By Saturday night, Elijah McGuire’s dream is expected to come true.
He’s going to officially be an NFL football player.
Experts say that McGuire will be a mid-to-late-round pick in this week’s NFL Draft, which began last night and will end on Saturday in Philadelphia.
McGuire, a standout running back, has earned his place for consideration after a dominant career at UL-Lafayette where he established himself as one of the best players in the history of the Ragin’ Cajuns’ program.
Before that, McGuire, a Houma native, was a shining star at Vandebilt Catholic – one of the most dominant prep football players of the past 20 years.
He said regardless of where he’s picked, he’s going to play as well as he can to try and provide for he and his family.
He said the entire process – the workouts, the interviews and everything else, has been incredible.
“Where I go doesn’t matter,” McGuire said. “I just want an opportunity. I just want a chance to compete. I will play as hard as I can for whoever the team ends up being.”
McGuire is expected to be granted that wish sometime in the next few days.
Scouts say the Houma native is attractive to NFL teams because of his versatility and ability to do multiple things on the field.
At UL-Lafayette, McGuire showed the ability to run both inside and outside, while also possessing an ability to catch the football out of the backfield.
McGuire also can contribute on special teams – either as a return man or as a gunner.
But the reason McGuire isn’t going to be off the board sooner than the mid-to-late-rounds is because of his size.
For a halfback, McGuire is undersized, standing just 5-feet, 11-inches and weighing just north of 200 pounds.
Because of that, there are injury concerns. McGuire missed time in high school with various ailments, and in college, he was more durable, but was beat up throughout his junior and senior seasons.
McGuire said he doesn’t pay attention to that kind of talk, and he’s focused on building his body up to prepare for the grind ahead.
He said he will be happy to be an every-day back or a backup. His plan is to work his way up, regardless of his post-draft situation.
“I’ll make the most of whatever it is,” he said.
Should McGuire go undrafted, his NFL dream will still be fulfilled this weekend. He would then sign with the team of his choosing as an undrafted free agent.
But that is not expected to be the case, as experts have him going in the fifth or sixth rounds of most mock drafts.
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