NFL: Humble Haeg hopes to be draft pick
Sports Illustrated is writing about him. So is www.120sports.com, an online subsidiary of Sports Illustrated. He's been featured by several newspapers and TV stations in different states. --- Joe Haeg Position: Left offensive tackle Height: 6-foo...
Sports Illustrated is writing about him.
So is www.120sports.com , an online subsidiary of Sports Illustrated.
He's been featured by several newspapers and TV stations in different states.
Position: Left offensive tackle
Weight: 304 pounds
College: North Dakota State University
High school: Brainerd (2011 graduate)
Hometown: Lake Shore
Parents: Richard and Janet Haeg
Why are so many media interested in talking to Joe Haeg? The former Brainerd High School standout walked on at North Dakota State University, developed into a star offensive lineman and is projected to be selected in the NFL Draft April 28-30. The New England Patriots are one of many teams rumored to be interested in picking Haeg.
How is the humble Haeg, who plans to watch the draft with his immediate family at their Lake Shore home, coping with the fanfare?
"It's been a little crazy at times," he said by phone from Fargo, N.D., last week, "but for the most part it's been a great experience. It's been a blast. I'm just excited to see what's next."
While waiting for the draft, Haeg is undergoing private workouts with NFL teams in Fargo where he has returned after participating in the NFL Combine in Indianapolis and NDSU's Pro Day.
"I've already had four or five (private workouts) and I probably will have some more," he said. "(NFL) coaches come to Fargo and work me out. That's the main stuff I'm doing right now, keeping in shape, getting stronger, trying to get ready for after the draft and for OTAs (Organized Team Activities)."
In preparation for the combine and pro day, Haeg was in Arizona working out at EXOS. Its website touts it as the "leader in integrated performance training, nutrition and physical therapy for elite and professional athletes." Haeg signed with sports agent Andy Ross of Select Sports Group.
Depending on what day it is and which website you visit, he's projected to be one of the first 100-150 players picked. NFLDraftScout.com ranks Haeg the 12th-best offensive tackle and projects him to be selected in the third or fourth round (117th player taken).
Haeg has positioned himself to be a draftee after a stellar career at NDSU which won four FCS national titles during his four-year tenure as a starter. He was named to 10 All-America teams, was a finalist for the 2015 STATS FCS Offensive Player of the Year (he finished 13th), was the College Sporting News Offensive Lineman of the Year twice, was a two-time All-Missouri Valley Football Conference first-team selection, and was named MVFC Offensive Lineman of the Week five times.
In January, he was selected to play in the Senior Bowl but sat out with a shoulder injury.
According to nfl.com, Haeg turned in the top performance by an offensive tackle at the NFL Combine Feb. 23-29 in broad jump, 3-cone drill and shuttle run. Other tests included 40-yard dash, bench press and vertical jump.
In addition, executives, coaches, scouts and doctors from all 32 NFL teams conduct intense four-day job interviews at the Combine.
"I thought it went well," Haeg said. "I was there for 4-5 days. A lot of it actually goes on not in front of TV, like the big interviews, a lot of medical exams. I think I did great at all that stuff. (That) Friday I went out and ran and I think I showed a lot of my athleticism."
March 24, Haeg was one of 10 Bison who were tested during NDSU's Pro Day in Fargo. Representatives from 18 NFL teams were in attendance including Hue Jackson, head coach of the Cleveland Browns who have the No. 2 overall pick. More than 40 local and national reporters were in Fargo in addition to television crews from ESPN and NFL Network along with NFL Films.
"That was an awesome experience," Haeg said. "Being able to be out there one more time with some of my teammates. It was great to get all this attention for NDSU. I think it's well-deserved. It was awesome for a lot of other players that were participating in the pro day who weren't able to go to the combine. It almost was a combine-type atmosphere at the Fargodome. It was cool to see and to watch everyone else out there competing."
Bison quarterback Carson Wentz was the center of attention. He's projected to be a first-round draft pick.
"It's definitely weird, seeing him on ESPN on all the time," Haeg said. "But it's all well-deserved. He's a great player, a great guy. He's going to fit into the role most teams need him to do."
Although he was unable to play due to injury, Haeg's journey to become an NFL prospect began Jan. 30 at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala.
"On the first practice (that) Tuesday, I ended up spraining the AC joint in my left shoulder," he said. "Normally it's not too big of a problem. A lot of times, guys will just inject it with numbing medicine. It's not too dangerous to play with, but I wasn't able to get any (medicine) for the game and we didn't want to risk reinjuring it.
"But I stayed there. I still finished all my meetings, went to all the position meetings, all the interviews."
Before hopefully heading to an NFL training camp in July, Haeg will serve as grand marshal of the Brainerd Lakes Area Fourth of July Celebration.
"That's definitely an honor to receive," he said. "I'm not a guy who likes to be the center of attention but I think it's an honor. I'm very excited to participate in that."
MIKE BIALKA may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 218-855-5861. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bertsballpark .