NFL Draft Profile: Aaron Winchester

Trevi Alickolli, Sports Editor

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The National Football League draft process can be a long, grueling process; just ask Aaron Winchester, who in preparation of getting drafted and realizing his NFL dreams, is training seven days a week, flying back and forth to Georgia from Connecticut every weekend and all while still trying to earn his college degree in Technology Management.

“It’s a grind, seven days a week, but this is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Winchester said. “To be honest, if I said I saw myself doing this I’d be lying to you, but the fact that it’s here and I’m working for it, I feel like I’m living a dream.”

Winchester has put himself in a position to reach the NFL after a breakout season at Central Connecticut State after arriving as a graduate-transfer last spring.

During his four year career at Georgia State, Winchester appeared in 15 games and started only three games. He completed 61 passes for 721 yards while also rushing for 405 yards. Despite only playing in a limited role and serving as a backup for most of his career, Winchester was elected as a captain.

In his lone season as a Blue Devil, Winchester continued to be himself, was elected captain only a few weeks after arriving and led his new team to a Northeast Conference Championship. He said that he believes that he showed NFL teams he can be a leader of men in the future.

Winchester said that being a leader used to put a little extra pressure on him, but by now he is used to it.

“It used to, but as I got more comfortable, as I learned more and more who I am, I think it’s just become who I am at this point,” Winchester said. “I don’t have to act, say certain things at certain times, now it’s just me being myself. I think that’s what people get attracted to the most, authenticity and being real.”

“I’ve always been that type of guy ever since a young age,” Winchester said. “In Little League, I was always that guy that was chosen to pick teams, so I always knew I had that type of ability. With that, I know that if I’m going to have that role, that responsibility, I know that I can’t do dumb stuff. Knowing that there are people that look up to me lead, I don’t take that lightly and I think that attribute can carry me a long way.”

Winchester is a leader off the field but he is also one on the field.

He finished his one and only season with Central with completing 65% of his passes for 2,549 yards and 19 touchdowns.

He also added a different dynamic to the Blue Devils offense that has not been there in previous years with his legs. He led the team with 843 rushing yards and nine touchdowns.

Winchester earned NEC Player Of The Year Honors for his performances.

Since the season concluded with a tough loss against the University of Albany in the Football Championship Subdivision, the life of an NFL Draft progress has not been easy.

“It’s been up and down, the big thing is the mental aspect of it,” Winchester said.

Luckily for him, Winchester said that he has had some great mentors to lead him through uncharted territory.

“[Wide reciever] Penny Hart was my college roommate [at Georgia State], he’s with the [Seattle] Seahawks now so he’s been around through the whole process,” Winchester said.

Detriot Lions quarterback Kyle Sloter has also been helpful to Winchester. They went to high school together and Winchester said he has helped him with how to deal with the business side of things like the agents among other things.

Winchester signed with a Detroit Based VIP Sports Management agency and agent Paul Bobbitt, who also represents Baltimore Ravens running back Mark Ingram among others.

Besides the agent hiring process, the speed of the game and knowledge of the next level is a challenge for any new pro going into the NFL. Winchester is prepared for that challenge.

“I know I’m a sponge, I’m not afraid to ask questions,” Winchester said. “Some guys at that level think ‘maybe if I ask this question I’ll look dumb,’ I don’t care, if I don’t know, I’m asking.”

“Having Penny [Hart] helped a lot in that aspect too because I was able to see some of his practice film and get a little bit of a feel for it,” Winchester said.

As Winchester is sharpening every aspect of his game, he said that he had a good season, but he is nowhere near a finished product as a quarterback, something that he believes is very attractive to NFL teams.

Going forward, Winchester will take part in Georgia State University’s Pro Day on March 10 and is also working to get into Yale University’s Pro Day, hoping to further boost his draft stock and impress teams.

Regardless of what happens in the future, Winchester is hopeful but is not stressing the process.

“Being in this position is a blessing, if it doesn’t happen then it doesn’t happen, if it’s meant to be, it’ll be, I’m not really stressing it too much,” Winchester said. “I’m just staying locked in on the vision and controlling what I can control.”

The NFL draft will take place Apr. 23-25 and until then, the Blue Devils have to remain patient and see if they can go back-to-back years getting a quarterback in the NFL.