Heupel preparing for NFL draft

Saturday, April 7th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

ABERDEEN, S.D. (AP) _ Aberdeen native Josh Heupel has been busy preparing for the National Football League draft later this month.

Zeke Bratkowski, a former NFL quarterback and assistant coach, is helping the Oklahoma quarterback prepare for professional football.

``Oh, he's going to be drafted,'' Bratkowski said of the seven-round NFL draft April 21-22.

Bratkowski played in the NFL for 14 years and was back-up to Bart Starr on the championship Green Bay Packer teams of the 1960s. He was later an NFL assistant coach for 28 seasons. The 69-year-old Bratkowski now lives near Destin, Fla.

Bratkowski began working with Heupel in early February. He also is working with Virginia Tech quarterback Michael Vick.

Bratkowski has traveled to Norman, Okla., three or four times to work with the 23-year-old Heupel, who led Oklahoma to a national championship as a senior.

The Sooners didn't throw a low of deep passes, so many people think Heupel doesn't have the arm strength for long passes, Bratkowski said.

``In workouts for pro football people, we'd make sure that we featured a lot of those kind of passes, so they could see that he could do that,'' Bratkowski said. ``And I think he's proven to them that he can take the ball down the field.''

Heupel worked out in front of some 50 scouts and coaches on his first workout in March in Norman, Bratkowski said.

He's also had workouts scheduled with Miami, Detroit and Denver.

Heupel, he said, has quick feet, scored very high on the intelligence test administered by the NFL, and has proven he's a winner.

``What we did was prove to them that he's got sufficient arm strength along with the tangibles piled up on top of that.''