Wanzek battling his way through twists and turns in NFL Draft preparations

UND wide receiver Noah Wanzek beats Idaho State defender Caleb Brown to score a touchdown late in the first half of their game Saturday in Grand Forks. Eric Hylden / Forum News Service
UND wide receiver Noah Wanzek beats Idaho State defender Caleb Brown to score a touchdown late in the first half of their 2018 game in Grand Forks. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

FARGO -- The thought of accomplishing a dream of playing in the NFL is getting closer for Jamestown's Noah Wanzek.

"I'm here in rural North Dakota," Wanzek said. "Two months from now, I might be in a large city practicing with some of the best athletes in the world."

"It's definitely crazy."

When his final season at the University of North Dakota came to an end, his resume was stacked. Second in career receptions at 203, third in career receiving yards at 2,696, tied for sixth in career touchdown receptions at 18.

He conquered one challenge.


On to the next one.

Wanzek started training at Sanford Power in Fargo for his pro day in March. He was confident that one workout would help scouts see what he could do and open up opportunities.

Then adversity hit when the pro day was canceled because of COVID-19.

"My stomach just dropped when I heard," Wanzek remembered.

Coming from an FCS school, the path to the NFL Draft would already have more hurdles for Wanzek to climb. Adding this to the count felt bigger than any other.

"The people that are going to get drafted in the first round, they got a good idea about what's going on with them," Wanzek said. "For me it's just going to be ever-changing."


Right as it seemed the pro day was never meant to be, Wanzek found out the Sanford Power facility in Sioux Falls was offering a deal for players to get a pro day.

"It was really last minute," Wanzek said.

He took advantage of the opportunity, which furthered his confidence. He already felt good with the game tape and workouts he'd sent to NFL teams.

"If I wasn't on the radar, I'm definitely on the radar now," Wanzek said.

For the draft, Wanzek will stay in Jamestown with his family and his phone close. He knows the chances of being drafted may not be high, but he's used to proving himself.

This is no different, to him.

"Things aren't always going to look great, but things can change in a matter of minutes," Wanzek said. "All it takes is the one person, the right person, to watch it and be impressed."

Zach Staton joined WDAY as a sports reporter in 2018. He grew up in Salem, Virginia loving any sport he could play or watch. Staton graduated from Bridgewater College with a degree in Communication Studies before getting his Master's in Broadcast and Digital Journalism with a Sports Communication Emphasis from Syracuse University.
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