By Adam Hoge-
DEKALB, Ill. (CBS) — Jordan Lynch was sitting on the sideline drinking some Gatorade when the NFL coaches at Northern Illinois’ pro day caught him off guard.
They wanted him to go through some defensive back drills.
Lynch has not trained for safety drills, but he got up and performed the drills Friday on the spot.
“A few teams really like me at running back, and I did some safety footwork drills today out of the blue and got some positive feedback there,” Lynch said. “They said I have nice feet, quick feet.”
The Heisman Trophy finalist has maintained that he can play quarterback in the NFL, but he abided at the NFL Combine when a few teams asked him to go through running back drills, and he did the same Friday when they asked him to do the defensive back drills.
As for his work at quarterback, Lynch was very inconsistent Friday. He said was pleased with his performance, but he was inaccurate at times and had a couple very wild throws.
“I helped myself today,” Lynch said. “I threw every NFL route today. Threw on time, threw on target, threw everything. Maybe a few incomplete passes here and there.”
The problem is, there really shouldn’t be any incomplete passes at a pro day held inside your own facility with your own equipment and own receivers. And even the accurate passes looked a bit wobbly.
As he did in college, there were times when Lynch impressed with his arm strength, but it still doesn’t compare to the arms of guys like Derek Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo. There’s a clear difference when those guys throw the same NFL routes Lynch did Friday.
But the NIU quarterback still believes he’ll be a quarterback in the NFL.
“I’m a quarterback first, I’ve said that over and over,” Lynch said. “And I think a lot of scouts will start realizing that I can play quarterback and all these other drills will go out the window.”
And he thinks his performance Friday helped convince those scouts.
“There’s no doubt in my mind they are talking about it right now,” he said.
– The numbers weren’t immediately available, but Lynch said he was told he improved his 40-yard dash time by a full tenth of a second, running in the mid-4.6 range.
– NIU safety Jimmie Ward received a lot of attention Friday after he wasn’t able to go through drills at the NFL Combine last month. Ward wasn’t cleared to participate then after physicals revealed a fracture in his foot. The injury will require surgery, but he decided to put off the operation until after pro day and will have it performed next week. He’ll be out four to eight weeks after the surgery.
– Ward had a little trouble adjusting to balls in the air, but the coaches seemed a little frustrated by where Lynch was placing his jump ball passes. Overall, it was a productive day for Ward, who logged 4.45 and 4.47 40 times to go along with a 38-inch vertical. He still looks like a solid third-round selection despite the injury.
– When asked whether or not teams were concerned about his foot injury, Ward had a good response: “They can’t erase tape. They know what I can do on tape.”
– Baltimore Ravens secondary coach Steve Spagnuolo was among those watching Ward closely Friday. Indianapolis Colts secondary coach Mike Gillhamer directed the drills. Ward said he met with four or five teams afterward and specifically named the Colts and Vikings.
Adam Hoge covers the Bears for CBSChicago.com and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamHoge.