For the second straight year, Lehigh hosted a Pro Day for three athletes,QB Chris Lum, WR Jake Drwal, and TE Troy McKenna, as well as some other athletes from the area as well.
While it wasn't the same as last year, where Will Rackley had a slew of NFL scouts travel to Bethlehem to see his numbers, the trio did bring a very solid performance on a beautiful day in front of a crowd of well-wishers and fans.
Lum, who has been training at the TEST academy with former Delaware QB (and former NFL QB) Scott Brunner, had already delivered some fantastic numbers at Indiana (PA) earlier this month, so he didn't do the full array of workouts. And Scott's brother Todd Brunner, a regional scout for the San Francisco 49ers (and former Lehigh QB), was at the pro day as well to check things out.
Keith Groller of the Morning Call talked with Chris after the Pro Day.
Lehigh coach Andy Coen was observing the session and was impressed.
"I think he threw the deep balls better than he did during the course of his career here," Coen said. "He does look stronger and he's probably gained about 10 pounds. He had a great showing here."
"I missed a few throws, but overall I'm very happy with my performance," Lum said. "I just wanted to throw today, and while there was just two eyes here, we filmed it and we'll send it out to all of the teams."
Scott Brunner, who also helped train Joe Flacco before he was drafted in the first round by the Baltimore Ravens, talked to Michael LoRe of the Express-Times, where he talked in glowing terms about Chris' football smarts.
"I think he’s a great prospect, we’re looking forward to the draft and if that doesn’t work out, we’ll pursue free agency,” said Brunner. “I think he has a great shot to get into a camp. Once you’re in a camp, you just have to kick the door down and I think he’ll do that.”
"I really like Chris. His smarts are his greatest asset. He's not just book smart. He has a great football IQ. We look at film and put things on the board and he picks up things very quickly, which is something you have to do at the next level. That will be his big advantage going forward. He’s light years ahead of a lot of other guys we’ve worked with as far as the mental part of the game.”
One of Lum's targets on Friday was one of Lum's favorite targets on game days - WR Jake Drwal, who will open some eyes around the nation with a 4.53 40 yard dash time to go with his proven pass-catching ability.
To put this in perspective, WR Justin Blackmon of Oklahoma State has a 40 yard dash time of 4.52, and other high-round prospects like Appalachian State WR Brian Quick and LSU WR Reuben Randle's have slower official 40 times.
That's not to say that Jake will now suddenly be going in the first round - but you have to believe that the 6'1, 190 lb Omaha, Nebraska native with 82 catches, 949 yards and 9 TDs for the Mountain Hawks will get noticed after those numbers on Friday.
His strength and pass-catching ability from Lum was very much on display on Friday.
“We’ve been throwing for the past eight weeks and have been on the same team for the past four seasons, so we obviously have some chemistry,” said Drwal, who plans on attending Penn’s Pro Day on Wednesday. “It was just like another day.”Along with Drwal, former tackle Troy McKenna was also on display in an unfamiliar position from last season - catching the ball.
He had already put up some monster numbers at the Jets NFL regional combine, and while he didn't get the same stellar workout numbers he did out there, the 6'4, 280 lb native of Paramus showcased his ability as a pass-catching TE as well.
The all-American tackle can certainly block, but it's his consistent development as a pass-catching threat, coached daily by former Hofstra WR Khamal Roy, that was on display on Friday.
“Overall, I was happy with my performance,” he said. “The biggest thing was to show I could run routes smoothly and show I can catch from the tight end position. They have my blocking on film and they just needed to see me catching the ball.”With Lehigh's pro day behind them - and, for some, a few more pro days to come - it then becomes a wait for the NFL draft and subsequent free-agency period where they will see the interest from NFL teams.