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EWU’s Rodgers hopeful when it comes to NFL

Jake Rodgers likes his chances of playing on Sundays.

The former Eastern Washington offensive lineman from Spokane said he’s getting positive feedback from scouts, enough to give him hope of being a late-round selection in the upcoming National Football League draft.

“I definitely feel I have a good chance of at least being picked up as a free agent,” said Rodgers, one of six former Eagles players who participated in EWU’s Pro Day.

The others were linebacker Ronnie Hamlin, wide receiver Cory Mitchell, defensive lineman Andru Pulu and running backs Quincy Forte and Mario Brown.

All-America safety Tevin McDonald was on the schedule, but elected not to take part. He was at the NFL Combine in February and is expected to take part in the pro day in his native Fresno later this month.

Of the marks posted Wednesday, Rodgers had an impressive vertical jump of 301/2 inches. Mitchell and Hamlin had good broad jumps of 10 feet and 9-11, respectively. Brown had the fastest three-cone test with a time of 6.96, and his 40-yard dash times (4.51) and bench-press reps (18) were also considered strong.

Rodgers, a Shadle Park graduate who also played at Washington State, said the pros like his ability to play either guard or tackle, and his awareness of the action around him.

In January, Rodgers played in the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) Collegiate Bowl, less than two weeks after the death of his father, John. The elder Rodgers died three weeks after suffering a heart attack during the Eagles’ season-ending playoff game against Illinois State.

Rodgers said he “could have played better,” but wasn’t in his best shape “after dealing with the death of my dad.”

Among other things, Rodgers said he needs to improve his pad level. The 6-foot-6, 315-pound Rodgers was an FCS All-American and helped the Eagles finish first in the FCS in scoring offense (44.1 per game) and first downs (361 total), second in passing efficiency (163.52), third in total offense (513.4 yards) and second in passing offense (328.2).

Rodgers had the highest game grade on the EWU line during the regular season at 93 percent and led the team in knockdown blocks with 55. He started 18 games in two seasons at Eastern, and another 12 at WSU in 2012.

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