AMES — Iowa State’s all-Big 12 tight end E.J. Bibbs acknowledged facing stress during the prelude to Tuesday’s Pro Day.
And that’s natural for a guy coming off a knee injury that kept him out of the last two games of 2014 and the Senior Bowl, then limited his activities at the NFL Combine.
“I’m excited it’s over with now,” Bibbs said.
Interestingly, the knee didn’t serve as the primary stressor in the high-intensity, mentally-taxing, last-chance event that unfolded before representatives from 27 NFL teams.
It was more generalized anxiety that he overcame as he recorded personal bests in three drills — the 40-yard dash, the broad jump and the vertical jump.
“My knee’s feeling great, actually,” said Bibbs, who made 45 catches for 382 yards and eight touchdowns in 10 games last season. “Better than it ever felt.”
That’s great news for Bibbs, who projects as a likely late-round NFL Draft pick, according to ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr.
“A kid who obviously has talent,” Kiper said in a February conference call. “We saw that in a lot of games this year. I’ve had him in my top ten tight ends pretty much the entire way.”
Bibbs ran the 40 in 4.86 seconds. He recorded a 31.5-inch vertical jump and leaped 9-feet 2-inches in the broad jump. Those numbers put him in that top 10 of combine results in each category.
Bibbs also executed 22 reps at 225 pounds in the bench press — good for fourth in terms of combine numbers.
“Pretty happy with my results,” the Chicago native summed up.
Several other Cyclones — along with some from outside the program — participated in Tuesday’s drills.
Defensive end Cory Morrissey’s time of 4.75 seconds in the 40 would have tied him for fifth at the combine. He’ll likely end up as an undrafted free agent and generally felt good about his Pro Day results.
“It was stressful up to pretty much the end, then it was fun,” said Morrissey, who led the Cyclones with six sacks last season. “Now it’s fun, seeing the numbers and stuff.”
Center Tom Farniok posted what would have been a combine top-10 in the broad jump (9-feet) and also leaped 30 inches in the vertical jump. Farniok — who is likely destined to be a priority free agent — said he felt he could have done better.
“I wish I would have done a little better in a couple things, but I did good,” the 6-4, 301-pound four-year starter said. “A lot of teams said I did a really good job today, so I did what I needed to do, I guess.”
Farniok said he was particularly pleased with his agility and jumping results. Now he enters waiting game mode — while maintaining his body and his pro mindset.
“Your future’s so uncertain,” Farniok said. “You don’t know what’s going to happen with your future and you have no control, either. So that’s really weird.”
True enough, but part of the deal. Dreams enter a holding pattern, but the work that keeps them alive doesn’t.
“I’m just waiting on a phone call,” Bibbs said.
SELECT PRO DAY RESULTS
E.J. Bibbs: 22 reps, bench; 31.5, vertical jump; 9-2, broad jump; 4.86, 40; 7.22, cone drill.
Jared Brackens: 16, bench; 35, vertical; 10-2, broad; 4.51, 40; 6.9, cone.
Tom Farniok: 23, bench; 30, vertical; 9-0, broad; 5.4, 40; 7.85, cone.
Jacob Gannon: 22, bench; 23.5, vertical; 8-3, broad; 5.19, 40; 7.85, cone.
Cory Morrissey: 22, bench; 34, vertical; 9-5, broad; 7.31, cone.
Spencer Thornton: 12, bench; 28.5, vertical; 9-0, broad; 7.5, cone.
Jarvis West: 10, bench; 38.5, vertical; 9-7, broad; 7.15, cone.
Aaron Wimberly: 14, bench; 29, vertical; 9-5, broad; 4.5, 40; 6.91, cone.