There were 18 teams represented at North Dakota State’s Pro Day on Thursday. All 32 teams had confirmations to make it to the pro day, but snowstorms throughout the Midwest made travel difficult for some teams.
Due to their close proximity, the Minnesota Vikings were one of the teams able to attend. Like most teams, they were likely checking out quarterback Carson Wentz, who is expected to be one of the first quarterbacks taken in this year’s draft.
At 6-foot-5½, 237 pounds, Wentz really looks the part of an NFL quarterback and his performance only helped that assessment. He was able to make all the throws he was asked to make and seemed comfortable throughout the process, even when the Browns’ assistant coach stepped in and had him start throwing around a wet football.
Even though they were paying attention to Wentz’s performance, the Vikings won’t be drafting him. They believe they are set at quarterback with Teddy Bridgewater, and even if they wanted to draft Wentz, the price to move up from No. 23 overall would be too steep for them.
But there were other players at the pro day that the Vikings could very well end up selecting when the draft rolls around.
One of those players is offensive tackle Joe Haeg. The 6-6, 304-pound offensive lineman was one of the combine’s top performers in a majority of the workouts he competed in and for that reason he chose to sit on most of his numbers. He did try to improve his broad jump, but ended up posting the same results, roughly with a 9-foot-3 jump.
Haeg did not lift at the combine or his pro day because of a shoulder injury he suffered at the Senior Bowl. That is unfortunate for him because his strength seems to be the biggest question surrounding his draft stock.
He has the size and athleticism to play on the offensive line, specifically tackle, in the NFL, but when watching tape it appears he lacks the required strength. It’s believed that he will be drafted in the third or fourth round and having him sit for a year to help build up that strength should greatly benefit him.
Another player that the Vikings were likely paying attention to was cornerback C.J. Smith. The 5-11, 188-pound defensive back is not expected to be drafted but could make a very good addition to a team as an undrafted free agent.
He ran a 4.59-second 40-yard dash in both his attempts, a 4.13-second short shuttle and a 7-second three-cone drill during his pro day. He also recorded a 39-inch vertical, a 10-foot-11 broad jump and seven reps on the 225-pound bench press.
Where Smith really impressed, though, was in the positional drills, where he reportedly looked very good and showed off his great hands and ball skills.
The other player that the Vikings could have been looking at was punter Ben LeCompte. Jeff Locke has struggled for a majority of his time in the NFL since the Vikings drafted him in the fifth round and this could be the offseason the team brings in someone for him to compete against.
LeCompte is not a player expected to be drafted, so he could be one that comes in during minicamps or training camp to push Locke for that starting spot.
Even though the Vikings, and the 17 other teams present, were likely there to watch Wentz’s workout, there could be multiple other players who benefit the most from the NDSU Pro Day.