As the NFL Combines and Pro Day’s are currently going on, Covington High School and Richmond University graduate, Tyler Dressler, is preparing for the next stage of his career, the NFL.
For Dressler to get to the next level, if he hasn’t done so already based on his success while playing for the Richmond Spiders, he has to impress the scouts that will be in attendance at his Richmond Pro Day, which takes place on March 24th at 8:30 a.m. It was originally scheduled for March 25th.
One may ask, what is a Pro Day? The purpose of an NFL Pro Day is for college football players to undergo various testing and showcase their skills via drills in front of scouts or evaluators.
This is part two of a two-part article about Dressler’s career while playing for the Spiders, his memories, his jersey retirement at Covington High School, his path to his Pro Day, and so much more. Part one was in this past Saturday’s edition.
After the (Richmond Spiders) season ended on November 20th, Dressler, took the next month off to just wind down a little bit for himself before getting back into the swing of things with football. One thing athletes need for themselves prior to the NFL Draft, an agent. After taking some time off, Dressler, along with his college head coach, Russ Huesman, talked about finding an agent.
“It was very tough, once you’re done with college football, you’re not their (previous coaches) responsibility anymore. Obviously they’re going to try and help you as much as they can, but their expertise is in college football. Once you transition to the NFL, it’s a completely new game. I was really lucky, my freshman year (at Richmond), there was a senior, Alex Light, once he graduated, he found an agent and went to the NFL and played with the (Green Bay) Packers for two years and went to the Arizona Cardinals for one year. My coach told me to reach out to Alex Light and to get a hold of his agent. I got a hold of him (Light’s agent) and I got a hold of five or six other agents and talked to them all for a while and came to the consensus that this guy (Light’s agent) was the best because he had a Richmond pipeline. There were some guys before me and before Light that signed with this agent as well. This agent has been very successful with small school guys. He got (Alex) Light there. Omar Howard, who played linebacker at Richmond, wound up playing for San Diego (Chargers, now Los Angeles Chargers) for a year. There were some more who ended up playing at the CFL. So he has a really good history of having small school Richmond guys make it to the next level.”
Along with finding an agent, and continuing to prepare for the next level, Dressler, is working on completing his masters degree at Richmond.
“The next problem, was figuring out how to train and do my masters at the same time. I did train at Richmond for a bit, but it wasn’t necessarily the training I needed. It wasn’t working out. My coaches are used to training for college football and not for a combine. I made some phone calls and the guy I am training with now, had a connection with one of my old roommates. He has trained multiple NFL players. The problem was trying to get up here (D.C. area) and finding a place to stay. Currently, I am staying with my old roommates family, who are awesome. They have taken care of me really well. On Tuesday’s, I travel back and forth to Richmond to finish my masters. Once everything fell in place, everything started to smooth out.”
The Richmond Spiders football program has seen 36 players be drafted in the NFL since dating back to the 1940’s. Art Jones, was the first Spiders football player ever to be drafted in 1941 by the Philadelphia Eagles in the second round. The last Spiders football player to be drafted, Dressler, played with, Kyle Lauletta, who was a fourth round selection by the New York Giants in 2018. The odds are there that Dressler can be the 37th NFL Draft selection in Spiders football program history. Dressler, who is from a smaller city of Covington and a small university, has that opportunity to exceed to the next level that this area has not seen since 2009 when Bath County’s, John Phillips, was a sixth round draft pick by the Dallas Cowboys.
“That’s been the voice in my head this entire time. At first, it was, why not me. Why can’t I get a Division 1 scholarship. Once I got that opportunity, it was, why can’t I be a starter. I then got the starting position. Why can’t I be an All-Conference player. I moved there, so it was why can’t I do it again. Why not take that same mentality and keep adding onto it. That’s all I know. I’m a blue-collar guy, I know my roots. I’m from Covington and a lot of people see that as a disadvantage, but I honestly see that as an advantage. Everybody’s doubting me, and the more doubt you have, the more you want to work and the more you want to prove them wrong. You’re not doing it for them, you do it for yourself. It’s not supposed to be you, it’s supposed to be the guys from the big city and who went to the private school or the five-star athletes, those are the guys that are supposed to be there. It’s a sense of urgency to go compete with them guys that a small town kid can do it to. It’ll get you up in the morning and help you on days you don’t want to get out of bed and do a five hour workout. Another part to is, if I can help one kid in the community and inspire them to see that your successful, then they can say why can’t I do it. It’s like with the jersey retirement. It was cool getting the number hung up, but I hope it was more of a message for the kids. It’s more of message to the kids, that it’s about them. It’s to show other kids, it does not matter where you’re from. It may sound cliché, but the whole world is against you and if you really work at something, you will be successful, I can promise you that.”
As the date of the NFL Draft inches closer to April 28-30th, Dressler, currently based on rankings and mock drafts has him on the outside looking. You just never know when it comes to mock drafts from scouts. One scout has a player higher than the other and so forth. Even if he is not drafted, Dressler, is set to be a top priority as a free agent, post NFL Draft.
With a little over three weeks before his Pro Day and on his Pro Day, Dressler, will have the chance to raise his draft stock.
“That’s why I have been training and working so hard. Going to therapy and getting my body right and taken care of while training five hours a day. To get good numbers and get that attention from the scouts on my Pro Day because they can really only help me because a Pro Day at Richmond, is the same thing at Alabama. If your 40 (yard dash) is good at Richmond, it doesn’t matter where you run it.”
Dressler adds on about things he’s doing differently preparing for his Pro Day than he would prior to a college football game, “One of the biggest things is, the NFL is a different game than college. You have to give your body so much more attention and love than it needs compared to college. I’ve been going to chiropractors, physical therapy, massage therapists, yoga sessions, but the load I am putting on myself is tremendous and you have to do those things to take care of your body because if you don’t, you’re not going to be able to perform. You have to be able to operate with that load because when Pro Day comes, you’re refreshed and you feel really good.”
Because there are so many schools, the odds of being drafted in the NFL are a 1.6% chance for college-level players. For the top 32-picks of the NFL Draft (1st round), they’re all locked in. But those that follow, there is no guarantee and they have to rely on a plan B.
“You put all of your marbles in the basket for the NFL, but if it doesn’t work out, I have a great degree from the University of Richmond. Two degrees, a masters and an undergraduate degree. I’ve had a people ask me if I would play in the CFL or USFL and I don’t know if I would. I want to play in the NFL and if it doesn’t work out, I think I may go and hit the rocking chair. It’s a good question, I don’t know. I can’t see the future. I think plan B is relying on my degree and plan A is to play in the NFL”.
Dressler, on if he would ever consider coaching down the line.
“I have (thought about it), but I don’t think I would want to do it. I love coaching, I love being around the football atmosphere, but the only problem is the job stability is absurd. You could be hired for two years and the next year move across the country and end up being fired. It’s really hard on the family. I know what my coaches go through and they get to the facility at 6:00 a.m. and don’t leave until 10:00 p.m. and I don’t know if that’s the lifestyle I want to live. If I want to be a part of football still, I think I would cheer on my alma mater and cheer on local games, but I don’t think coaching is for me.”
A lot of athletes, especially football players, who do not make it to the NFL and even some who do make it for a few years, wind up becoming professional wrestlers and sign with Vince McMahon’s promotion, WWE. Examples; Thomas Pestock, former Arizona Cardinal, that now goes under the ring-name Baron Corbin. Joe Anoa’i, better known as his ring-name, Roman Reigns, a former defensive end at Georgia Tech and spent time with the Minnesota Vikings and Jacksonville Jaguars. William Goldberg, known as Bill Goldberg, a former Atlanta Falcon. And the list goes on. The WWE likes athletes and like to groom them into superstars.
“So believe it or not, I got an email about that from the WWE for a tryout. That’s not for me either, I would have to pass. I saw a YouTube video because I started looking it up some, but their lifestyle is really rough too. When they’re on tour, they’re gone for a long time (roughly 300 days out of the calendar year). That’s another thing, you never really get to see your family. Some of the training can get rigorous. I don’t think I am meant to be off the ground for long periods of time. I don’t think I want to flip off the ropes and land on the ground (ring mat).
For right now, it’s all about March 24th for Dressler and his NFL Pro Day. We wish Dressler the best of luck at his Pro Day and what’s to come in the future. We will have a follow up with Dressler following his Pro Day.