Indiana’s Peyton Hendershot had an excellent pro day. The former Hoosier put up a 35.5-inch vertical, 23 reps on the bench press, and a 6.90 in the three-cone. All of those results would have catapulted Hendershot to being one of the top performers at his position at the NFL Scouting Combine. NFL teams are always searching for the dual-threat ability Hendershot possesses at the position, and he has several virtual and top-30 visits on his upcoming calendar.
Hendershot recently spoke exclusively with The Draft Network about his Pro Day results and experience, why playing for three different offensive coordinators at Indiana prepared him for the next level, his favorite route to run, and so much more.
JM: You leave the Hoosiers as the program’s all-time leader in receptions (136) and receiving yards (1,479) at the tight end position. How do you look back on your time spent at Indiana?
PH: I look back on it fondly. I experienced ups and downs just like every other collegiate athlete. I had to figure out some things and it’s par for the course as kids prepare to enter college. I’m still figuring things out but I’m a smarter man and better football player now than I was when I first arrived at Indiana.
Indiana taught me the importance of the finer details, especially in the game of football. I consistently tried to better myself over time. I stayed consistent and kept my head down. I went to work and I got better every year at Indiana. My performance improved with each passing season. I continue to stack good days together. Everything else will take care of itself if you put in the work.
JM: We saw that on tape. You recently had an excellent pro day. You posted a 6.90 in the three-cone, which would have been the best time recorded at the combine for tight ends. You also put up a 35.5-inch vertical and 23 reps on the bench press. You improved your 40 time by running a 4.72. What was your pro day like?
PH: It reinforced the confidence and belief I have in myself. None of those results surprised me. I truly feel like I’m the best all-around tight end in this draft class. I’m the most athletic and versatile tight end available. That makes me the best all-around tight end prospect. Those numbers just further proved that. I’m very confident in my athletic abilities but I know everybody wants to see the testing numbers on paper nowadays. I put in the work but the numbers only mean so much. It’s time to get back to football now.
JM: You’re a football player through and through. The results were terrific. What would you say is your favorite aspect of playing the tight end position?
PH: I love the versatility involved. It’s the most versatile position on the field. We have to understand the protections. We have to block in the running game. We also have to run routes and beat defensive backs one-v-one in coverage. It’s an extremely versatile position at the end of the day. I just love every aspect of it. It asks more of you than any other position on the field.
JM: Speaking of running routes as a pass-catcher, what’s your favorite route to run?
PH: That’s a tough question. I would probably go with an option route. I love having that freedom to do my own thing and beat defenders in coverage. I feel like I have a great feel for football in general, for coverages, and when to sit down in zone coverage. I understand how and when to find the right spots to get in. A certain route might take you out of that zone, and I understand why certain concepts aim to achieve that, but I love the freedom an option route awards me with. It gives me a great feel for the game and who’s around me in coverage. I can always get open with an option route.
JM: It’s a route that allows for a ton of freedom. How did playing in Indiana’s offense help prepare you for the NFL?
PH: I had three different offensive coordinators throughout my time at Indiana. I feel like I had to play different roles under each coordinator. That made me extremely experienced and versatile. Every coordinator was different. They all ran their own variations of the offense. I have a ton of experience due to those situations.
When I get drafted, whatever role my pro team has in mind for me, chances are I’ve seen it and played it before. Whatever I was asked to do, I always did it to the best of my ability. I always put my best foot forward. I’ll be ready for whatever circumstances await me in the NFL.
JM: That’s definitely going to help you going forward. Have you met with many teams throughout this process?
PH: The attendance at my pro day was excellent. I was at the NFL Scouting Combine and had a bunch of formal and informal meetings there. I have a couple of top-30 in-person visits and virtual visits coming up. Some teams are flying out here to work me out in person. It’s going to be an exciting process.
JM: There’s a lot of interest in you and it’s easy to see why. I‘ve really appreciated your time today. In closing, why should a team use one of their draft picks on Peyton Hendershot?
PH: I’m going to have the best career of any tight end in this class. I’m not saying those guys won’t have good careers, but I’m confident we’ll look back and realize I was the best tight end in this draft. The truth will reveal itself in due time. I’m going to put in the work to be recognized as the best tight end of the 2022 class.
I’m going to keep my head down and work throughout the process. I’m going to be charitable and involved in the community. It sounds like a cliche, but I want to be a Tom Brady-type of guy. When you think of an organization, I want people to think of Peyton Hendershot.
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