In the past, there have been some basketball players to make the jump from basketball to football and generally, they have done very well with it as Jimmy Graham, Antonio Gates, and Tony Gonzalez are names that have made the switch. It certainly looks like the same can be said for Baylor’s Rico Gathers.
Gathers, a star basketball player for the Bears who hasn’t played football since high school, decided to declare for the NFL Draft and has been an intriguing athlete for teams ever since. This was more than true on Monday when 24 teams attended his pro day at the New Orleans Saints’ facility, reports NFL Media senior analyst Ian Rapoport.
Gathers made the decision to enter the draft and try his hand at tight end, which isn’t a surprise considering all the success other former basketball players have had at the position. It adds even more intrigue as the tight end position is pretty weak overall this year.
“He’s ready, raw, a blank canvas,” his trainer, Mack Chuilli of Traction Sports Performance in Baton Rouge, La., told NFL.com on Monday. “I think he has the ability to be a star player just because of his size and his skill set. He’s a freak with how big he is and how much muscle he carries. He can run, jump, he’s strong, and he catches it with his hands. Soft hands.”
Baylor football head coach Art Briles attempted to reel Rico Gathers in to play football for the Bears in 2016, but he took his opportunity to head to the NFL. There is the possibility that he will end up as a late-round pick, but there are certainly teams watching him for the simple reason of players like Graham and Gonzalez having success in the NFL.
He had a great career at Baylor and was a rebounding monster. His six-foot-six and 273-pound frame should be enough to at least draw interest from teams this weekend.
He reportedly ran somewhere between a 4.75 and 4.85 seconds in the 40-yard dash, had a 9-7 broad jump and a short shuttle of 4.56 seconds. His fastest 40 time would have been the seventh fastest out of eight tight ends at the NFL Scouting Combine in February.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports