Former Georgia Tech B-back Zach Laskey will be among the invited draft prospects to participate in the Falcons’ combine-style workout at the team’s headquarters in Flowery Branch Tuesday. He is ready to put on a head-turning show.
“I really, really, really want to run a 4.4,” Laskey said, referring to his 40-yard dash time.
It is not an idle daydream. Laskey, who has been training at Explosive Mechanics in Peachtree City, has been dedicated to lowering his times since the end of the season. It showed at Tech’s pro day, when he ran the 40 in 4.58 seconds, had a vertical jump of 35 inches, a broad jump of 10’ 4” and ran the three-cone drill in 6.94 seconds. He said some scouts at the pro day had him under 4.5 in the 40. (Virtually all scouts at a pro day time prospects on their own stopwatches, resulting in a variation on times.)
According to the NFL’s results, the 40 time would have tied for 11th among running backs at the combine, the vertical 15th, the broad jump fifth and the three-cone drill sixth. He has put on another five pounds since the Tech pro day, to get to 230 pounds. In the process, he has made strength and, he said, “and I’m still moving pretty great.” He ended the season around 215 pounds.
He said his trainers purchased the laser timing system used at the combine, and his 10- and 20-yard splits are the same with those he had at the Tech pro day. It’s noteworthy because laser-recorded times are generally considered slightly slower than hand-held times, which is how he was timed at the Tech pro day. Hence, if his laser times are about the same as his pro-day times, then his hand-held times should be faster than they were at the pro day.
A sub-4.5 time would be attention-getting, certainly. Only three running backs ran under 4.5 at the combine. Laskey faces a variety of challenges in the draft process – among them, playing in an unconventional offense and having one season as the full-time starter (in which he missed time because of injury). However, as the example of wide receiver Darren Waller is demonstrating, if he can show he has the tools, that will go a long way towards aiding his candidacy.
Laskey has shown his worth as a straight-ahead runner, with 851 rushing yards last season on 171 carries and only two yards for loss. However, he caught only six passes and, while B-backs have pass-blocking responsibilities in the offense, the Jackets didn’t throw frequently, of course. If not as a special-teams player, Laskey’s best shot may be as a third-down back, a position in which pass blocking and pass catching weigh heavily.
He has already worked out for the Patriots – who sent running backs coach Ivan Fears to Tech to watch video with him and work him out on the field – and Laskey is hopeful that more private workouts are coming.
Tuesday’s workout with the Falcons, who can invite local prospects to their team facilities for a combine-style test, could help his standing. Other former Tech players, including guard Shaquille Mason, are expected to take part.
“If I could show this in front of some of those higher-ups, that would give me a good opportunity,” Laskey said.