Lamaak improves at Pro Day


Ben Lamaak

Dan Tracy

Ben Lamaak’s football career has seen its fair share of movement.

An all-state tight end at Cedar Rapids Kennedy High School, Lamaak played quarterback the last six games of his high school career before committing to Iowa State where, at 225 pounds, he was projected to play tight end or defensive end. Lamaak redshirted his initial season at Iowa State, during which he put on 81 pounds to weigh in at 306 for his first season on the field.

That change in size prompted a move to the offensive line, where he would spend the next four seasons, playing all five positions and ending his career in 2010 by being named the 2nd team All-Big 12 center.

Lamaak hopes to be moving once again, maybe not by position, but to a city of 1 of the 32 NFL franchises that could choose him in this year’s NFL draft. Since he wasn’t invited to February’s NFL Combine in Indianapolis, Lamaak got his chance at Tuesday’s ISU Pro Day to make an impression on the NFL scouts that were in town.

“We’ve been training for a while now, about eight weeks, so it was nice to come out here, we all did well and hopefully opened up some eyes,” Lamaak said following Tuesday’s workout.

After signing with his agent Brian Hamilton, Lamaak traveled in early January to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he trained for five weeks with the Ignition Athletic Performance group. After five weeks of training, Lamaak returned to Ames on Super Bowl Sunday and continued working out with the ISU training staff in order to prepare for the Pro Day.

As an offensive lineman, Lamaak focused much of his time on building his upper body strength.

“I wanted to do good in bench because I think that’s key to being an offensive lineman and to do good in everything of course,” Lamaak said.

With a goal of 25 repetitions of 225 pounds in the bench press, Lamaak put up the weight 26 times in addition to running a 5.13 second 40-yard dash and reaching 27.5 inches in the vertical jump. Lamaak, who entered Pro Day ranked as the 16th-best prospect at the center position by, felt that his Pro Day performance improved his chances of being drafted.

“Definitely, I think I did,” Lamaak said of improving his draft stock. “A lot of the scouts wanted to come out here and see me move and wanted to see me on the bench press.”

If drafted as a center, Lamaak would become the third ISU offensive lineman to be drafted to the NFL as a center after Dick Kasparek, who went in the 16th round of the 1966 draft to the St. Louis Cardinals, and Reggie Stephens, who just last year had his name called by the Cincinnati Bengals with the 228th pick out of 255.

“He’s an athletic guy, I’ve always thought he was pretty good,” said ISU offensive line coach Bill Bleil of Lamaak.

“I always thought he was comparable to Reggie,” Bleil said. “More athletic than Reggie — Reggie had some qualities, too — but they’re very similar.”

Last season six centers were selected in the 255-player draft. The most to be selected in the last five years came in 2006 when nine were chosen.

“If Reggie can make it in the NFL, I’ve got no doubt Ben Lamaak can too,” Bleil said. “Ben’s a good player. I think they [scouts] were really impressed. I think he really helped himself today.”

After his workout Tuesday, Lamaak spent 15 minutes filling out a personality test given to him by the Kansas City Chiefs, one of more than a dozen NFL franchises that were able to talk with and see him perform Tuesday.

“To play at that level I really need to continue to work on everything,” Lamaak said. “But I’ve trained hard for everything, I think [Pro Day] went really well and now I’m anxious to see what happens on Draft Day.”

The NFL Draft will be held in New York City from April 28 to 30.