Brian Vogler knows that at the very least, there ought to be a roster spot in the NFL for a proven run blocking tight end who can also pass protect. And if he made a nice career out of doing what he did so well the past three seasons at Alabama, Vogler would be quite happy.
But he views himself as much more than a blocker.
"People's perception is what they see from game and from your film," said Vogler, a Brookstone graduate. "That's your only resume. People have to do some digging and searching to find out what kind of player you are. Some of the scouts have seen what I can do in practice. Having the time off to let my body rest, stay healthy, it sort of got me back to where I was just a couple years ago.
"I sort of came into college as a receiving tight end and over time just molded into the guy who people viewed as sort of a one-dimensional, only a blocker. I sort of had this whole other side of my game that people never got an opportunity to see when I was at Alabama. With these workouts, I finally got a shot to showcase this for people."
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One of his best workouts came at Alabama's pro day when he ran a 4.68 40-yard dash and had a vertical jump of 30 inches and a standing broad jump of 9-feet-6. That's especially impressive considering that Vogler is 6-foot-7, 265 pounds and has a wing span of 6 feet, 10 inches.
Vogler knows his name will not be called Thursday when the first round of the draft is held in Chicago. He's just hoping that it is called sometime before someone learns the distinction of Mr. Irrelevant, the nickname given to the last player selected.
If he's not drafted, Vogler expects to catch on with somebody and make a roster and contribute, as Carver High's Isaiah Crowell did last year with the Cleveland Browns.
"Obviously, I'm hoping I hear my name called whether the second or third day," Vogler said. "It's not a make or break thing for me. I think I'll have a shot. If it's not getting picked up by a team in the draft, then signing as a free agent. The opportunity will be there. Just have to take advantage of it."
Vogler proved himself to be one of the best blocking tight ends in the SEC. It's overlooked that he was seen as a receiving tight end coming out of Brookstone. He showcased his athletic skills on the basketball court. He didn't just dominate inside. He was a threat on the perimeter and could run the floor.
That gradually changed at Alabama. He redshirted then played behind Brad Smelley as a freshman, then behind Michael Williams as a sophomore. But he played a lot and had one of his best games against Georgia in the SEC Championship Game. Vogler said it was not one of his better games as far as technique. But he was going up against one of the best outside linebackers in college football in Jarvis Jones, the Carver graduate. He split time the last two years with O.J. Howard. So Vogler was seldom thrown to. He finished with 17 career catches.
In football jargon, the tight end is referred to as the Y. More and more, teams are looking for tight ends who are threats in the passing game -- New England's Rob Gronkowski, Seattle's Jimmy Graham, Dallas' Jason Witten being considered the best.
Vogler has a theory. The NFL is a trendy league. Using these tight ends in the passing game is exposing the quarterbacks. So the demand now is for more pass-rushers.
"Everybody wants a pass rusher," Vogler said. "Well, you have all these receiving tight ends. Who's going to help out the offensive linemen with these pass rushers? You need a guy who can block and also have the ability to catch the ball. The NFL is all about trends, and right now the trend is pass-rushers, and somebody's got to be there to help out those tackles."
Vogler is tired of waiting to find out about his future.
"Anxious and ready to get it over with," he said. "Ever since we had our pro day, you don't know where you should be training, where you should be hanging out. Bouncing back and forth between Columbus and Tuscaloosa. I'm ready to get it over with and find out what team I'll have an opportunity to play for."
Whether he's drafted or not, Vogler is going to make some team a really good catch.
-- Guerry Clegg is an independent correspondent. You can write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.