The Collegian
Monday, May 16, 2022

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NFL Draft nears for former Spiders

University of Richmond graduates and former football players Justin Rogers and Martin Parker, have been preparing for the NFL draft, which will take place April 28 to April 30 in New York City.

Parker, a defensive lineman, said the best outcome would be to hear his name called on TV.

"It really doesn't really matter what I wear," he said. " All I need is the opportunity to make it in."

Parker said his greatest assets going into the draft were his motor on the field and his experience playing football.

"You don't meet that many four-year starters at the college level," he said.

Rogers, a cornerback, said he was trying to get drafted anywhere in order to get an opportunity to play.

"The best outcome would be getting drafted," Rogers said. He said being drafted has been his lifelong dream.

Although the draft is approaching, the NFL is currently in the midst of a lockout.

"It's kind of a tough situation [with the lockout] right now, but I feel like they're eventually going to come to an agreement," Rogers said.

He said the lockout has made him feel more obligated to stay in shape and keep training until they reached an agreement, so he would be ready.

Parker said that the lockout was out of his hands and there was nothing he could do about it.

Parker said if his name were called on one of the draft days, he would go into the weight room over the summer and get himself back on the football field after they reached a decision.

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Both players attended the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis from February 23 to March 1.

Parker said that the combine had gone really well and that he had hit all of his personal bests there. It was a great experience, he said.

Rogers said everything was just on a bigger stage at the combine, including the amount of people watching.

Now that the combine has ended, Parker said he would return to regular off-season lifting and would be power-lifting and squatting again.

"You want to bulk your body up, and tone your body up to actually take the impact of playing football now," he said.

Both Parker and Rogers have been training, but in different places - Parker has been training in New York, while Rogers has been training in the Richmond area.

Parker said that former Richmond football players Lawrence Sidbury, Tim Hightower and Paris Lenon, had helped Richmond players get noticed because they had been drafted, made it to the NFL and done what they needed to in order to stay there.

"They give guys like us just a glimpse of hope that ... we can make it to the NFL," Parker said.

Contact reporter Michelle Guerrere at michelle.guerrere@richmond.edu

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