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Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR FALLS — Former Northern Iowa defensive end Elerson G. Smith and offensive tackle Spencer Brown polished their NFL draft resumés at Monday evening's Pro Day inside the UNI-Dome.
Forty-four NFL scouts and personnel came to Cedar Falls to watch the two former FCS All-Americans who arrived at UNI in 2016 as under-recruited, undersized prospects with personality and promising frames to stir coach Mark Farley's instincts enough to offer both scholarships.
'It was a surreal moment sitting and watching these guys. They had the entire NFL sitting here watching (them),' Farley said. 'Throughout all the years what nobody saw was all the hard work these two put into it. I remember when Elerson came to our first football camp and I remember the day that I stopped at the school of Spencer Brown's. I'm very, very happy for them.'
Smith — regarded as a likely day two or three selection (rounds 2-7) — sent scouts' eyes wide when he posted a 41 1/2-inch vertical jump.
A veteran NFL scout told The Gazette when asked how many defensive ends he's seen jump that high, 'You can count them on one hand.'
Smith reached 26 repetitions in the bench press, broad jumped 10 feet, 7 inches, ran a 4.39 pro-agility drill and a 4.71 40-yard dash.
'I was expecting to jump high, but I didn't know that I had that in me, so I was excited about that,' Smith said. '(I've) enjoyed the process. I don't want to take anything for granted at this point. I'm excited with what happened today.'
Asked about going from a little-known, undersized and underrecruited prospect to a possible second- or third-round pick in the NFL Draft, the Minneapolis native credited position coach Bryce Paup, along with going up against Brown in practice each day.
'I can't give (coach Paup) enough credit,' Smith said. 'He's pretty much taught me everything I know about the position at this point.'
'Other than Tristan Wirfs — probably a guy to compare (Brown) to on a skill level — I'd maybe even put him above that just because I've seen Spencer's best.'
Brown — who's appeared in mock drafts as high as late first round — put up 29 bench press repetitions, ran a 4.88 40-yard dash and completed the pro-agility drill in 4.44.
Brown said training with former San Francisco 49ers left tackle Joe Staley has 'blown the door open' on his preparation for the NFL.
'It went well (today),' Brown said. Everybody has good things to say, but with that is things I've got to work on. It's just really awesome to see all these coaches (and scouts) here and just incorporate things that they want to see me grown on.'