The journey to the NFL Draft has already begun for many college prospects, many of whom have already participated in the East-West Shrine game and the Senior Bowl, the first introductory steps of the promotion process that begins in January and continues through the end of April.
The NFL Combine remains circled on draft hopefuls' calendars at the end of February, their best opportunity to relay their mental and physical skills in front of teams interested in their talents. In the meantime, many use the month of February as their big tune-up. In what is normally a time to rest and relax after a grueling season, prospects must keep pushing themselves in preparation.
Redskins right tackle Morgan Moses, the team's 2014 third round pick from the University of Virginia, remembers that feeling, trying to balance finishing school and training along with his other daily responsibilities.
"It was a lot going into it," Moses said on a recent episode of "Redskins Nation." "Obviously I played at UVA and it's a great program, I didn't get to play in the bowl games, so I have a lot of time to prepare. Also I was flying back and forth from Atlanta training and finishing my last two classes because I promised my Mom I'd get my degrees.
"It took a lot, eating right and going to sleep early," he added. "I was going to bed at seven o'clock every night to get the rest because we worked out for six hours a day and it was just mentally pushing through. That's what the combine and the Senior Bowl is about, it's mentally pushing through. You're with the best of the best and you deserve to be there. Be happy for yourself but at the same time it's a business and you have to realize that."
Moses' hard work would eventually pay off. He became the Redskins' second pick after linebacker Trent Murphy and greeted Commissioner Roger Goodell and former Redskins linebacker London Fletcher on the stage after a long wait in the green room.
"The draft process was a long process," Moses said. "When I look back I tell my mom all the time, 'Why did you make me go to the draft?' I just wanted to sit at home with the family and just kind of eat potatoes chips and see how it unfolds, but that was a blessing. I was able to be in the green room in New York and a lot of guys that I played and knew in high school were getting drafted so I was excited for them. Then I was like why is the phone not ringing? Then the 703 number came through and I looked at it and my agent and asked 703, where is that. Coach Gruden, he is always a jokester, he picked up and asked if I was ready to play football. It was a great experience and I enjoyed it. I have pictures of the draft all in my office at home and I look at them all the time."