Per a release by the university, eleven former Cyclones will take part in Iowa State’s Pro Day, including a handful of guys that were seniors in 2019. JaQuan Bailey, Kene Nwangwu, Dylan Soehner, Landen Akers, and Lawrence White are all of the 2020 seniors participating, as expected. Jamahl Johnson, Marcel Spears, Amechie Walker, Deshaunte Jones, Braxton Lewis, and La’Michael Pettway will all be making a return trip to Ames to take a second shot at making the NFL.
For the 2020 seniors, you’d have to imagine Kene Nwangwu potentially has the most to gain with good performances in the drills and a good 40 yard dash time. He obviously played a backup role on offense this season behind Breece Hall (though he was featured more often than any other point in his career), but certainly impressed both on offense and special teams when he did get a chance to play.
For guys with limited film, those drills and the 40 yard dash can do wonders for their pro stock, and Kene certainly has the potential to set himself apart with his physical attributes. The NFL usually finds a way to get speed on the field, and a sub-4.4 second time could give him a great shot to get to a camp.
Landen Akers could potentially see himself in the same boat depending on what kind of speed and route-running he can show. He was a low-volume receiver in college, but, again, the NFL likes to get speed on the field, and slot receivers are more popular than ever now. Landen could potentially fit that mold.
Lawrence White and JaQuan Bailey are both solid draft prospects right now, but maybe have less to gain on Pro Day than some other guys. That’s certainly not a knock on either of those two guys, but their positions are more often drafted on film than testing results, so that’s what will get them drafted. A great 40 time could theoretically help either of them, but not nearly as much as the offensive skill players.
Dylan Soehner is an interesting prospect. The agility drills could be fairly important for him as he tries to showcase some more versatility in his game. We know he can catch passes, but he made his hay as a blocker in college. His ceiling is probably fairly low as a tight end in the NFL, but he can absolutely impact a team as an H-back in lead-blocking and redzone scenarios. Fullbacks are (sort of) making a comeback in the form of the old West Coast fullbacks that get involved in the passing game (think Kyle Juszczyk in San Francisco), and Soehner could potentially try to establish himself in that role.
Of all the 2019 guys returning, Deshaunte Jones probably has the best chance to make a name for himself since his play-style fits what a lot of teams are looking for, but he and the rest of the older guys obviously have some ground to make up now that they’re a year older, but don’t have any new film.
Best of luck to all of the Cyclones participating in Pro Day, and we look forward to watching you on Sundays!