Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer
Stephane Nembot talks to his mother every week, but he has never told anyone in his family back in Cameroon that he is preparing for the NFL draft.
“I just tell them I’m looking for a job,” Nembot said. “Technically, that’s true.”
The former Colorado offensive lineman doesn’t want to get anyone’s hopes up back home until he actually makes a roster. But if what he’s doing right now is any indication, he won’t have trouble finding a job.
Nembot and six of his CU teammates took part in the annual pro timing day Wednesday at the new indoor practice facility as they tried to impress 24 scouts from 17 NFL teams.
Along with Nembot, receiver Nelson Spruce, cornerback Kenneth Crawley, safety Jered Bell, running back Christian Powell, fullback Jordan Murphy and long snapper Wyatt Smith worked out for scouts.
Viewed as a project because of his limited football experience, Nembot has the eyes of scouts because he is tremendously athletic for a 6-foot-6, 312-pound man. He was impressive in Wednesday’s workout, showing off his technique in drills and running a solid 5.22 seconds in the 40-yard sprint.
“He’s a physical specimen,” said Robert Couch, an assistant offensive line coach for the Cincinnati Bengals. “I think he did even better (than at last month’s NFL combine). He’s getting better and better as time goes by.”
Nembot, who graduated from CU in December, believes he has improved dramatically since the end of last season, working with former Buffs lineman Matt McChesney on his technique and with performance coach Loren Landow on explosion.
“All I have to do is eat, sleep, breathe football,” Nembot said. “From 5 (a.m.) to 7 p.m., all I have to do is football. That’s your job. That’s your living. You’re definitely getting better.”
Nembot said the NFL combine in Indianapolis last month was stressful because of all the medical testing, but said he’s enjoying the process as he prepares for next month’s draft.
“It’s a privilege just to know that somebody is looking at you,” Nembot said. “Even if you don’t make it, at last you know you had a chance. Not many have or had the opportunity that I’m having right now.”
Couch believes that with an opportunity to work full-time on the game, Nembot can become a good player.
“We have unlimited time in the NFL,” Couch said. “If he’s willing to work, he can be anything he wanted to be. He has the things that you cannot teach.
“There’s no doubt he’s a draftable player. Somebody will take a shot at him.”
Somebody is likely to take a shot at Spruce, too. The Pac-12 and CU all-time leader in receptions, Spruce ran the 40-yard dash in 4.56 seconds on Wednesday, much better than the 4.69 he ran at the combine.
“It was really important,” Spruce said. “That was the one thing coming out of Indy that I was kind of disappointed with.”
Spruce also had an opportunity to run routes and catch passes from NFL quarterback Ryan Lindley, who shares an agent with Spruce.
“I think that’s my strength, my route running and my hands, so I was happy I got to show a little bit more of that,” Spruce said.
Crawley, who also participated in the combine, did not run the 40, but was pleased with how he did in shuttle and three-cone drills.
“I’ve been feeling confident,” Crawley said. “I know what I can do and I know I’m a great player. I’m ready to play on the next level.”
The other Buffs are long shots to get drafted, but among them, Bell turned some heads. He was impressive physically, especially with 20 reps on the 225-pound bench press and a 4.46 in the 40. A couple of scouts requested contact information from Bell.
“I was encouraged by that,” he said. “I wanted to come out here and prove the doubters wrong. They didn’t think I could run still after two (injured) ACLs, but I just wanted to show them I can.
“I’m going to go home happy.”