Drew Forbes is a no-nonsense kind of guy. Maybe that's because offensive linemen — even when they're high-end pro prospects like Forbes is — aren't looking for the spotlight. Heck, they aren't even looking for a flashlight. They could care less.
Or maybe it's the fact that Forbes is a married man, nearly a year strong at this point. Emily, his spouse, made it to as many of his games last fall as she could — including the long road trip to Utah to see SEMO, or Southeast Missouri State as it is officially known, play Weber State in the FCS Playoffs.[divider]
PROSPECTS BY FCS CONFERENCE: The list[divider]
No sir, this homegrown Missouri talent prefers to just brawl. Head down, lunch pail in hand, no frills … the kind of lineman the old-school linemen love and respect. This weekend, Forbes could very likely be only the second SEMO player taken in the draft since 2004, following in the footsteps of his 2017 teammate Kendall Donnerson, who was taken on day three last year. DraftScout.com sees Forbes as a 4th to 6th round type prospect, so Saturday would be the day to focus in on, but his draft stock has been rising for weeks.
"I thought I'd get a combine invite and some sort of postseason bowl game invite, but that never came," Forbes told HERO Sports this week. "It was disappointing to me but I kept working. I knew I wanted to do two Pro Days (SEMO's and Missouri Western's) … I didn't know I'd fly up so quickly after that."
Forbes, who had gone media silent for several weeks at the request of his agent, told HERO Sports this week that he has been on seven visits to meet with NFL teams. He said he could go public with six of them — the Vikings, 49ers, Falcons, Packers, Browns and Jets. He also said he has had workouts with the Lions, Falcons and Cardinals.
So … to say he's been "flying up the charts" may be a bit of an understatement.
Forbes is hardly an unknown quantity at the FCS level, a HERO Sports All-American. He was a cornerstone in upstart SEMO's playoff effort last fall, helping pave the way for talented RB Marquis Terry and the Redhawks' offensive attack. But outside of the FCS ranks, he wasn't well known. The guard prospect had to earn that, and earn it he has.
Forbes modeled his game after former SEMO standout Dan Connolly, another lunch-pail type interior lineman who was an all-conference performer at SEMO before moving on to play mostly with the New England Patriots in the NFL. He was undrafted, but he holds a Super Bowl ring instead of a thin piece of paper proclaiming his draft status.
The meat market stuff went well for Forbes. His top Pro Day numbers included a 40-yard dash time that would have been top five for offensive linemen at the NFL Combine, as well as Top 10 range marks in the bench press, vertical jump and the 3-cone technique. Bottom line? He belonged in Indy for the Combine, and had to wait a month to prove it at two quaint Pro Days … but that's exactly what he did, without all the cameras and hype around.
Maybe it's maturity that has helped Forbes get to this point. He's married, which keeps him grounded. He's at the least heralded position in football as an interior lineman, yet it's a spot where a good one can last 15 years in the league while flashier running backs last five. Oh, and there's that FCS thing … where even though it's Division I football, often the players are virtually ignored, nationally.
It's been a whirlwind experience. Just the team visits alone have been eye-opening.
"I've had some interesting moments, like when I saw Richard Sherman's locker (at San Francisco) and I thought, 'You're not supposed to be here,'" Forbes said. "And seeing Baker Mayfield's locker in Cleveland. When I went on my first visit, I was nervous, but when I was done I couldn't wait for the next one. Each time I've gotten better at it."
There's nothing like being recruited … by NFL teams. Especially when you weren't exactly recruited out of high school by all of the big colleges. Forbes is the poster boy in that department.[divider]
DREW FORBES' DRAFT PROJECTIONS
|4th to 5th round
|NFL.com (Chad Reuter)