The NFL Combine was “good” and “hard” for former Wake Forest offensive lineman Phil Haynes, and it’s really that simple for the 6-4, 320-pounder.
“Just every day, working your butt off just to impress coaches, that’s what I was doing,” Haynes said.
Haynes did that — though he lamented at least one aspect.
After completing his fifth season as a Deacon with the victory in the Birmingham Bowl, Haynes headed to San Diego to train for the combine. It was there that Haynes suffered a groin injury. It didn’t keep Haynes from participating in the NFL Combine in Indianapolis last week, but it served as a slight hindrance to his performance.
His 40-yard dash time was 5.2 seconds — he was aiming for something around 5.05.
“I got hurt early in January working on the 40, so I was happy to get back to where I was,” Haynes said during a recent Wake Forest spring practice.
Such is the nature of the combine, where mere tenths of seconds can be the difference between being a draft pick and signing as a free agent — or signing at all after the draft, which is April 25-27.
The highlight at the combine for Haynes was in bench press. That’s where Haynes completed 33 repetitions of 225 pounds — the third-best mark of any offensive lineman and sixth-best of any player in Indianapolis.
Haynes was a four-year starter for the Deacons on the offensive line and one of the best singular examples of Wake Forest’s rise from a pair of 3-9 seasons to three straight bowl victories. His draft grade, according to nfl.com, is 5.45 — 12th among offensive line prospects.
Haynes, who graduated from Wake Forest in May, said he is finished with training in San Diego.
“Kinda done training for all those events and stuff, so come back to just get with the coaches to talk football and make sure I have a great understanding of it, work out with the strength coach here,” Haynes said of Wake Forest’s Brandon Hourigan.
Haynes wasn’t the only Deacon in Indianapolis, either.
Receiver Greg Dortch, who left Wake Forest after his redshirt sophomore season, attended the combine and went through interviews, but did not participate in drills. It was reported while he was in Indianapolis that he had a formal meeting with the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots.
Dortch didn’t play in the Deacons’ victory in the Birmingham Bowl because of an injury — it’s not known whether the same injury prevented him from participating in drills.
Haynes and Dortch are both expected to be at Wake Forest’s Pro Day, which is slated for March 20.