Pro Day Tour: Carson Wentz Impressed In Throwing Session At NDSU

(Throughout the spring, will be providing Pace Maier of The Spectrum attended North Dakota State's Pro Day to get a closer look at high-profile quarterback target Carson Wentz.)

FARGO, N.D. -- Everywhere he walked, eyes were locked on former North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz as he participated in NDSU's Pro Day on Thursday.

It seemed everywhere he went, even if it was to get a drink out of his Gatorade water bottle, a camera was in his face.

With it being the biggest Pro Day in NDSU history, it's understandable.

A kid from Bismarck, N.D., has a chance to be the first quarterback taken in the 2016 NFL Draft. As unlikely as that might sound, Wentz certainly looked the part of a top-10 pick in front of NFL personnel.

He participated in just one drill, completing 62-of-65 passes and trying his best to give doubters nothing to work with.

"I wanted to go 65-for-65," Wentz said afterward. "I really wanted to go and show the athleticism that I possess, the ability to throw on the run, to throw on awkward platforms and still deliver accurate footballs, and overall I thought that showed through."

Wentz said the trickiest part was when the Cleveland Browns assistant coach Pep Hamilton decided to squirt water on the footballs just before he took the snap and dropped back to pass.

His first pass with the wet ball drill dove straight into the Gate City Bank Field artificial grass.

"I didn't really prepare for it," Wentz said about the drill. "I wasn't sure if it was going to happen or not."

The 6-5 quarterback, who went 20-3 as a starter, didn't seem startled or nervous throughout the event. Most of his throws were on target with the exception of a few that went through his receivers' hands.

That said, a completion percentage of 95 wasn't too bad.

NDSU head coach Chris Klieman said that he thought Wentz did a "phenomenal job."

"I had some people tell me that he did a great job … and you could tell similarly when I saw him out on the field at Frisco, (Texas). Boy he was juiced up, he was ready to perform and play today and that's the kind of guy he's just so competitive and I knew he'd shine of the big stage today."

Wentz ran the 40-yard dash in 4.77 seconds and jumped 30.5 inches in the vertical jump at the NFL Combine last month. He is the No. 1 ranked quarterback by NFL Media draft analyst Mike Mayock.

Klieman said as teams continue to look for something wrong with Wentz they most likely won't find a flaw in his game.

"He is what he is," Klieman said of Wentz. "He's a genuine guy that's a servant leader that tries to make everybody around him better."

The NFL draft is April 28, and after a short break, Wentz said he will be back on track to completing private workouts. To this point, he said he wasn't sure when his schedule with the Dallas Cowboys will be.

"I'm not sure what my schedule is exactly," Wentz said. "With respect to all the teams I don't want to discuss who I'm working out with (or) who I'm visiting."

Offensive Lineman Shines

Former NDSU standout offensive lineman Joe Haeg also participated in the Pro Day and improved his vertical jumped by about two inches.

"One of my biggest assets is my athleticism and my explosion," Haeg said. "I think that's something I was able to show today by getting my vertical up to 30 inches."

Haeg, at 6-6, 293 pounds, played offensive tackle for the Bison said that he is willing to play "either tackle or guard on either side."

"Every team is different, there will be a team that might need a left guard that they'll work me out and only do guard drills and then there will be a team that's looking for a left tackle and it's the same situation and in this part of the process versatility is a huge thing ... I'm comfortable with and pretty capable of doing."

Smith Excels In His First Pro Day

Former NDSU cornerback and All-Missouri Valley Football Conference first team selection C.J. Smith unofficially had a 40-yard dash time of 4.50 seconds.

"I thought C.J. did a really nice job and I thought he ran well," said Klieman, who had been a defensive backs coach at four schools prior to coming NDSU.

Smith is listed at 5-foot-11 and weighs about 183 pounds has sort of gone unnoticed just like former Bison cornerback Marcus Williams did a few years ago as an undrafted free agent.

Last season Smith led the Missouri Valley Football Conference in passes defend per game, and was ranked eighth in the Football Championship Subdivision with 1.54 passes defended.

"We just need to get his name out there more," Klieman said about Smith. "I think he's a young man whether it's a draftable guy late or real priority free agent will be a guy that will have a hard time not making a club."

Pace Maier (@pacefabulous) is the sports editor for The Spectrum at North Dakota State.

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