Position change, snow punts, big crowd: Observations from CMU football's pro day

Offensive lineman Bernhard Raimann performs a blocking drill, Tuesday March 15, in the Indoor Athletic Complex.

In front of representatives from all 32 NFL teams, Central Michigan football's 2022 draft prospects took center stage in the Indoor Athletic Complex Tuesday for the program's pro day. 

The Chippewas sent 10 prospects out, along with a total of six other athletes from nearby schools Ferris State and Saginaw Valley State. The prospects went through the broad jump, long jump, 40-yard dash, 3-cone drill and 20-yard shuttle before getting into a series of position specific drills. 

Here are observations from the event: 

Raimann draws attention

With prized offensive line prospect Bernhard Raimann putting his skills to the test Tuesday, it was no surprise to see a selection of NFL personnel in attendance. Among them was Detroit Lions offensive coach Hank Fraley, who helped lead individual drills during the offensive line session. 

Fraley put the participating offensive linemen, four in total, through a series of drills specific to the offensive line position. Because of this, Raimann and fellow offensive line prospect Luke Goedeke got first hand instruction from an NFL assistant. 

Raimann said he had met with Lions scouts at the combine but said his workout with Fraley was the first time he'd met with a member of the organization. 

"Getting to know him now, it's great," Raimann said. 

Raimann has had 10 official meetings with NFL teams, along with several informal meetings. A majority of these meetings took place at the NFL Scouting Combine, which he attended from March 1-7. 

The four-year Chippewa also played at the Senior Bowl, alongside Goedeke, in February. The pre-draft process has claimed Raimann, who has spent the entirety of his offseason working to catch the eye of NFL teams and prove himself worthy of an early selection. 

"This whole process, it's been a crazy process," Raimann said. "Obviously, all this stuff you usually only see on TV. Then, getting to experience it yourself, it's been one hell of a ride." 

Following his workout, the Steinbrunn, Austria native did indeed meet with Fraley and the Lions organization. Raimann did not run the 40-yard dash at the pro day but posted a 5.05-second time at the Combine. 

Pimpleton goes outside, catches punts with former NFL head coach

In a unique twist, CMU receiver Kalil Pimpleton went outside following his performance in positional drills. He showed off his speed in the 40, clocked at 4.48 by an NFL evaluator. However, after he did agility drills and caught passes, he bounded through the tunnel and out the doors of the Chippewa Champions Center amidst snowy conditions. 

For the next roughly 30 minutes, Pimpleton stood with his heels on the end zone of Kelly/Shorts Stadium catching punts under the guidance of New England Patriots offensive assistant Joe Judge. 

Formerly the head coach of the New York Giants, Judge returned to New England this offseason in an assistant role under head coach Bill Belichick. He was on campus Tuesday, guiding Pimpleton as he hauled in booming kicks. 

Pimpleton did a variety of drills, first by catching punts in a traditional matter. This turned to him starting with his back to the punter and he finished by catching the kicks one-handed. After working briefly on kickoffs, he ended his workout by meeting with Judge and the Patriots. 

Hairston tries new position, hoping to catch on

In an effort to show his versatility, Troy Hairston II went through workouts as a tight end Tuesday. The 5-foot-11, 245 pound defensive end was the 2020 co-Mid-American Conference Defensive Player of the Year, but spent Tuesday catching passes from quarterback Daniel Richardson. 

By showing this ability, Hairston strengthens his ability to catch on with a pro team. After all, late round and undrafted selections better their odds to play at the next level with versatility. 

The prospect from Birmingham is considered undersized at his defensive end position, but took on the pass-catching responsibilities in a similar fashion to that of former CMU prospect Joe Ostman during his respective pro day.