Temple defensive end Zack Mesday could be the longest of long shots, but he refuses to give up, working out twice a day to chase his professional football dream.
He certainly isn’t like most prospects who have had their entire college tuition paid for them. The first thing he would do if he signed a professional contract?
“It would help me pay off my student loans,” he said.
Mesday, who will earn his master’s degree from Temple in May, just completed his last season of eligibility in the fall. It was quite an end to a career that certainly had a bleak beginning.
He attended prep school for a year, walked on at Temple, had two ACL surgeries on his right knee in each of the first two years, changed his position from fullback, finally earned a scholarship in his fifth year and was a key contributor at defensive end last season, his sixth at Temple.
Now he was hoping to catch the eye of NFL personnel at pro days, except the coronavirus changed all of that.
Mesday has been making himself bigger, stronger and faster, but he took a moment to display his frustration on Twitter last Thursday when it was announced that Temple’s pro day has been postponed because of the virus.
It must be noted that the virus got much worse after he sent the tweet. Mesday is smart and wasn’t being insensitive to the coronavirus outbreak. All he wants is the chance to showcase his skills.
But that is on hold because the NFL, like just about every pro league, has suspended in-person visits between teams and draft prospects because of concerns over the coronavirus outbreak, according to the Associated Press.
The draft is scheduled for April 23-25. On Sunday, the CDC recommended that for the next 8 weeks, organizers (whether groups or individuals) cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States. The NFL said on Monday that the draft will still be held April 23-25, but it won’t be in front of a crowd.
Mesday said he was invited next month to a local pro day by the New York Giants. Temple was supposed to have its pro day on Monday, and it was postponed. Based on the CDC recommendation, it’s hard to see any pro days occurring.
If Mesday gets to talk to any pro teams, the biggest positive he can tell them is that he hasn’t had a problem with the knee since the second surgery in 2015. At 6-foot-1 and 245 pounds, he won’t be playing defensive end as a professional. Mesday says teams look at him as an outside linebacker.
This past season, he had 20 tackles, including 6.5 for loss and 4.5 sacks. Nothing eye-popping, but Mesday’s motor is among his strengths.
He said he has also been working on long snapping, to give himself another skill. Mesday says he has been running the 40-yard dash in the low 4.6s to high 4.5s. He said his vertical leap has increased to 36 inches.