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NFL Draft: Arizona DE Reggie Gilbert slims down to improve draftability

Will a team take a chance on him late in this year's Draft?

Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

With the 2016 NFL Draft fast approaching, one former Arizona Wildcats player is doing everything he can to hear his name called on that third day.

Reggie Gilbert, who played exclusively on the defensive line in his college career has transformed his body, and is learning to take on outside linebacker / edge rush responsibilities as opposed to being a three-point stance player moving forward.

"I'm just trying to show them that I'm going to do whatever they need me to do," Gilbert said after Arizona's Pro Day. "I feel like I could be effective inside and outside. It's whatever the team needs me to do. I feel I can be effective either way."

One of the biggest things he's had to do to take on this new role is slim down. After saying that he played at about 270 or 275 pounds during his time at Arizona, Gilbert weighed in at 261 with all the scouts in Tucson.

"I figure somewhere between 250 and 265 is pretty much what all the prototypical D-ends in the NFL are weighing right now," he said of his weight loss.

According to WalterFootball.com, Gilbert ran a 4.79 second 40-yard dash, had a vertical of 33.5 inches, and had a broad jump of 9'6". Gilbert also told us he benched 225 pounds 24 times that day.

His 40 would have been the 8th-best by a defensive lineman at the NFL Combine. His vertical would have been 15th out of 16, and his broad jump and bench press would have been last.

"I was disappointed," Gilbert said of his emotions when he didn't get a Combine invite. "I've been playing football since I was little, and that's something that you just dream of, so it was a bummer that I didn't get to do that."

"In a sense this became my Combine," he added about his preparation for Arizona Pro Day. "So that added a degree of seriousness too."

It seems tough for a guy to learn a new position this quickly, and get drafted at that new position, but that's what he's trying to do.

"No, not really," Gilbert said when asked if he had ever played stand up before. "In 2011 I played stand up a little bit, but nothing too serious. I've done a lot of DB drills as well as D-line drills, so I think I'll be ready for it."

"It was a little different," he explained about the learning curve. "I wouldn't say hard, but I feel like I look pretty decent out there for someone that doesn't have much experience. I feel like I moved pretty well, and I was told that by scouts as well."

Gilbert told me that he expects to get drafted, and we know that he's had at least one visit with the Arizona Cardinals. He also reportedly met with the Chargers and Saints.

Maybe he'll hear his name called in the later rounds of the draft, but I do see him as someone that will have to go in as an undrafted free agent and try to make a team or practice squad. Dan Pettinato is still listed with the Texans, so I could see Gilbert latching on somewhere in a similar fashion to his former Tucson running mate.