Felt a little like normal football for a minute there Tuesday afternoon. Nebraska held its annual Pro Day from the Hawks Championship Facility and team weight room, and five NFL-hopeful Huskers worked out in front of scouts from 23 of the 32 NFL franchises.
Testing results can be found here.
Some notes and observations from the day:
>> Cornerback Dicaprio Bootle was obviously the star of the day for Nebraska. A day after saying he was going to show out with his 40-yard-dash time, Bootle turned a quotable moment into a promise kept.
The 4.38 he ran on his second attempt was the talk of the day. From a measurement standpoint, the corner came in just a little under 5-foot-10; the average height of an NFL corner two years ago was about 5-11.5, a measurement that has held pretty steady since the 90s. So, consider Bootle a little undersized, but everyone already knew that.
If there were concerns about his game because of his stature, he did well to massage those with his athleticism. Bootle measured a 36.5-inch vertical jump—the best of the day—and a 10’6” broad jump. He was quick in the shuttle and made light work of the three-cone drill.
In position drills, Bootle looked solid. He showcased pretty impressive hip fluidity and change-of-direction skills. If he wasn’t on draft boards prior to Tuesday, he likely will be now. You don’t find a lot of reliable seven-round mock drafts anymore, but I’d imagine Bootle could start jumping up into late-round consideration if this work continues. He looked in great shape.
“When I left here and I decided I was gonna go do a combine-style training … I knew that I would have no expectations,” Bootle said Monday on a Zoom call with media. “That was a reminder I wrote down—‘no expectations, only work.’ It wasn’t really different than what I expected. Every morning I woke up there was a task at hand and I did it. If there was a phone call I needed to take, I took it. If there was an interview I needed to have or some type of testing, I did it.
“Every day was different, no two days were the same. Just kept on building and building and building each day.”
Keep doing that and there will be a nice reward at the end of the climb. He made some money Tuesday.
>> Jack Stoll and Matt Farniok each had solid days themselves.
I’ll start with Stoll. He measured in surprisingly well, with hands slightly bigger than the two Husker linemen and the longest wingspan of anyone. His broad jump was just a shade short of 10 feet, he put up 16 reps on the 225-pound bench press and measured a 31-inch vertical. Stoll’s 40-time was solid, his shuttle time was better than Dedrick Mills’ and he looked pretty fluid running the three-cone drill.
Stoll’s biggest selling point as an NFL tight end is probably more of a traditional in-line guy with sturdy reliability. He’s not a deep threat but can go snag a ball in traffic, and he played a lot on special teams at Nebraska. Stoll told us Monday he took a lot of pride in being able to battle back from his early-season injury in 2020 and not let it cost him multiple games. He’s a guy with a proven track record of reliability, so flashing some athleticism was a pretty nice bonus.
I think he did well for himself Tuesday, reinforcing the notion he can be an active roster kind of tight end for an offense with a number of multi-TE sets.
Farniok is one of Nebraska’s other fringe guys. Maybe he’s a day three kind of linemen, a depth play for a team. Maybe someone falls in love with his versatility. Maybe he’s an invite guy who has to—as he himself put it Monday—sneak in the back door. However teams feel about him, he probably did more to help himself Tuesday than hurt.
The trimmed-down Farniok looked pretty smooth running. He was quicker than Brenden Jaimes in the shuttle and cone drills. He measured in about where he expected to, had a 33-inch vertical jump and put up 28 reps on the bench.
The ability to play every position on the line is only going to help Farniok when we get closer to the draft. The noticeable work he’s put in led to results. Teams will like that.
>> Dedrick Mills had an OK day, I thought. Nothing overly flashy but nothing worthy of a red flag. The average NFL running back, according to a recent study, runs between a 4.4 and a 4.7 in the 40-yard-dash; Mills was around 4.6. He stumbled a bit to start his second attempt and had to redo it. He had hopes of running in the 4.5s and feedback from interested teams was that they wanted to see his speed and his pass-catching ability.
Mills got a good number of reps catching passes out of the backfield. He’ll use his body to secure some, so you can tell it’s still a work in progress.
He’s usually viewed as a one-cut power back, and physically he looks in really good shape, so the 13 reps on the bench came as a bit of a shock. If you look at last year’s Draft Combine results, Mills’ 13 would have been the second-fewest among the 23 running backs who participated. Maybe that’s something, maybe that’s nothing. Again, Mills looked in good shape.
>> Jaimes went through the agility drills and did some striking work with Farniok after, but he didn’t run the 40. He told scouts he was experiencing some stiffness in his right calf after doing the broad jump.
Fortunately for Jaimes, he’s still got a lot going for him. He entered the day arguably Nebraska’s most draftable pro prospect. He put up 25 reps on the bench and measured in a bit shy of 300 pounds. Jaimes, like Farniok, has worked on his versatility, hopeful to show teams he can be a multi-position guy.
>> There was a healthy showing from teammates at the event, which was nice to see. Scott Frost, assistant coaches, and members of the athletic department staff all looked on, either from the field or from the gallery in the Hawks building.
Media folks didn’t go into the weight room for obvious reasons, but teammates were in there giving the five Pro Day participants some energy.
Former Husker and current New York Jet Lamar Jackson was back in town, hanging around junior defensive back Cam Taylor Britt and DBs coach Travis Fisher and giving Bootle some words of encouragement on a few occasions.
>> The team has the week off this week. Nebraska will begin spring practice next Tuesday, March 30.