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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Grigsby on NFL radar after pro day

Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat

The Arizona Wildcats and No. 14 Oklahoma State go head to head in the Valero Alamo Bowl Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2010, at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. The Cowboys rolled to a 36-10 victory.
Mike Christy
Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat The Arizona Wildcats and No. 14 Oklahoma State go head to head in the Valero Alamo Bowl Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2010, at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. The Cowboys rolled to a 36-10 victory.

As Nic Grigsby’s injury-plagued Wildcat career came to a close, it appeared the elusive running back wasn’t going to be hearing his name called on draft day.

Despite his 1,153-yard, 13-touchdown sophomore campaign, Grigsby’s once-promising Arizona career ended with nagging injuries and minimal productivity.

He became foreign to NFL scouts, leaving him uninvited to the NFL Combine and left out of every mock draft on the web.

As he amassed only 197 carries during his last two seasons due to shoulder and ankle injuries, the Whittier, Calif., native had no recent film to show to NFL teams.

Grigsby’s final shot at making a name for himself came on March 12 during Arizona’s pro day, where he had a chance to erase some of his poor play and give himself a realistic shot at finding his way into the league.  

With his future at stake, Grigsby rose to the occasion — literally. He posted an unheard of 43.5-inch vertical leap and ran the 40-yard dash in 4.31 seconds.

“”It was crazy,”” said former Arizona defensive end Brooks Reed. “”That’s good for him, man. He needed to get his name out there somehow, and that’s probably the best way to do it on pro day.””

Grigsby said his plan was to “”steal the show.”” He did more than that — he may have stolen himself an NFL job that once seemed to be out of the realm of possibilities.

In a sport so fixated on measurables and workout times, the 5-foot-11, 202-pound opened up a world of opportunities that could come to light on draft day later this month.

“”People had their doubts about my injuries and all of that, but I showed up on my pro day,”” Grigsby said. “”I knew what I was going to come in and do. I just wanted to prove people wrong and show them what I could do. I think I helped myself out a lot.””

Grigsby said he’s expecting to be selected anywhere from the second to seventh round. His freakish athletic ability caught the attention of a handful of scouts, which led to draft workouts for the Miami Dolphins, Kansas City Chiefs, Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys. The Eagles are most interested in the shifty back, according to Grigsby.

“”They’ve been talking to me nonstop since pro day,”” he said. “”They tell me to imagine being in an offense with LeSean (McCoy), (DeSean Jackson) and Jeremy Maclin. It would be crazy.””

Grigsby’s yet to prove he has the durability to play in the NFL, as he missed 17 of Arizona’s 26 games over the course of his last two seasons. But even though he’s not the most durable back, Grigsby still has the skill set to be productive as an NFL running back.

“”I could see him as like a situational kind of running back. Not every down but like a second-and-long, third-and-long kind of get him out in open space,”” Reed said of Grigsby. “”I could see him maybe returning punts or kickoffs.””

But could Reed see Grigsby playing on the other side of the ball? The Oakland Raiders can. He received a call from Oakland Raiders defensive backs coach and former standout safety Rod Woodson asking Grigsby to work out on Monday at defensive back.

“”He called me and was like, ‘Look Nic, we like your size, your speed and your ability to play and be an athlete and we want to see if we can put you on either side of the ball,'”” Grigsby said on Sunday.

Grigsby played defensive back all throughout high school and said he was even an emergency option for head coach Mike Stoops at Arizona. After playing every down on the offensive side of the ball through college, Grigsby said he’s open to switching to defense.

“”I’ll play anything,”” he said. “”I still get a check. And plus, it might be even better because I would last longer.””

Regardless of what position he might play, Grigsby’s created an opportunity for himself at the next level just when it seemed that his NFL window was closed.

“”Another opportunity to take care of my family, take care of myself, play in the NFL,”” he said. “”People dream about that.””

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