FAU Football: 11 former Owls participate in FAU’s 2022 Pro Day

Representatives of 20 NFL Teams were present to watch players undergo a series of athletic tests.


Eston Parker III

Photo of #24 cornerback Zyon Gilbert (center) surrounded by teammates competing with him on Pro Day.

Cameron Priester, Staff Writer

On Thursday morning, 11 former Owls showcased their talents in FAU’s annual Pro Day workout. Representatives from 20 NFL teams watched the players go through a series of athletic tests including the 40-yard dash, bench press, and vertical jump followed by a set of position-specific drills. 

“This is part of the dream of getting to play in the NFL,” said head coach Willie Taggart. “As a coach, it’s our job to help these young men reach their goals and aspirations, it’s awesome to watch them go do that.”

Cornerback Zyon Gilbert continued to improve his draft stock, recording the fastest 40-yard dash time of the day at 4.48 seconds and the best vertical jump at 40 inches. 

“Looking at [Gilbert], you can tell he’s been putting in the work this offseason, his body has changed tremendously,” said Taggart. “It’s gratifying as a coach to see him put in the work and come out and accomplish what he wanted to today.”

Gilbert, who became the third Owl to declare for the draft with his announcement last December, finished last season with 34 tackles and two interceptions.

Despite battling injuries throughout the 2021 season, linebacker Caliph Brice turned heads during his workout. Brice recorded a 37.5-inch vertical jump and a 4.5-second 40-yard dash, the fastest time among the linebackers.

“[Brice has] been through so much and put in so much work to overcome it this offseason, now we are seeing the results,” Taggart said. “He did a good job bench pressing and ran a good time in the 40, if you do those well that helps you big time.” 

Tight end John Mitchell added to his productive senior season with a solid Pro Day workout. Mitchell, who finished last season with 19 receptions for 257 yards and four touchdowns, recorded a 4.59-second 40-yard dash and a vertical jump of 36.5 inches. 

Despite only playing in five games last season due to injury, tight end Zaire Mitchell-Paden participated in Pro Day. Mitchell-Paden recorded a 4.84-second 40-yard dash and the second-best bench with 26 reps, behind only offensive lineman Desmond Noel, who recorded 31 reps on the bench press.

Of the 11 participants in Pro Day, nine declared for the 2022 NFL Draft. They look to become the first Owl drafted since 2020 when the Cleveland Browns selected tight end Harrison Bryant. 

The 2022 NFL Draft will be held from April 28 through April 30 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nev., and it will be broadcast on ESPN.

Cameron Priester is a staff writer for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @PriesterCameron.