Former Temple football wide receiver ‘proves’ himself despite low draft buzz

NFL teams haven’t contacted Ventell Bryant yet, but he expects to meet with New York Jets, New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles at their workouts for local players.

Former Temple wide receiver Ventell Bryant runs the 40-yard dash at Temple’s Pro Day on Monday at the Student Training and Recreation Complex. | MICHAEL ZINGRONE / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Ventell Bryant wasn’t invited to the NFL Scouting Combine, and it didn’t upset him.

Bryant is used to being doubted, he said. Despite becoming Temple University’s all-time leader in receptions and receiving yards, Bryant was prepared to prove his doubters wrong at the Owls’ Pro Day on Monday.

“I had to work my whole life,” the former wide receiver said. “I came into Temple 169 pounds and I weighed in [Monday] at 209. Just coming in every day, working as hard as I can, just to showcase what I can do, just to prove myself each and every day.”

Bryant hasn’t garnered much draft buzz after recording 2,444 receiving yards and 173 receptions in four seasons with Temple. CBS Sports ranks Bryant as the 54th-best wide receiver prospect.

“The goals that I set [freshman year], all-time leading receiver in yards and receptions, that’s big in my eyes,” Bryant said. “No one can take that away from me, and I’m just proud that I was able to accomplish that.”

Monday was Bryant’s first opportunity to perform in front of more than 60 scouts since his redshirt-senior season ended in 2018. He ran the 40-yard dash, participated in position drills and other athletic tests at Temple’s Pro Day.

With a chip on his shoulder, Bryant wanted to show his speed despite being 6-foot-3 inches tall, he said. He recorded 4.56 seconds in the 40-yard dash on Monday.

“A lot of people think I’m not fast,” Bryant said. “Even the time for me is good for my size. I feel like people thought I was a little bit slower, I just wanted to come out here and show that I could run good routes and catch with my hands, and I feel like I did that today.”

Former teammate and current New Orleans Saints wide receiver Keith Kirkwood has mentored Bryant throughout the pre-draft process. As Kirkwood did, Bryant plans to sign with a team as an undrafted free agent if he is not picked at the NFL Draft from April 25-27 in Nashville, Tennessee.

“[Kirkwood is] telling me, ‘When you get to the league, it’s gonna be fun, and you’re going to kill it,’” Bryant said. “He stepped in, did his role and that’s all you have to do. Play your role and things will happen well for you.”

Kirkwood made the Saints’ practice squad after training camp and was signed to the active roster in November. Kirkwood made contributions on special teams and scored two touchdowns last season with the Saints.

NFL teams haven’t contacted Bryant but he expects to meet with New York Jets, New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles during their workouts for local college prospects, he said.

“I’m a guy who will come in and work as hard as I can,” Bryant added. “I love the game, I’m a guy who is gonna compete each and every day. … It’s just about getting into the right team that fits best for me.”

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