he is eyeing ways to stay in shape with gyms being closed due to the global pandemic.
The two-time AP All-American said the shutdown of sports has put a damper on his draft process and he is relying on past experiences to help provide scouts with necessary information.
“The shutdown of sports has personally affected me because I can no longer have workouts with any teams. I have to simply rely on what I have done already in terms of the Shrine Bowl, NFL Combine and pro day. It also makes it much harder to work out because all the fields in school properties are closed and all gyms are closed as well. I just have to make the most of what I have and try to get the most out of at-home workouts and try to punt in any patch of grass that’s big enough,” Pechin said.
The 2019 FCS Punter of the Year averaged 47.3 yards per punt, which is seventh-best in the FCS record books for a single season. It’s also a Patriot League record.
Pechin also made note of something football fans tend to look past when examining the pre-draft process.
“I think one of the biggest things that fans don’t think of are the workouts that happen after the combine. Any teams that are interested will have an individual workout with you. This is much more private and not advertised near to the extent as the combine or the bowl games, so many people overlook this. However, it’s extremely important for any athlete,” Pechin said.
He added that he’s enjoyed the draft process because it’s a chance for him to compete with some of the best athletes in the country and it’s allowed him to be in top-notch facilities.
“Also, I get the chance to talk to extremely knowledgeable coaches about the sport I love. It’s what kids dream about,” Pechin said.
On The Radar
Some scouts will look at a quarterback’s footwork, while others are keeping their eyes on a receiver’s vertical leap.
In Pechin’s case, scouts want to make sure he possesses several positive traits.
“Scouts and coaches are always looking for consistency. They want to be able to rely on the punter to the extent that they know what the punt will be, so the team can properly cover it. On top of this, they look for directional punting and hang time. These are two of the biggest skills that punters can have,” the Bucknell captain said.
This year’s NFL Draft will not take place in Las Vegas as previously scheduled due to the coronavirus. Also, all public events associated with the draft are canceled, which means fans are limited to watching the draft from home or on their mobile devices.
Pechin believes the league will still be able to draw fans to the major event.
“I’m sure that the NFL will still be able to keep fans engaged. They do a great job of allowing fans to be immersed in the experience. I’m guessing they will do some sort of online video that will allow players and coaches to virtually be in the same place at once. It’s going to be unique for sure, but it should be very fun,” he said.