Chris Worley's last 12 months have had quite a number of ups and downs, but the now-former Ohio State linebacker is confident that he is in a good place heading into the 2018 NFL Draft.
This time last year, Worley was in the process of making the transition from outside linebacker to middle linebacker following the departure of Raekwon McMillan. Just three games into Ohio State's 2017 season, however, Worley suffered a right foot injury against Army that sidelined him for the next three games, opening the door for Tuf Borland at middle linebacker.
Borland played well inside, and when Worley returned to the lineup, he was moved back outside, where he played the entirety of the 2016 season. That move could end up being a blessing in disguise for the Glenville product, who said Thursday following his pro day that he has proven to NFL teams he is able to play multiple positions at a high level.
"Teams knew that I was versatile, just going from two years ago to this year and playing the positions I played. I also did the same thing at the all-star game I played in," Worley said, referencing his performance in the Shrine Game. "Some guys got hurt on our all-star team and I just bounced around and played all the linebacker positions in that game."
Worley led all players in that game with eight total tackles, including one for loss in a 14-10 loss to the West team. His eight tackles would have been his second-best performance of the season when compared to his senior year stats. Worley collected 11 tackles in a loss to Oklahoma in the second week of the season, but failed to tally more than six in a game the rest of the season.
Worley said he was motivated by not getting an invite to the Senior Bowl, regarded as the top college all-star game, but said now, he is simply motivated by just improving his own game instead of worrying about comparing himself to others.
"I used to think about it. I'd be looking at guys like, 'They can't be serious with this guy. They think he's that good?' After awhile, you just kind of get away from it," Worley said. "If you think about that too much, your mind is going to be not where it needs to be. The only thing you should be worried about is yourself and getting better."
When it comes down to selecting him in the draft, Worley said he believes a coach that has watched his entire body of work on film will be impressed and willing to use a pick on him.
"All you need is one. The good thing is for me right now, the feedback I am getting from teams, coaches and general managers, there are a lot of teams looking at me right now," he said. "That's all I can ask for is for one team to pull the trigger."
Worley said he has been timed in the high-4.6-second to low-4.7 range in his 40-yard dash time, a respectable number for a player at his position, and better than the 4.86 he clocked at the combine. He added though that Ohio State's history of producing NFL linebackers has also helped him, noting a particular discussion with a Steelers linebacker coach.
"He was asking me questions, and I don't know what (Ryan) Shazier was telling him about me and moving forward and my expectations. But he asked me what I felt I could get better at and where I am unique, and my answer was kind of like Shazier's (answer about me)," Worley said. "That's just how we are at Ohio State. He was mindblown that so many of us have the mindset that he is looking for."