Rashaad rising as NFL Draft approaches

NORFOLK, Va. - Whether you pronounce his first name RUH-shodd or RUH-shadd, former Old Dominion defensive lineman Rashaad Coward doesn't care what NFL teams call him - he just wants them to call him.

Former ODU defensive lineman Rashaad Coward prepares for NFL Draft.

The 6' 5", second team All-Conference USA selection has been brought-in for visits by four NFL teams: the Broncos, Texans, Giants and Jets.

"It's a goal of mine, since I was young, to get drafted," Coward told News 3. "It doesn't matter what round. I just have to stay focused and keep working hard - that's what got me here today."

With the 2017 NFL Draft set for April 27-29, Coward is back in Norfolk working out at 2nd Gear Athletics, a facility run by former ODU linebacker Kohl Adams-Hurd. Coward says his goal is to remain in football shape, as rookie minicamp will begin shortly after the Draft.

"I'm anxious," Coward admitted. "But the next two or three weeks I'll be here working my tail off with Kohl. I want to be ready."

Former ODU defensive lineman Rashaad Coward prepares for NFL Draft.

An Old Dominion player has never been selected in the NFL Draft. Earlier this year, receiver Zach Pascal became the first Monarch ever invited to the NFL scouting combine. Draft prognosticators expect Pascal to hear his name called among the 253 draftees next week. As for Coward, he says he and his agent have received positive feedback and signals from NFL teams, but he's just grateful for an opportunity to continue playing the game he loves.

"If I'm drafted, I'll be happy and my family will be happy," Coward said. "I would have accomplished one of my goals. But, if I'm not drafted, I'll be able to select the best situation for me as I choose to sign with a team as an undrafted free agent."