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4 future NFL stars show their stuff in virtual reality

NFL draft hopefuls, ranging from a sure shot to an underdog, promote themselves in 360-degree virtual reality videos.

Most football players hope they can make a smooth switch from college ball to the NFL. Braxton Miller is hoping he can do that and change positions too.

The former Ohio State signal caller makes one-handed catches in a new 360-degree virtual reality clip that are reminiscent of the jaw-dropping grabs of All-Pro wideout Odell Beckham, Jr.

"I want to make sure I'm on top of my technique on the receiver side of things and taking care of this 'machine,'" said Miller, who could be taken as high as the second round this week's NFL draft, in the video.

The VR video of Miller, along with three other NFL hopefuls, will be part of the NFL's Draft Town exhibit, which is part of the league's annual ritual of inducting new players. Thousands of fans will travel to Chicago, where the draft is being held, and many will see the four videos, which offer behind-the-scene glimpses of the preparation needed to reach the level to play professionally on Sundays.

The minute-long videos are created by Visa with STRIVR Labs, which previously teamed up on a similar video featuring the New England Patriots. The NFL draft prospects appear in videos going through passing and catching drills, bowling over tackling dummies and lifting weights, while virtual reality cameras provide views of the action from different angles. Those watching on a personal computer can see the 360 views by pointing their cursor to four arrows on the left side of the video.

The videos include Shaq Lawson, a defensive end, who is almost a sure lock for an NFL squad. Linebacker Jaylon Smith and quarterback Paxton Lynch are also featured in the series.

The cameras show Lawson preparing ahead of February's critical NFL Draft Combine and how he dedicates his career to his father who died when he was 12.

"That's my motivation to get up every day to be the best at what I do and continue to grind out to get what I want," said the former Clemson star who is projected to go in the first round.

Smith is arguably the best player who is unlikely to be among the top picks in the draft. The Notre Dame linebacker works out feverishly in his video after tearing his knee up during the Fiesta Bowl against Miller's Ohio State team in January.


NFL draft prospect Jaylon Smith is hoping that a team will take a chance on him after suffering a major knee injury earlier this year.


"Dealing with a severe injury, there's a lot of adversity. How I overcome this is to work my butt off each and every day," said Smith who is projected to be among the first 100 draft picks.

As for Lynch, the underdog Memphis quarterback is a wild card. He could be a late first-round pick to replace the legendary Peyton Manning for the defending Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos or possibly selected as late as the third round.

In his video, Lynch said he's grateful for this opportunity, recalling playing quarterback outside by himself imagining he's like Manning or New England Patriots star Tom Brady.

"I think about me playing in the front yard and how much I wanted it," he said. "As long as you keep working hard and taking care of your business, you will have a chance to shine."