Former Cyclones Knott, Klein Show Off For NFL Scouts
By Rob Gray, Reporter
AMES, Iowa — The tweets and re-tweets started flying.
Former Iowa State star linebacker A.J. Klein shook his head.
The supposed buzz: He had suffered a “serious knee injury” at last month’s NFL Combine at Indianapolis.
The reality: Vastly different, which Klein pointed out on social media once he caught wind of the trumped-up report.
“That’s how the draft stuff works nowadays,” said Klein, who, before what turned out to be a relatively mild right MCL injury, ran a third-best among linebackers 40-yard dash of 4.66 seconds at the combine. “Everybody wants to be a draft analyst and everybody wants to be the first person to break big news. It’s the kind of competition you have nowadays and sometimes incorrect information is given out. You’ve just got to move on…I don’t hold any grudges.”
Klein, fellow linebacker Jake Knott, defensive tackle Jake McDonough and wide receiver Josh Lenz, among several others, all completed what they described as solid pro days Tuesday at the Bergstrom Football Complex.
Klein and Knott – both of whom are projected by legitimate analysts as mid- to later-round draft picks – were the only Cyclones invited to the combine.
Knott, who was coming off shoulder surgery, didn’t do physical drills at Indianapolis, but put up 20 reps on the bench press at pro day with the bar set at 225 pounds.
“I’m happy with it,” ISU’s sixth all-time leading tackler said.
Knott — who ran a 40 in the 4.7-4.8 range — is also pleased he can now focus primarily on making football plays.
He’s not into guessing where/when he might go, but will take part in a local workout April 5 for his hometown Kansas City Chiefs (Knott went to high school in Waukee).
“Anywhere’s my dream,” Knott said of a possible NFL destination.
McDonough, who said teams such as the Philadelphia Eagles, Indianapolis Colts, Baltimore Ravens and Denver Broncos showed particular interest in him, hardly slept Monday night.
“I kept waking up every hour, it felt like,” he said.
McDonough still managed a personal best-tying 37 reps on the bench — one off the high of 38 reached by just two defensive linemen at the combine.
“I should be at 40,” he said “But it’s OK. I’ll take 37.”
Lenz impressed scouts from more than 20 NFL teams with a sub 4.4 time in the 40.
Unofficially, Lenz clocked a 4.35 and also provided power on the bench, hitting 21 reps.
To put Lenz’s time in perspective, Oklahoma standout Kenny Stills ran a 4.38 at the combine.
“It’s crazy what happens when the adrenaline gets going,” said Lenz, who averaged 15 yards per reception last season. “Came in here, loosened up, felt good.”
So did Klein.
The record’s long been set straight regarding the severity of his injury.
Now it’s time to wait and see — and continue to train.
“There could be surprises,” Klein said of draft day. “The analysts could be 100 percent right. It’s just one of those things. You’ve just to control what you can, come out here and perform and I did that.”
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