The 2020 draft class has been widely considered as one of the deepest and most talented classes we have seen in years.
The two deepest positions this year are the wide receiver and offensive tackle roles.
Headliner names for the offensive tackle class include a variety of Power-5 conference tackles such as Tristan Wirfs, Jedrick Wills Jr, Andrew Thomas, Mekhi Becton, and more. Nonetheless, there is a name in this class that teams will be doing their homework on.
That name is Ball State’s, Danny Pinter.
When it comes to the 6-foot-4, 300-pound lineman, there is more than meets the eye.
Pinter, an Indiana native, raised more eyebrows than one would speculate at the 2020 NFL combine. Pinter surprised some scouts by running a 4.91 40 yard dash, being the second fastest out of all tackles in the class only behind Iowa’s Tristan Wirfs. This dash time is faster than some tight ends, such as the coveted Vanderbilt tight end Jared Pinkney.
Pinter attended John Adams High School in South Bend, Indiana. As the sports editor for the school newspaper, I did a piece on Pinter back in 2014 when he played tight end and defensive end for the Adams Eagles. That piece made the cover of the paper. That being said, I recently reached out to my old classmate and had the privilege of catching up with Danny. I started off by asking how the draft preparation process has been treating him and his family.
When asked about the recent effects of COVID-19 and how it has been affecting him personally, he states: “It’s definitely been a bit crazy. Things have been a bit shaken up with what is going on in the world. Luckily, I still have access to a gym and workouts so from a training sense I’ve been pretty lucky overall.”
It is very safe to say he is and will be well prepared for whoever takes a chance on him, regardless of the coronavirus constraints.
Following Pinters’ more than impressive combine performance, he was named to the NFL’s “All-Combine” team. Some who have paid close attention may have noticed he was listed as a guard, rather than a tackle, on the NFL’s Instagram post.
Pinter measured in at 6-foot-4 1/4 and 306 pounds with 9 1/2-inch hands, 31 7/8-inch arms and a 77 7/8-inch wingspan. He posted a 4.91-second 40-yard dash, 4.62-second short shuttle, 7.76-second 3-cone, 29.5-inch vertical and 9-foot-2 broad jump while doing 24 reps on the bench press. Pinter played tackle at Ball State, but with his speed and size he could turn into a huge problem for defenders at guard when he is sent to pull out for powers, counters, traps, etc. Pinter did confirm to me that that he has been training as if he will be an interior lineman at the next level.
He adds: “Most of them viewed me as either a guard or a center, so that is how I’ve been training.” Scouts may want to exercise all positions for Danny.
As I have stated earlier, the 40-time impressed everyone. Even myself, knowing he was a tight end back in high school when he was my classmate. For being that big and running that fast, this is an unteachable trait that may wow some coaches/scouts. Pinter, on the other hand, knew he could do it.
He noted,”I knew I was in that range, I ran a sub 5 (second) before the combine. But 4.91 was the fastest I had done. So I was definitely happy with it.”
So essentially, this was something he expected, to an extent. Pinter started 6 of 7 games when listed at tight end in 2017 before suffering an injury against Central Michigan thus ending his season. He ended with 6 receptions, 46 yards, 7.7 yards per catch, and 1 touchdown. For the 2018 season, coaches then moved him over to the right tackle. He performed exceptionally well, resulting in Pinter earning the team’s Dave McClain Leadership Award. Pinter completed his career as an ALL-MAC pick, the team’s “most outstanding player”, and started 12 games. Ironically, his tight end days got one final flash as the coaches drew up a play for Pinter that led to him getting a 5-yard receiving touchdown against Central Michigan this past season.
Being an Indiana native, Pinter added, “It was awesome that it was back in Indiana, we had played in Lucas Oil to start the year so it was good to be back there.”
The process for prospects is more than just physical, teams sit you down and ask you questions.
They tend to fool guys into thinking you will get some very weird questions, but in reality, it’s fairly professional stuff. Pinter adds: “I didn’t get any weird questions. The weirdest I got was what would I save if my house caught on fire.”
Also, I asked him a question that I personally had interest in, considering his transformation from tight end.
The question was who would you consider the player you look up to, study, and/or mold your game around?
“Lane Johnson”, he answered. Pinter continued with “When I switched from tight end to tackle I watched a bunch of Lane Johnson from the Eagles. He used to play tight end and he does a good job of using his athleticism so I tried to model some of the things I did after him.”
Pinters’ size, athleticism, footwork, and overall raw talent is something NFL GM’s need to deeply consider this week. The NFL draft will be held virtually on Thursday, April 23rd through Saturday, April 25th. Danny will be back in his hometown, South Bend, watching the draft in quarantine with his family.
This draft has been filled with plenty of smokescreens and interesting quotes from GM’s. One general manager who was kept anonymous told reporter Ian Rapaport that this years’ mock drafts are “more wrong than they have ever been“. Rapaport concluded by saying we could see guys go earlier than expected, so watch out for a name like Pinter to sneak up on draft boards.
The tight end turned tackle believes in hard work and will give that to whichever GM gives him a shot.
His final advice to anyone who looks up to him, whether they are from Adams High School, Ball State, or anyone, in general, would be: “Put everything you have into making your goals a reality. I think hard work is the answer to anything you want to do.”
Pinter has been attached to teams like the Eagles and Rams, and his projection is in between the 4th and 7th-round.
With rumors swirling of teams potentially surprising people this year, be prepared for Danny Pinter to surprise people this weekend.
Pinter will be the steal of the draft at the guard/center position, but until then we all have to wait and see who takes a chance on the South Bend native.
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