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Auburn LB Cassanova McKinzy hopes recent injuries don’t derail chance to keep doing what he loves

Scouts haven’t seen Cassanova McKinzy at his best.

McKinzy wasn’t able to do anything other than the bench press last week at the NFL scouting combine. On Monday, he participated in drills and position workouts at Auburn’s pro day, but wasn’t thrilled with his performance.

“I feel like I did alright, I fought through a lot of pain that was my biggest obstacle coming here,” McKinzy said. “I just wanted to show there isn’t a lot that can keep me down.”

As McKinzy was recovering from the grade-two knee sprain that knocked him out of the Birmingham Bowl before halftime, he pulled his hamstring. The combination of the injuries has negatively impacted his mobility.

McKinzy’s 40-yard dash time was an unofficial, hand-timed 4.87 and 4.84. Hand-timed 40-yard dashes are generally a couple tenths slower than electronically timed ones.

“I'd probably have to say that 5.10 — probably because I had to more lateral than just straightforward,” McKinzy said.

McKinzy’s time still would have near the bottom of the linebackers that ran the 40-yard dash at the NFL combine with or without the added time.

The struggles haven’t helped McKinzy’s draft stock with NFLDraftScout.com dropping him from a projected fifth-round pick to an undrafted free agent.

The three-year starter finished his career at Auburn with 263 career tackles with 29.5 for a loss, 8.5 sacks and five forced turnovers (three forced fumbles, two interceptions). He spent most of his time at middle linebacker, but moved to the buck position, a hybrid spot that lines up on the outside, in Will Muschamp’s defense as a senior.

There were bumps on the road, but McKinzy continued to be productive.

“Everything happens for a reason,” McKinzy said a month into the season. “I’m trying to help the team anyway I can, just playing my part and put my heart into it. I know for a fact I’m going to succeed ay anything I do.”

With McKinzy’s profound passion for football, he’s just hoping one NFL team is willing to give him an opportunity.

“I love it,” McKinzy said. “I wish I could keep doing it. It's a process. Like I said, if you love ball, then you love doing everything that consists of ball.”

McKinzy compared his current situation to when he was a senior weighing offers at Woodlawn High School.

“All I wanted was a chance,” McKinzy said. “All I needed was a chance.”