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This time, NDSU's Pro Day was more about the big guys

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Former North Dakota State Bison football player Jack Plankers, left, runs through drills during the NDSU Pro Day Wednesday, March 29, 2017, at NDSU. Dave Wallis / The Forum2 / 5
Landon Lechler, of Beach, ND, runs through drills during the NDSU Pro Day Wednesday, March 29, 2017, at NDSU. Dave Wallis / The Forum3 / 5
Former North Dakota State Bison football player Jack Plankers runs sprints as a timer records the performance during the NDSU Pro Day Wednesday, March 29, 2017, at NDSU. Dave Wallis / The Forum4 / 5
Former North Dakota State Bison football player Jack Plankers tries for distance from a standing jump as scouts watch during the NDSU Pro Day Wednesday, March 29, 2017, at NDSU. Dave Wallis / The Forum5 / 5

FARGO—Last year was more about the splash of Carson Wentz's right arm and the national notoriety that went along with the star quarterback. With the NFL Network and ESPN at North Dakota State's annual Pro Day, the Wentz wagon started rolling.

This year was more about the two-ton Chevy pickup. The big guys.

The offensive linemen took center stage at the Dacotah Field Bubble in front of 10 NFL teams on Wednesday, March 29. Zack Johnson, Landon Lechler and Jack Plankers went through the usual set of drills, which signifies a completion of sorts of three months of work since the trio finished their Bison careers in December.

"It was nice to perform next to the guys you've been doing these exact same drills for five years," Plankers said. "It was just like getting back into it."

They weren't alone in getting back into it. Former linebacker Travis Beck is attempting a return two seasons removed from finishing his NDSU career with a torn Achilles. He was joined by linebacker Pierre Gee-Tucker, defensive end Brad Ambrosius, cornerback Quinten McCoy, running back King Frazier, punter Ben LeCompte and tight end Dexter Werner.

LeCompte finished his career in 2015 and Werner is giving football a shot after a standout Bison basketball career.

It was tougher to gauge any kind of general result, which was unlike like last year's throwing exhibition by Wentz, who completed 62 of 65 passes. Plankers said his three-cone drill and shuttle run was better than expected but he fell short of his goal in the bench press and vertical jump. Lechler said he felt like he showed better flexibility with the offensive line drills in front of the scouts.

The teams represented were the Minnesota Vikings, Detroit Lions, Carolina Panthers, Seattle Seahawks, New England Patriots, Las Vegas Raiders, Pittsburgh Steelers, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers and the Jacksonville Jaguars.

"The calls are going to keep coming as the draft nears and you have to take it day-by-day," Lechler said.

He also plans on not getting worked up over the process, some advice he got from former teammates like Wentz, Andrew Bonnet, Kyle Emanuel, Billy Turner, Joe Haeg and Jeremy Kelly.

"They just said enjoy it," Lechler said. "Control what you can control and enjoy the whole process."

It was not an enjoyable day for Beck, who looked like his explosive self in the vertical jump and long jump drills. But he pulled up with a hamstring injury a few steps into his 40-yard dash.

Beck said he first hurt his hamstring in February, which could have been the result of compensating from rehabbing his Achilles.

"Coming in, I was worried about it," he said. "I thought I would get through testing but just re-injured the hamstring."

What's next?

"We'll see," he said. "I have to get the hamstring back right, that's my only concern now."

Jeff Kolpack
Jeff Kolpack covers North Dakota State athletics, the Fargo Marathon and golf for The Forum. His blog can be accessed at www.bisonmedia.areavoices.com. On the radio, Kolpack & Izzo sports talk show runs from 9-11 a.m. every Saturday morning. April through August, the WDAY Golf Show with Jeff Kolpack runs from 8-9 a.m.
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