Pro Day notebook: Lee customizes workout for 27 NFL scouts
Mobile plays: 9/10
As 14 former Nebraska football players lifted, ran and jumped for more than two dozen NFL and CFL scouts Wednesday, quarterback Tanner Lee waited.
Just before 3:00, he set up on the Hawks Championship Center turf with a handful of former teammates and no coaches, a customized workout that didn’t have much precedent.
“We were running it by ourselves, which is not an all bad thing,” Lee said. “We were practicing for a couple weeks and got it looking how we wanted to and executed today.”
In Lee’s 40-for-45 performance, he flashed a variety of skills, from rollout passes to De’Mornay Pierson-El to avoiding pressure from Tyler Hoppes. Lee ended the day with two well-thrown, 50-yard deep balls, one of which Pierson-El caught.
Lee’s most consistent target was Luke McNitt, who had an exceptional Pro Day all around and finished the afternoon by helping his quarterback shine. Of Lee’s 12 short completions, 10 fell into McNitt’s hands.
The “new script” was influenced heavily by conversations with former NFL quarterbacks coach and Huskers offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf, who gave him some advice before one of the most important workouts in the draft process.
“Don’t try to do anything different,” Lee recalled. “Just be yourself, have fun, throw the ball and have a good time.”
Lee said he will stay in Lincoln for a few more weeks to get more workouts in before going back to his hometown of New Orleans, La., to watch the draft with his family.
- Matt Reynoldson
Jones knee '200 percent'
After suffering a knee injury back in July, it’s been a long road for Nebraska cornerback Chris Jones. The Jacksonville native came back by mid-season and still was able to put enough on tape to earn an invite to the NFL Combine.
As Jones wrapped up his Pro Day on Wednesday, he felt like he is back to his old self again.
“I’m way past how I felt before my injury,” Jones said. “I feel like I’m back to where I’m at, and even better than where I was at.”
Jones ran in the high 4.5’s at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, and he ran again on Wednesday. He didn’t know his times, but he also put up marks of 34 ½ inches in the vertical and 121 inches in the board jump – two events he didn’t partake in at the Combine because of cramping.
The other big thing for Jones at the Combine last week was the medical portion. He was examined by every single team doctor in the league.
“Every team doctor pulled and twisted,” Jones said. “There were six different rooms, and each room had different teams in them. I went through six different rooms, and there were doctors in each one. Half of the time they looked at the right knee, and the other half the left knee. They looked at both knees at one time. They went through everything, and nothing came up. Everything was good, everything came back positive, and nothing wrong again.”
With the NFL PA game, Combine and Pro Day behind him, Jones likes where he’s at going into the Draft.
“I don’t think that I pushed anything,” Jones said on his quick comeback this past season. “I felt like every test that they gave me, I passed it, and I got stronger and stronger as it went on. The season went up and down for me, but towards the end of the season, I felt I was getting my mojo back. My knee is at 200 percent right now.”
McNitt still hungry despite solid performance
Former Huskers fullback Luke McNitt put together a solid pro day on Wednesday in front of 27 NFL scouts and three Canadian football league scouts.
McNitt recorded a team-high 26 bench press reps. It wasn’t a huge shock to a lot of people considering the fact that McNitt was voted as “Lifter of the Year” last season. But, he is far from satisfied with the results.
“I could do a little better on the bench. I’ve done better in practice,” McNitt said. “I think 26 is alright, but I need to do better in 10 days down in Tampa.”
McNitt also looked ran in the 4.80 range during his 40-yard dash and caught all 12 balls that were thrown to him by Tanner Lee during his throwing workout. He says it’s different working out as a fullback because they aren’t used much in the NFL, but he hopes he can prove himself to get on an NFL field.
“They need guys to play special teams. That’s something I sell to the scouts,” McNitt said. “They need guys to play special teams, guys that are willing to do it and I think that I’m one of those guys. I’ll come in and do whatever they want me to do.
McNitt said that today felt like a game day, where he woke up at 5 a.m and couldn’t go back to sleep. But it’s just another step in the right direction to fulfilling a lifelong dream.
***11 members of the 2017 Husker team worked out at Pro Day, along with former Huskers Josh Banderas, Daniel Davie, Mohammed Seisay and Tommy Armstrong.
Defensive back Glenn Harris of Wayne State also took part in NU’s Pro Day. If more than one scout asks to see a state college player, Nebraska allows them to take part in their Pro Day. It’s something they’ve done since 2008 when Danny Woodhead was allowed to workout at NU’s Pro Day.
*** Total Husker Bench Press reps: Luke McNitt- 26, Marcus Newby- 19, Josh Banderas-17, Tyler Hoppes-16, David Knevel-16, De’Mornay Pierson-El- 14, Kieron Williams-12.
***Drew Brown connected on 12 of his 14 field goal attempts on Wednesday. He made 12 of his 15 at the NFL Combine. Zack Darlington worked as Brown’s holder.
***One of the receivers that worked with Lee on Wednesday was former Tulane and current NFL free agent Xavier Rush. Current NU players, along with active NFL roster players were not eligible to be receivers for Lee on Wednesday, so he had Rush come and run routes for him.
***While there was a good turnout of NFL teams (27) in attendance on Wednesday, there was not one NFL General Manager present at NU’s Pro Day because it was the first day of free agency. NU’s Pro Day also went head-to-head with Oklahoma, Wisconsin and Virginia Tech’s.
***A lot of the former Husker players that didn’t train out of state worked out both at Nebraska and the Speedway Village Sports Complex in Lincoln.
***Knevel said he gained valuable experience learning the guard position during his senior season, and while the NFL and the possibility of being a priority free agent is his top goal, he wouldn't mind returning to his home country of Canada to play in the CFL.
***McNitt credited former Husker fullback Andy Janovich for being a great close friend and helping him through his process. McNitt continued on by saying that Janovich’s help "means the world to me."