Former Cyclones try to quiet skeptics at Pro Day; share Combine stories

Breece Hall and Charlie Kolar talk to each other during Iowa State’s Pro Day on Tuesday at the Bergstrom Football Complex.

Matt Belinson

AMES — Iowa State football welcomed back some of the program’s most transformational players at the Cyclones’ Pro Day on Tuesday, offering NFL evaluators one last look at the prospects before the NFL Draft in April.

Breece Hall, Mike Rose, Brock Purdy, Chase Allen, Charlie Kolar and others participated in position-specific drills, mingled with NFL scouts and showed their skills to interested teams and those who had questions about their abilities.

A total of 31 teams and 49 scouts attended Iowa State’s Pro Day, according to an Iowa State spokesperson.

Breece Hall

One of the biggest spotlights of the day was put on Hall after his impressive showing at the NFL Combine on March 4.

The 6-foot-1 running back turned heads with his official 4.39 40-yard dash time and a 40-inch vertical in Indianapolis, giving him added confidence in his position as the number one running back in this draft class.

Pro Day was his last chance to shut down the skeptics, to which he said there are some towards the two-time Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year.

“I knew what I was going to do,” Hall said Tuesday. “[I] knew I was going to have a good broad [jump], good [vertical jump], knew I was going to run a good 40. Going into some of the formal meetings, coaches were thinking I was going to run a high 4.4 or 4.5 and I’m like, ‘Alright, we’re going to see.'”

Hall rushed for 3,941 yards and 50 touchdowns in his Cyclone career, earning Heisman Trophy votes in the last two seasons.

He didn’t run the 40-yard dash at Pro Day but was more than happy to share stories of what teams thought of his speed before his Combine workout.

“I was like, ‘Ok, it was a challenge,’ but it kind of pissed me off too, just the fact that you question my speed,” Hall said of teams predicting he’d run a 4.4 or higher at the Combine.

Teams told Hall they wanted to see more of him in the passing game and how he runs routes, which is what Hall spent most of his Pro Day working on.

Hall said teams liked his footwork and his ability to run crisp routes.

“Just my size, my athletic ability, my playmaking ability, I just feel like it’s second to none,” Hall said. “No other running back can do what I can do with the ball in my hands.”

Hall did share a light-hearted story of an interview he did with the Philadelphia Eagles at the Combine where he wasn’t exactly tested for his football ability.

Charlie Kolar

Kolar worked with his partner in crime Chase Allen in tight end drills at Pro Day, working to change teams’ perceptions of his athletic ability.

Proving people wrong was the first thing Kolar mentioned when asked what he thought he showed teams Tuesday.

“That I’m a much better athlete than people think I am,” Kolar said.

The three-time First Team All-Big 12 selection said teams want to be able to match film with the live-look they get from players and always want the best data available. The NFL is a billion-dollar industry and is all about incoming player talent and needing to get as much as they can right about a player.

Kolar had 13 reps on the bench press and worked with his former quarterback, Brock Purdy, in downfield passing drills. Kolar didn’t drop a single pass at Pro Day.

Kolar caught 168 passes for 2,181 yards and 23 touchdowns as a Cyclone.

“I wanted to show that my film and everything backs up with what I can do,” Kolar said.

Brock Purdy

Brock Purdy, the winningest quarterback in Iowa State history, knew he needed to show NFL representatives his skills Tuesday.

In a draft class not seen as overly deep with quarterbacks, Purdy said he wanted teams to see his ability to move and scramble and make on-target throws, along with his deep ball down the field.

Purdy threw for close to 20 minutes in a scripted set of passes with Hall, Allen, Kolar and other targets catching passes.

His Cyclone career speaks for itself, owning the most passing yards (12,170) and touchdown passes (81) in school history. But at the NFL level, his tape in college won’t show his records or stats. It’ll show who he truly is as a quarterback, and he said that’s all you can ask for from potential teams.

“Film overrides everything, right. I believe in that and everything,” Purdy said. “But honestly, my progression from the end of that Clemson game up to this point in terms of how I throw the football, how I move, I think I’ve gotten lightyears better.”

The 2022 NFL Draft takes place April 28-30 in Paradise, Nev.