Many scouts had flocked to UMass games this year to take a closer look at Vladimir Ducasse, the highly touted offensive lineman who was taken by the Jets in the second round as the 61st pick. That was the highest pick for a Minuteman since 1968 when Greg Landry was drafted in the first round by Detroit.
"I talked to Vlad this morning, and he was thrilled to be taken in the second round," said Zardas. "We all felt he'd go pretty high because he's a really good player. It worked out for me and a lot of other guys on our team because he brought a lot of attention. Because so many scouts came to get a good look at him guys wound up talking to me and others on our team. We had a really good draft class this year with a lot of guys signing free agent contracts and some getting tryouts with teams."
Zardas was impressive at the Boston College and UMass Pro Days last month. His best in the 40-yard dash was 4.59, 10-3 broad jump, 39 ¬-inch vertical high jump; 4.01 short shuttle, and 6.80 in three cones.
He has been training under Eric Koloyanides at Athletic Evolution in Woburn. At St. John's Zardas was an impact player all four years, and a three time Catholic Conference All Star, who ran for over 4,000 career yards and 48 touchdowns. He led Division 1 in TD's as a junior and senior.
After a strong performance at both Pro Days several teams were interested in Zardas. Green Bay, Carolina, Jacksonville, Miami, New Orleans, and Philadelphia were at the top of the list.
"I honestly thought it was going to be Green Bay or Carolina," said Zardas. "It's really very hard to figure because it all depends on who gets taken on the board, and what needs a particular team has left."