Chris Wormley loved the Steelers as a kid, so dinner with the team’s coaching staff and general manager Kevin Colbert on Thursday allowed for one of those brief realizations.
“That was really cool,” Wormley said at Michigan Pro Day on Friday. “You felt like a little kid at some points, but it’s a job interview so you have to be professional.”
Professional is the best description for the versatile 6-5, 298-pound defensive lineman and the reason he could sneak into the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Wormley met with Philadelphia and Carolina and has a visit with Baltimore set up in a few weeks. Those are all teams where Wormley’s style could be a fit.
Wormley could join fellow Michigan defensive end Taco Charlton, who is considered a first-round pick across most mock drafts.
He developed into that professional player while helping Michigan turn around its program under Jim Harbaugh the last two seasons. Wormley could have entered the 2016 NFL Draft after compiling 6.5 sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss in 2015, but he stayed on for a fifth year. He finished with 5.5 sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss in defensive coordinator Don Brown’s scheme. Over the last two seasons, the numbers between Charlton (15.5 sacks, 22 tackles for loss) and Wormley (14.0 sacks, 21 tackles for loss) are close.
Charlton and Wormley answered questions in close proximity and joked back and forth to each other at the Oosterbaan Field House, but it’s clear NFL teams like both, even if the projections vary. It’s all part of a friendly competition, Wormley said.
“I want Taco to get as many sacks as I do,” Wormley said. “He had four more sacks than I did actually, so whoever has the best game or whatever it is through this whole draft process we’re sticking together through the ups and downs.”
Wormley continued the process with that interview opportunity at Pro Day. Wormley ran a 4.82 and a 4.87 in the 40, according to NFL.com.
Wormley’s adaptability will be plus. Keep in mind Wormley was recruited by Brady Hoke and played for three different defensive coordinators in Greg Mattison, D.J. Durkin and Brown. Mattison — a former Ravens defensive coordinator — stayed on the defensive line coach the last seasons.
Wormley seems prepared for what’s next, and Pro Day solidified that. He is continuing draft preparation in Ann Arbor living with his former roommates like defensive tackle Maurice Hurst, who is part of the next potential first-round Michigan tandem with Rashan Gary. Hurst made the decision to stay in school, much like Wormley did last year.
“He’s a do-everything-right guy,” Hurst said. “He’s definitely somebody you want to look up to because he’s doing everything the way it’s supposed to be done, correctly.”
Even if that comes with a moment at dinner with your favorite team as a child. Wormley is still business as usual, the kind of mindset that leads to a long NFL career. He said that realization will start when the first paycheck comes.
Maybe it will come sooner if his name is called in the first round.
“I would like to be a first-rounder,” Wormley said. “I don’t know someone who wouldn’t want to. But a team has to fall in love with you if you want to be a first-round pick.”
Source: Sporting News