In one of the drills he participated in at the Stony Brook University pro day on Monday, Victor Ochi was asked to explode from a position on all fours to hit a blocking pad held by a scout. When he did, the scout holding the bag was thrown almost 10 yards backward — nearly knocked on his backside.
“I wasn’t expecting that,” the scout said with a laugh as he gathered himself.
Judging by the chuckles from the other observers, they weren’t, either.
About the only one who might have been expecting it was Ochi, the defensive end/linebacker on a journey to become the first Stony Brook player to be drafted by an NFL team. Ochi has bowled over scouts for the past year. On Monday, he did so literally.
“They thought I was undersized,” he said of the perception that some teams have of him as they decide whether or when they will select him in the April 28-30 NFL Draft.
His display in that one powerful drill, at least, might help him erase that label.
“I want to prove a lot of people wrong,” he said.
The pro day, attended by representatives of 15 NFL teams, including the Giants and the Jets, was a showcase for Ochi and 11 other college players who otherwise might never get to perform in front of pro scouts. Stony Brook hosted the event, and players from Marist, Columbia, Wagner, LIU Post, Cornell and Colgate participated. Four players from Stony Brook participated in the event.
The headliner, though, was Ochi. He weighed in at 250 pounds, slightly heavier than the 246 he weighed at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis last month. He tallied 22 bench presses after passing on that drill at the Combine. He did not run the 40-yard dash Monday, allowing his 4.86 in Indianapolis to stand.
What he did do was display his ability to move in space. A decorated pass rusher in college, he’s had to prove to NFL teams that might eye him as a linebacker in a 3-4 scheme that he can drop back into coverage if needed.
Ochi said he has “vastly” improved at that skill since the Combine, but he still looks much more comfortable moving forward as opposed to backward.
The next phase will be visits with teams; he will meet with the Cardinals in Arizona next week and is setting up meetings with the Titans and Jets. Then he will wait.
The expectation is that he could be selected anywhere from the fifth to seventh round, but if teams feel the need to add a pass-rushing specialist, he could go earlier. He also could go undrafted, in which case he would sign with a team as a free agent.
That’s in the future. Monday was about the present — about giving scouts one more glimpse of what he might offer.
“I feel like we made some progress today,” Ochi said. “It was a positive day. I’m happy. I’m not satisfied, but I’m happy. I didn’t feel like I took any steps back.”
Only the scout holding the blocking bag did.
Notes & quotes: Stony Brook defensive back Naim Cheeseboro said he will be at the Giants’ workout for local players on April 8 . . . Giants tight end Will Tye, who played at Stony Brook and was a participant in last year’s pro day on the very same field, was in attendance to offer support to this year’s crop of Seawolves . . . Tight end Sean Binckes and offensive lineman Mike Sollenne (Massapequa) participated from LIU Post.