And when you add that to training to be drafted in the NFL, then the stress and excitement levels go even higher.
That’s what former Darlington standout and Florida State punter Shawn Powell has been dealing with since his senior season ended with the Seminoles.
In recent weeks, he has traveled all around the country while attending various workouts, tryouts and other football-related activities.
In the past few months, he has played in the East-West Shrine game; participated in the NFL Combine; traveled to San Diego for training; and worked out for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Today he will leave for Tallahassee for a private workout with the New York Jets as he continues to make his abilities known for the teams in the NFL.
Sound like a whirlwind? It certainly has been for Powell, who sat down for an interview with the RN-T this weekend to discuss the many different developments that are unfolding in his life.
Having an agent
Training for the NFL draft can be stressful enough, and having to deal with teams that are interested can be overwhelming.
Luckily for Powell, he doesn’t have to deal with that. He leaves that part to his agent Glenn Schwartzman.
Schwartzman also represents NFL players Jay Feely, Reggie Hodges, Matt Bosher and Chris Brown.
“He’s got a great (reputation), has a wide variety of clients, and has a lot of connections,” said Powell. “I felt like he gives me the best shot to be successful.
“Being a punter is a specialty, and I felt like he had the best qualifications to help me make sure that I live out my dream.”
Working out for NFL Teams
During these workouts, team doctors will evaluate him and he will show off his punting skills.
For his upcoming workout with the Jets, Special teams Coordinator Mike Westoff will be on hand to get his own look at Powell.
“I’ll be doing basically the same workout I did at the combine,” said Powell. “(Westoff) just wants his own numbers, do it on his clock, and wants to see me do this and that in person. He wants to make sure with his own two eyes that he’s getting the best punter he can find.”
Not the only pro punter in Floyd County
If Powell is selected in the draft or signs with an NFL team, he will be the second punter from Floyd County to currently be in the NFL.
Powell would join former Coosa standout Chris Jones, who played college ball at Carson Newman and was signed by the Dallas Cowboys this past season.
“I’m glad that there’s two of us going in there,” said Powell. “But I just hope he stays with the Cowboys and I go somewhere else because it will be fun to have two guys punting in the NFL (from Floyd County),” said Powell. “It’s good to have two people like that in Rome.”
Attending the NFL Combine
Throughout the years the NFL Combine has grown in popularity, especially among interested fans who like to know a player’s time on the 40-yard dash and other drills.
For Powell, however, the 40-yard dash isn’t exactly what teams are concerned with when looking at a punter.
Instead, the four-day combine had Powell doing all sorts of things. Day 1 was when players do interviews and get to talk to the teams that want to talk to players, and was also a day where they have medical test.
Day 2 features doctors getting with the players and putting them through all sorts of test.
“That was all day, nothing but team doctors,” said Powell. “They pulled and pried on you, looked at all your MRIs and X-rays; they look at everything. They pulled on my back a lot since I had the surgery on it and since I’m a punter I use my lower back a lot.”
Day 3 for Powell was when he actually got to get on the field and show how powerful his leg really is.
“It was a great experience and I kicked the ball well,” added Powell.
Day 4 was a more relaxing day for Powell. It included going to different vendors, like Adidas and Nike, where players receive gear and goodies.
“I left with one bag, and came home with four,” Powell said with a chuckle. “It was crazy, but a really fun experience. I made the most of my opportunity when I got called to punt, and I feel like I did a good job.”
Playing in the East vs. West Shrine game
Powell competed for the East team that fell to West 24-17 in on January 19 in Tropicana Field, home of the Tampa Bay Rays baseball club, in St. Petersburg, Fla.
“It was a lot of fun and I got a lot of exposure,” said Powell.
“I didn’t have the turnout I wanted, but I hit the ball ok but not well by any means,” said Powell. “I got to play with some very good players and the coaches that were there were very hard and strict on us.
“They were hard on us and didn’t give us what we wanted to hear,” he said. “If it was a bad ball they told us it was bad ball. That’s one thing that I really liked and it got me ready for what’s about to happen to me. The coaches are your friends but they let you know when you did something wrong, and that’s what I need and I liked that a lot.”
For the game, that Powell felt like he didn’t kick his best in, his stat line was still pretty impressive. Powell had five punts go for 219 yards, for an average of 43.8 yards per punt, with one touchback and a long of 57.
Looking forward to the draft and beyond
The NFL draft is less than two weeks away, and in the time remaining before then more teams could call on Powell for a private workout.
“My agent has been talking to some teams, but it’s really hit or miss on some teams,” said Powell. “Some teams know what you have and have seen you enough, and some teams are interested but not interested enough to where they are thinking about using a draft pick.
“My agent has told me that many teams are very secretive. So I may get drafted by a team that I may have only spoken to one time, and just because they don’t want everybody to know they’re trying to get. It’s a business and I really don’t know who call my name during the draft, or who will call me up after the draft and pick me up as a free agent.”
Last season only one punter was drafted in all seven rounds of the draft. Most teams wait and sign punters they are interested after the draft.
“It’s all up in the air but I know of a couple of teams that I’ve talked to that I know like me,” he said. “But there could still be some teams out there that I had no reason to think they liked me just because they haven’t talked to me, that may draft me. It’s a big game, and you don’t know what’s going to happen till it actually does happen.”
Powell is certainly excited about the chance he has of getting that phone call and hearing his name in the draft, but at the same time knows that if he doesn’t get drafted, there are still other possibilities.
“I know the position I play. … I’m a punter, and hopefully I’m one of the punters taken if there are some drafted,” he said. “I know if I don’t get drafted, it’s not the end of the world.”
“If I get drafted, I’ll be super happy and living out a dream I’ve always had,” he said, “but the way the game is at my position I may not get drafted. If I don’t get drafted I wont think any less of myself because I know the position I play and I know how it goes. That’s one of the big things I’ve had to learn for myself, that if you don’t get drafted it doesn’t mean you’re not good, it just means that’s the position you play. They usually don’t take punters in the draft.”
If Powell isn’t drafted, it can almost work to his favor. He may not get as much money by signing as a free agent rather than being drafted, but then he can talk to different teams and have a little say about what team he signs with.
“Not being drafted can be a good thing, because then I can pick where I want to go,” Powell said. “My agent talked to me about that, it’s the best of both worlds.