Draft process looks different as prospects adapt to new practices

Posted at 9:08 AM, Apr 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-23 09:08:38-04

WXYZ — Joe Bachie and Kenny Willekes are household names for Spartan fans.

Both had outstanding careers as leaders for the Michigan State defense, but as they shifted their focus to the NFL Draft, so too did their mindset.

“Definitely a lot different, no one has even went through this and I doubt anyone’s ever going to go through this again, but I’m answering random phone calls, random numbers that are coming in, and that’s the way I talk to teams now. It’s so different,” linebacker Joe Bachie said.

“Usually wed be going to see teams in person, people in person, work out for them so it’s a little bit different, but like Joe said it’s been nonstop FaceTimes, calls, random numbers you got to pick up, it could be the coach of the Cleveland Browns, just got to be ready at all moments,” edge rusher Kenny Willekes added.

Like all prospects, teams dissect game film and workout videos that can raise questions. One questions raised about Willekes was his athleticism. So he decided to get in front of it with a video dispelling the myths that he may not be as athletic as teams desire.

“Losing pro day, I wanted the ability to go out there and show teams my athletic ability, I’ve always been able to do some weird stuff growing up like the flips and stuff, I thought it’d be something fun to do, we were just messing around in the gym and filmed some of that stuff,” Willekes added.

For Bachie, he’s staying in game shape, but it’s maybe not flips showcasing his athleticism.

“If you want I can record myself shoveling some rocks or pick up some wood, that’s what I’ve been doing for the past week, everyday my dad gets home at 3 o’clock and my dad tells me to out on some work clothes, go outside for 2-3 hours and I’m with my grandpa shoveling,” Bachie added.

Their lifelong dreams are about to be realized, they understand where football lives on the current agenda, but know that we’ll get through this together, and football will return.

“It’s been a long journey, it’s been a lifelong dream so I’m excited for this next week,” Bachie said.

“Still feels kind of surreal, it’s like you’ve been dreaming of it your whole life and it’s kind of becoming reality now,” Willekes added.

Both prospects have been mocked as third to fifth round picks and both will make an impact wherever they’re selected.