Thrilled to still be in the conversation three weeks out from the NFL Draft on April 27-29, former Silver Creek quarterback Austin Apodaca will spend this evening resting and preparing mentally for a big day tomorrow.
On Thursday, Apodaca will attend the local day with the Denver Broncos, to which a small number of draft prospects from the Denver Metro and surrounding areas have been invited to work out in front of Broncos staff and executives. Even amidst the surreal NLF Draft process, the chance to show his stuff in front of the local professional team he has admired all his life stands out as a moment that Apodaca has dreamt of for a long time.
The local day workout starts at 1 p.m. In the uncertain times leading up to the NFL draft, Apodaca is certain of one thing.
He won't be late.
"This is something I've worked for my entire life," Apodaca said. "Just going to talk to teams and tomorrow going to a workout with an NFL team is kind of crazy. It's something I've always wanted and for it for be happening right in front of my eyes is a crazy deal. Obviously, I'd love to play for any team that will give me a shot but it's really cool to be able to get to work out for the hometown team."
Tomorrow's workout is a position-only workout, which for Apodaca means it will include more throwing, drills and running plays than taking physical measurements. But in terms of physical measurements, Apodaca feels like he has checked all the boxes.
Since he began his draft preparation, the 6-foot-3 Apodaca has put on 12 pounds to get up to 215 pounds. He also runs in the high-4.6, low-4.7 range in the 40-yard dash and has hit lifting, jumping and acceleration marks that rival those of some projected first-round quarterbacks. Apodaca has also received attention on social media after a video surfaced of him hitting 61 mph on a radar gun, a mark that would rival the NFL Combine record.
After playing as part of a dual-quarterback situation in a light-passing offense at the University of New Mexico, Apodaca's potential climb up the prospect rankings has had to include everything possible to supplement a relatively limited body of game film of him throwing the football. He threw for 654 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions on just 98 attempts (54 completions) during his senior season with the Lobos.
"One of my biggest concerns was passing every test," Apodaca said. "For me to hit those numbers was huge for me. Anything in this process I can do that will get me in front of more scouts and more coaches, I've tried to do it. With the radar gun thing, I played in a running offense and didn't get to show off my arm as much so I wanted to show that I could spin it and I could throw it as well as those other top guys."
Apodaca, who declared for the NFL Draft on Dec. 20 following his senior season with the Lobos, auditioned for NFL scouts at the New Mexico pro day on March 9 and has competed in several showcase events since his college career ended. At these events, he has had face-to-face contact with officials from several other NFL franchises including the Jets, Falcons, Broncos, Cowboys, Rams and Bills.
The Silver Creek football program has had between 25-30 players go on to play at the collegiate level and three Division-I signees, but has never had a former player enter the NFL Draft. Whatever happens with Apodaca's NFL Draft bid, just having him in the mix is a big step for the Raptors.
"For our program, what it would say is that if you're good, they'll find you," Silver Creek head football coach Mike Apodaca, who is Austin's father, said. "There's a lot of pressure on kids. Nowadays, sports are a lot different than when I played. There are so many more expectations and things riding on all of it. But this just helps to show that you can have success at any level if you have the talent and put in the work.
"I think it also gives kids hope from Longmont, Colorado, or wherever in Smalltown USA, to keep chasing their dreams and keep working because if you do those things, you never know."