NFL draft | Purdue | Hermanns | Neal

by Ryan

For Grant Hermanns, the hay is in the barn.

The former Purdue offensive tackle spent the winter training for a potential NFL career in Nashville at Boost Performance. Hermanns showed well at Purdue’s pro day last month. Now, he hopes to hear his name called in the NFL draft, which will be April 29-May 1 in Cleveland.

“At the beginning this year, I was hearing that I was a seventh-round pick or a free-agent guy,” said Hermanns. “I probably would go late, if I got drafted at all. But this season actually helped me out quite a bit.”

Hermanns along with defensive tackle Lorenzo Neal and safety Tyler Coyle are the three former Boilermakers who hopes to go late in 2021 draft. Wideout Rondale Moore (first-third round) and linebacker Derrick Barnes (third-fifth round) are virtual locks to be selected.

Hermanns was a team captain in 2019 and 2020 and an anchor at left tackle for three seasons, starting 33 career games. That experience playing vs. high-level competition should serve him well. And his pro day effort also enhanced the stock of Hermanns, an consensus honorable mention All-Big Ten selection last season.

The Albuquerque, N.M., native measured 6-7.5 and weighed 300 pounds at pro day. He had 29 reps on the bench, which is considered good for someone with long arms. Hermanns ran a 4.81 short shuttle and a 7.76 three-cone with a 27-inch vertical leap.

“Well, I got all the measurables,” said Hermanns, who was selected for the East-West Shrine Game. “That just checks that box. They love my athleticism. I can move around and get to the next level. I got quick feet. I can keep up with d-ends. And I think they like how smart I am.”

One area of concern for Hermanns: He suffered knee injuries in 2017 and 2018 that ended each season early. Hermanns says he is A-OK, having played injury-free the last two seasons in starting all 18 of the Boilermakers’ games.

“Hermann’s obviously had multiple ACLs, so that’s probably the biggest thing that worries you with him,” said Yahoo! Sports NFL draft expert Eric Edholm.

But Edholm likes the potential of Hermanns, who could move to right tackle in the NFL … or possibly be a guard.

“He’s got the height, the length that you want to see in a left tackle,” said Edholm. “I only watched one or two games of his games, but he doesn’t seem like a power player to me. He didn’t seem like somebody who could really hold up against those sort of speed to power guys.”

“I know he was a team captain and well-respected. I would guess he probably would be either a late pick or undrafted.”

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Lorenzo Neal seems to be in the same category as Hermanns: Perhaps a late-round draft choice, but likely an undrafted free agent.

A native of Houston whose father was a long-time NFL fullback of the same name, The 6-3, 320-pound Neal started 33 of the 38 games he played as a Boilermaker, making 72 career tackles with 13 TFLs and four sacks. And he was pretty good.

“With Neal, the name doesn’t hurt,” said Edholm. “It’s going to get him some eyes he probably otherwise wouldn’t have gotten. I know he’s got that sort of interesting personality and he’s kind of a fun-loving kid. But he missed a year with a lingering injury.”

Neal arrived on campus as part of Darrell Hazell’s final recruiting class in 2016. And he got on the field early, playing in seven games with four starts as a true freshman. Neal earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors in 2018. He missed the 2019 season recovering from a knee injury suffered in the 2018 season finale at Indiana. And he returned in 2020 and earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors again.

“What he probably has going for him is that it’s not a great year for defensive tackles,” said Edholm. “Some of these Day Three picks at defensive tackle would be undrafted guys in more normal years. He’s got a little bit a little bit of burst, he’s sort of a shorter guy for that spot. I would guess he probably goes undrafted but maybe he sneaks in late.”

The last Boilermaker who could be selected is Tyler Coyle, who like Hermanns and Neal projects as a late-round pick at best. Coyle wowed at Purdue’s pro day after playing in just four games in 2020 following his arrival as a grad transfer from UConn. Coyle was hurt early, and then was miscast as a linebacker. He projects as a safety, where he excelled at UConn.

“His summer grade was 5.61 from National Football Scouting, which is like a third round grade,” said Edholm. “He kind of looked like one of these Troy Apke guys where you think, ‘wow,’ he’s a really well-built, kid. He’s an athlete. He’ll be on a roster.

“It was a little bit of a disappointment that he wasn’t able to come in and do some because even five or six games this year of good play would have been helpful for him.”

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