MADISON, Wis. Maybe the 40-yard dash time is relevant for a wide receiver, a running back or a cornerback. At skill positions, breakaway speed can make a difference of millions of dollars.
Former Wisconsin center Travis Frederick harbors no grand illusions about his ability to set the turf on fire with his quick feet. That's why Frederick felt it unnecessary to attempt another 40 during Wisconsin's pro timing day at the McClain Center on Wednesday.
Frederick ran his 40 at the NFL Combine in late February, clocking in at 5.58 seconds, which tied for the second slowest among 48 offensive linemen participating at the event. His response? No big deal.
On Wednesday, he opted to focus on positional work to showcase what he could bring to an offensive line in the NFL rather than what he could not.
"I think that what's important is being able to do the drills and showing that you're athletic and your game film and everything like that," Frederick said. "Running a slow 40 doesn't necessarily mean that you're not that good of an offensive lineman. That just means you don't run a good 40. You don't run a fast 40. I certainly do not run a fast 40."
Frederick said the 10-yard split was a more important barometer for an offensive lineman, and he was happy with his time in that drill Wednesday.
One other drill Frederick declined to participate in at pro day was the bench press. During the Combine, he lifted 215 pounds 21 times a below-average number for offensive linemen. He said he wasn't worried about the number because Wisconsin's workouts focused more on functional strength rather than training to lift a high number of repetitions.
"Often times talking to teams they say, 'OK that's fine,' " Frederick said. " 'We're not looking at your 40. Twenty-one (bench press reps), that's strong enough. We just need to see that you can do something. They'll look at your film and say you're really good at this or this is something that you need to work on. So I think a lot of it comes down to film and how you play and how you fit into their system as a person."
Frederick, a 6-foot-4, 312-pounder from Sharon, Wis., said there is a high probability he could wind up playing guard rather than center, but he believed his versatility would help him stand out as an NFL offensive lineman.
Most NFL draft projections list Frederick as one of the top two centers available, but what that means in terms of draft day selection remains to be seen. CBSSports.com projects Frederick as the No. 2 center in the draft behind Alabama's Barrett Jones and No. 58 prospect overall. NFL.com projects Frederick as a top-75 selection. And NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper lists Frederick as his No. 1 center.
"Obviously everyone hopes to be the best at their position in that class and go as high as they can," Frederick said. "I just want to fit in on a great team and go somewhere where I can play and fit in to hopefully a championship-caliber team."
Frederick said he has modeled his game after former Wisconsin offensive lineman Kevin Zeitler and Baltimore Ravens guard Marshall Yanda. Zeitler was drafted in the first round last year by the Cincinnati Bengals and was in attendance Wednesday for UW's pro day.
In addition to Frederick's brute force, he hopes his intelligence can help set him apart from other players at his position as the draft approaches. At Wisconsin, he double majored in computer engineering and computer science.
"I think that's something that NFL teams have focused on in my questioning and things like that," Frederick said. "Just trying to see where I fit in there as far as intelligence. Here at Wisconsin, I made a lot of the calls. That changes a little bit in the NFL. You're still making a lot of the run calls and all those things. The quarterbacks are a little bit more involved.
"You have to be able to think quickly and think on your feet because defenses are always switching and changing, and you've got to be able to read it a little more intensely. They definitely want to know if you have that kind of capacity."
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