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Agent discusses Price’s draft outlook

Price's agent, Bardia Ghahremani, believes that he will likely enter the NFL as an undrafted free agent, although he may get drafted in one of the final rounds. (Northern Review photo/ Grant Pepper)

There once was a man named Don Batchelor, who stood at a recorded 6’3, 225 pounds in 1923. He was a professional football player for the NFL’s Toledo Maroons, playing tackle, and was the first pro player to come out of Ohio Northern University.

For the Maroons, his second NFL team, he played his home games at the long-gone Armory Park in downtown Toledo. It was located on Spielbusch Avenue (where the U.S. District Courthouse now stands), which is just four miles from the childhood home of Devon Price, if you take Cherry Street to I-75.

Batchelor was the first of five Northern football players to turn pro in the 122-year history of the program, and this year, Price will likely be the sixth.

Price’s agent, Bardia Ghahremani, said last week that while Price could potentially get drafted in one of the final rounds, he believes that he will likely begin his NFL career as an undrafted free agent.

Ghahremani says that the NFL scouts he has spoken with are impressed with Price’s speed, as he ran a 4.4-second 40-yard dash in his pro day. However, some scouts are deterred by the fact that Price is from a Division III program.

“If he played at Alabama, he might be a definite draft pick,” Ghahremani said. “But the fact that it’s Ohio Northern, a DIII school- the competition level changes, and everybody looks at that a little bit differently.”

If Price were to be drafted, he would be the first Polar Bear ever to do so. He would also be just the 19th Division III player to be drafted in the past 25 years. Heading into last season, there were just ten Division III players on active NFL rosters, and five on practice squads.

Ghahremani says that if Price is not drafted, then they will sift through free agency options based on the amount of receivers selected by different teams in the draft.

“He will probably have a good post-draft opportunity. We will just have to see how the draft goes before we commit to a team. If a team drafts a number of receivers, it will be highly unlikely [that] that team will be a good landing spot for him,” Ghahremani, who has represented former undrafted Polar Bear pros such as Jamal Robertson and Jason Trusnik, said.

Ghahremani also believes that most teams will view Price as a ‘project,’ of sorts. Due to the lack of training resources at a DIII school like ONU, Price will likely need time to develop physically at the next level.

“On the football side of it, he’s fast, so that’s the thing that everybody notices,” Ghahremani said. “He ran a good 40, so people look at that and go, ‘He’s got the tools to work with, but we have to develop him.’”

“You have to understand, there are not many guys that can run a 4.4. You’ve got guys who might have a lot of production, might be a little bit bigger, but even for guys at Devon’s size, 4.4 is a hard number to hit. The fact that he hit a 4.4 and had a really good workout, that’s the biggest thing. For the NFL teams, he’s got production, he’s got speed, and [they] can work with these tools.”

Ghahremani says that the Rams, Colts, Chargers, Steelers, Jets and Giants have all expressed interest in Price.

In talking with interested NFL scouts, Ghahremani also says that Price’s medical history- which includes the ACL tear last March that nearly kept him off the field this past season- does not concern them.

“Nobody really cares about that because that’s all over; he healed up and he ran well,” Ghahremani said.

However, the ACL tear did impact Price’s exposure during his record-breaking senior season, as ONU did not report Price as a ‘recommended’ player to the National Scouting Bureau before the season’s start because they did not know whether or not he would be healthy enough to play. This meant that he was not on NFL scouts’ lists until Coach Dean Paul alerted Ghahremani of Price midway through the season, and Ghahremani started contacting scouts himself.

“It did hurt him because in the beginning of the season, when team’s called, I think that everybody assumed he would be redshirting,” Ghahremani said. “Teams really didn’t know about him until later in the season. So, the only thing the ACL really did for him was hinder his initial interest. But after we got him out there, got him in the NFLPA game- plus running the 40- he brought himself back up to speed.”

The fact that Price excelled in the special teams unit at ONU will also likely benefit the prospect. Although he was primarily a wideout at Northern, Price set the school record for kickoff return yards and was named first team All-OAC during his senior season as both a receiver and a kick returner.

Ghahremani believes that this proven versatility will add to Price’s resume, as many lesser-known prospects begin their pro careers with an opportunity on special teams (see Robertson, Trusnik).

Ghahremani currently represents Trusnik, a former Polar Bear who will be entering his tenth season in the NFL next fall. While he believes that getting drafted is a unique opportunity, he also knows that the only thing that matters is getting in the door. After that, it all boils down to work ethic.

“It doesn’t matter, honestly. When you’re in, you’re in, and it doesn’t matter how you get in; whether you’re a seventh-round pick or a rookie free agent,” Ghahremani said. “To me, whoever works the hardest stays in. Be the first one in the building and the last one to leave. At the end of the day, coaches notice how hard someone works. That’s why Trusnik is playing nine, ten years now, is because coaches noticed how the young man would show up, and how he would be the last one to leave the building at night. And that’s what you have to bring, because you are coming in from the bottom.”

The NFL Draft will air on ESPN this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Thursday will house round one, Friday rounds 2-3, and Saturday will hold the final four rounds.

The Northern Review will continue to cover Price and his journey to the NFL, with more content coming after the conclusion of the draft.