EC’s Kawann Short hopes he’s done enough to land in the first round of NFL draft
By Michael Osipoff email@example.com/@MichaelOsipoff April 24, 2013 9:38PM
Purdue v Ohio State
Updated: May 29, 2013 6:39AM
Kawann Short isn’t stressing — too much.
As the NFL Draft gets under way with Thursday night’s first round, the East Chicago Central and Purdue graduate is relatively comfortable with the position in which he has put himself, secure in his efforts in advance of this important event in his life.
“I did what I needed to do,” Short said. “Of course, I would’ve liked to have done better, but I put it all out there. That’s all you can really ask.”
Short, the second-team All-American and first-team All-Big Ten defensive tackle, has been projected as a late-first round to mid-second round selection in most mock drafts. Since his well-attended personal pro day on March 25 on campus — he was sidelined for the NFL Combine in late February in Indianapolis and Purdue’s pro day on March 1 because of a minor hamstring problem, after he was named the North team’s Most Outstanding Player at the Senior Bowl in late January — he has had individual visits with the Panthers, Cowboys, Broncos and Patriots (those latter two teams picks No. 28 and No. 29, respectively, and both have been mentioned as possible destinations for him), working out for Carolina and New England.
“All the teams say they like you and they all want a piece of you, but it all depends on what they’re looking for,” said Short, who is viewed as more of a three-technique in a 4-3 scheme by some teams and more of a nose in a 3-4 by others. “I don’t know what’s going to happen. I just pray I land in the first round — I feel like I’m a first-round talent. I think I’ve shown teams a lot of good things and what I’m capable of doing.”
NFL evaluators have long liked Short’s combination of size, power and athleticism. Questions, though, have lingered about his consistency, motor and conditioning. But he has answered by trimming down to about 305 pounds, from about the 320 he weighed during his senior season with the Boilermakers, on his 6-foot-3 frame, getting into better shape and improving his diet.
“I got my stamina up, I’m moving at a different pace,” said Short, who spent time training in Orlando and more recently has been doing so with Purdue director of sports performance Duane Carlisle. “I was more agile and finesse in the drills they put in front of me. There was no hard breathing.”
Short had considered leaving Purdue for the professional ranks after his junior season, receiving no worse than a third-round grade from the NFL Draft Advisory Board. His decision to return for his final season — and to complete his degree, graduating in December — is on the verge of paying dividends.
He plans to watch the proceedings from New York on Thursday — and Friday, if necessary — with family members and friends in East Chicago.
“It’s been a long journey, and I’m just excited for this next step,” Short said.