NFL draft diary: North Dakota State QB Easton Stick avoids pro day setback
Former North Dakota State quarterback Easton Stick had one of the most prolific college football careers of any player in recent history, winning three FCS championships in four seasons in Fargo as Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz's successor. Throughout the process leading up to the NFL draft, Stick will be producing a draft diary for USA TODAY Sports, as told to Lorenzo Reyes. His second entry details how he prepared for his pro day and almost had to come up with a plan B for the whole thing.
We were scheduled to have our pro day March 28 inside our bubble on NDSU’s campus when I got a call two weeks out. They told me the doors on part of the bubble had collapsed because we had gotten so much snow in Fargo and there was a possibility we wouldn’t be able to use it. They shut it down and they had work that needed to be done. The FargoDome wasn’t available because a rodeo was in town. So here I am, scrambling a little bit, trying to find alternatives.
I called one of my agents, Nima Zarrabi, and I’m freaking out a little bit. There’s a school about an hour north that has an indoor facility and we were contemplating whether that was going to be an option. We were juggling alternative plans while waiting to see if they could fix up the bubble. Fortunately, the company that installed the bubble sent guys over immediately as soon as they figured out what was wrong. They fixed it up and got it taken care of. The NDSU athletic department and our assistant athletic director of athletic performance Jim Kramer went above and beyond to make sure our pro day could take place as initially planned. I got back to Fargo on the 23rd and you would’ve never guessed anything was wrong. It was perfect. We had no issues at all, and I think it’s just a credit to the support our program gets from the community.
So get this. Before I went to California in January to train for the combine, we had to move out of my senior year house when the season was done because our lease was up. One of my good friends and old roommates who played on the team, Eric Bachmeier, his mom lives in town in Fargo, but she’s in Phoenix for the winter. So their house was empty. Another old roommate and teammate, Darrius Shepherd, moved into the house in January. Eric is back and forth from Minneapolis, and he was in and out the last few months. There was an extra room, so I took that over. But there’s no Wi-Fi, no TV, no nothing. Just a place to sleep. You definitely can focus. There are no distractions.
For pro day, there were two things we really wanted to focus on. One, showing that I was athletic and could make throws from different angles and different movements, inside the pocket or outside. That’s a strength of my game. And, two, to show there wasn’t a throw on the field I couldn’t make. A lot of deep outs and deep comebacks, a lot of vertical stuff off of play action down the field that challenges arm strength. I thought pro day was really good. It was a lot of fun to be around the guys on campus. Since I didn’t have to run or do any of that other stuff, I got to support and encourage my teammates. For me, I think we answered the questions we needed to answer. About 25 teams were represented, and I met with a few coaches and different teams the day before and right after pro day.
Rather than go back to California, I’m going to stay in Fargo and be in and out until the draft. So I’ll be roughing it in the same house with no internet or TV until then. Throughout the day, I’ll study and do what I can to get better. At night, we play cards or go out to dinner. We have a Super Nintendo, so that’s been fun, playing some Super Mario World.
But my focus has shifted to the pre-draft visits. I haven’t gone on any yet, but I have some coming up quickly. I’m throwing in the bubble, and working out at a gym called Rise Training and Fitness, owned by one of my old teammates and good buddies, Chase Morlock. He’s one of the hardest-working dudes I know, so I go in there and he pushes me pretty good.
I feel really good in the fact that I’ve done everything I could to work hard and make sure I was prepared for those major milestones like the combine and pro day. Right now it’s about seeing if I can make one last push and ironing things out. It’s a weird state, being in limbo. I’m a little anxious because you don’t want to focus too much on where you’re going to be because I really have no control over what’s going to happen. I’m just trying to be ready for when it happens, trying to work hard to get into shape, so that when I get somewhere I’m ready to go.