The 2021 NFL Draft class has long been lauded for its talent at the receiver position. In addition to the more recognizable names at the top of the class, this group of pass-catchers includes future contributors that can be found in any of the draft’s seven rounds. One of those sleepers is Western Colorado and University of Charleston product, James Bryant.
When considering a small-school prospect, it is important to gauge their athleticism. This should not be a problem for Bryant. The talented receiver was also a track star in high school and college. He has put up personal bests of 6’7” in the high jump and 46’ in the triple jump. The Western Colorado product has even touched on his experience as a jumper in track translating to high pointing the football.
Training for the NFL Draft is a notoriously stressful process. Bryant has worked hard in the offseason. Training in Gunnison, Colorado, the former Mountaineer has worked with Jarvis Harrod and PBR Sport to hone his athletic testing and on-field performance. While the process understandably weighs on the athletic receiver, he mentioned hard work as a means of escaping the stress: “I just try to stay focused, stay determined and keep working, honestly. Just stay on the field, stay in the weight room and make sure I’m continuing to better myself in any way possible.” What’s more, Bryant has even changed his diet to try “to find any and every way to better [him]self as an athlete and a person.” The dedicated receiver also participated in the 2021 College Gridiron Showcase.
Distinguishing traits that separate a prospect from the rest of the class are crucial for any NFL hopeful. Bryant claims his hands and ability to attack the ball set him apart. Moreover, his mindset as a “hard-working guy that wants to help his team in any way possible” should be music to any coach’s ears. Bryant has stated he respects Jarvis Landry’s and Keenan Allens’ playstyles and models his game after their on-field products.
Success in the NFL can mean any number of things for any number of people. For Bryant, the league is a way for him to help his loved ones and the communities that he holds dear: “The best part of being in the NFL, I feel like, is being able to financially help others.” The receiver who took the time to read to kindergarten classes in Gunnison, Colorado clearly has a humble and admirable drive to succeed and desire to help those around him.
Every year, mid-to-late round picks and even undrafted free agents take the league by storm in one way or another. This year’s late-round steal may be James Bryant, the track scholarship athlete who worked his way to the 2021 NFL Draft.
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