Posted on: March 7, 2012 6:55 pm
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Something was missing. Or was it someone?
Somehow, there wasn't much of a buzz Wednesday at Alabama's Pro Day.
Running back Trent Richardson wasn't there. Neither were two former Alabama teammates: safety Mark Barron and outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw.
All but two of the 32 teams were represented at an event at which 14 members of the Crimson Tide's 2011 national championship team performed, but head coaches and all but three general managers stayed away. The Chicago Bears and St. Louis Rams were the teams not represented.
The Buffalo Bills, Tennessee Titans and Pittsburgh Steelers sent their general managers. One of the few recognizable faces was former Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio, now the Denver Broncos' defensive coordinator.
A bigger and better crowd is expected on March 29, when Richardson, Barron and Upshaw are scheduled to perform along with some of the players who participated Wednesday.
Richardson, NFLDraftScout.com's top-ranked running back and a projected first-round pick, still is recovering from minor postseason knee surgery.
Barron, the top-ranked safety by NFLDraftScout.com, is recovering from double-hernia surgery.
Upshaw, ranked second behind South Carolina's Melvin Ingram among outside linebackers, has been plagued by tendinitis in a knee, Alabama coach Nick Saban said Wednesday.
Alabama center William Vlachos, who wasn't among the nine former Alabama players invited to the recent NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, did his best to impress NFL scouts Wednesday, but he stopped short of performing in the event that is his strength: the bench press.
He will wait until March 29 to show how many times he can lift 225 pounds.
"The high-profile guys will be participating in the events then," Vlachos said.
One or two players projected as first-round draft choices were among the players who performed Wednesday. Cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, ranked 15th overall by NFLDraftScout.com, and inside linebacker Dont'a Hightower (28th) were among six Alabama players who had been to the combine but wanted to show off their skills again.
One player whose stock might have fallen at the combine might have improved his status slightly Wednesday.
Cornerback DeQuan Menzie ran the 40-yard dash in 4.74 seconds at Indianapolis. He improved that time to 4.66 seconds Wednesday.
"At the combine, I wasn't relaxed," Menzie said. "I was feeling so much pressure. Here, it was like I was at home, and I could release the pressure and run my best 40."
Menzie came out of the combine rated the 20th best cornerback available in the draft and was projected as a fourth- or fifth-round pick. Some teams might consider him as a free safety.
"I play it all," Menzie said. "I played safety in the Senior Bowl. I played safety in high school. I played corner here. I played in the nickel spot. There's really nothing that I can't handle. Saban put me through that."
Menzie has been training with Kirkpatrick and Hightower. What have they been telling Menzie?
"We've just got to get that money," Menzie said. "That's what Dont'a and Kirk say all the time. 'Go get that money. You've got to have the money on your mind.'"
Vlachos admitted he was disappointed.
"If you look at the top-five consensus defensive tackles in the draft, I blocked all of them and blocked them well," Vlachos said.
In particular, he was referring to Penn State's Devon Still, Michigan State's Jerel Worthy and Mississippi State's Fletcher Cox and Michael Brockers of LSU.
"I can play with all of those guys," Vlachos said. "I think I proved that on film for three years. If these guys are top 15 picks, yes, I think I should have been invited to the Combine."
As a three-year starter, Vlachos said he played most of his college career at 295 pounds. Sensitive to being called small, the 6-foot-1 lineman has worked at gaining weight. He weighed in Wednesday at 319 pounds.
"I put on some weight, and I was able to run very well carrying it," said Vlachos, who ran the 40 in 5.27 seconds. "My arm length and height are not ideal. I also don't want to be light. Being able to run at that weight has got to be a positive for me."
Hightower has been listed at 6-4 throughout his college career. He has been listed as 6-2 by the NFL, but he was measured at 6-0 on Wednesday. Who measured him?"I don't know," Hightower said. "I know I'm 6-3. I'm telling all of y'all: I'm 6-3. I don't know what they're talking about."
He noted that former Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain was measured at 6-2 two years ago.
"They're going to measure me at 6-foot?" Hightower said. "I'm not even taking that. I'm 6-3. For everybody, I'm 6-3."
Neither Hightower, Kirkpatrick nor wide receiver Marquis Maze ran the 40-yard dash Wednesday. Maze and wide receiver Darius Hanks were among the Alabama players who went to Indianapolis. Hanks ran the 40-yard dash in 4.66 seconds then and in 4.69 seconds Wednesday.
Other participants Wednesday and their 40-yard dash times: cornerback Phelon Jones (4.65), tight end Brad Smelley (4.78), outside linebacker Alex Watkins (4.78), outside linebacker Jerrell Harris (4.81), offensive lineman Alfred McCullough (4.82), offensive lineman John Michael Boswell (5.35) and nose guard Nick Gentry (5.66).
Nose guard Josh Chapman, who came to Indianapolis but did not participate in any drills because he is recovering from mid-January knee surgery, participated in the bench press on Wednesday. Lifting for the first time since before the Jan. 9 BCS Championship game, Chapman lifted 225 pounds 29 times.
Posted on: March 7, 2012 3:26 pm
Edited on: March 7, 2012 3:29 pm
I am beginning to get some of the early results from the just concluded Alabama Pro Day but perhaps the biggest story of the day was who wasn't available to work out rather than who was.
Three of the four Crimson Tide prospects currently rated as first round caliber prospects by NFLDraftScout.com did not participate in today's workout. It had been known that running back Trent Richardson (knee) and safety Mark Barron (hernia) would not be working out today. Pass rusher Courtney Upshaw also was unable to workout today due to knee tendinitis. Each is expected to participate in Alabama's second Pro Day workout, scheduled for March 29. All 32 NFL teams were represented today. Expect all 32 to be there March 29, as well.
Of course, the defending national champions boast plenty of talent other than these three -- not the least of which is two other potential first round prospects in cornerback 'Dre Kirkpatrick and inside linebacker Dont'a Hightower.
Neither Kirkpatrick nor Hightower elected to run the 40-yard dash Wednesday after participating in the event at the Combine. Each participated in positional drills.
Hightower did go through other measureable drills, as well, including the three-cone (4.73) and short (20-yard) shuttle (7.55), according to a source on the scene.
For more information on the Alabama Pro Day and all others, keep NFLDraftScout.com and our Pro Day blog posts refreshed.
Posted on: February 28, 2012 2:06 pm
NFLDraftScout.com has four strong cornerback prospects rated as potential first-round picks, and LSU's Morris Claiborne remains at the top of the position as none of the elite prospects particularly stood out during testing drills at the Scouting Combine on Tuesday.
Posted on: February 22, 2012 7:20 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2012 10:32 am
The competition to be the second running back selected in the 2012 NFL Draft will go from one of the more intriguing second tier topics of this week's Scouting Combine to one of the major stories with news Wednesday that Alabama runner Trent Richardson, the unquestioned top talent at the position, won't be able to perform in Indianapolis.
Richardson, NFLDraftScout.com's No. 6 rated overall prospect, underwent minor knee surgery a few weeks ago after initially injuring his knee while preparing for the BCS National Championship, according to NFL.com's Jason LaCanfora.
Though Richardson won't be able to participate in the athletic drills at the Combine, according to the report, he is expected to be able to participate in Alabama's March 7 Pro Day.
(LaCanfora has since reported via Twitter that Richardson will be working out on March 27, raising questions about his availability for Alabama's original Pro Day.)
Assuming that team doctors don't find reason to believe that Richardson will be troubled by the knee in the future, his stock isn't likely to be impacted, according to a league source who shared his thoughts under the condition of anonymity.
"If the doctors say he's okay, it won't change anything. [Richardson] is an elite talent," the scout wrote in a text message.
Considering the physicality with which he plays, however, the injury certainly will be checked out thoroughly by every team. Richardson suffered a slight MCL tear in 2011 and underwent surgery as a sophomore in high school after tearing ligaments in his ankle.
Richardson is currently slated to be a top five draft pick by Dane Brugler and I. Our colleague Pete Prisco has Richardson slipping a bit further but still has the Crimson Tide star earning a pick in the top half of the first round.
Since beating LSU in the BCS Championship, it has been a tough few weeks for several highly rated Alabama players. Prior to news of Richardson's injury, Tide seniors Josh Chapman (nose guard) and Mark Barron (safety) each missed the Senior Bowl due to injuries. Junior cornerback 'Dre Kirkpatrick was arrested (and ultimately had the charges dropped) for marijuana possession.
Richardson finished third in the Heisman voting in 2011 behind only Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck. He won the Doak Walker Award as the nation's elite running back, rushing for 1,583 yards and scoring 23 touchdowns, including the only touchdown in the BCS Championship Game.
NFLDraftScout.com currently lists Virginia Tech's David Wilson, Miami's Lamar Miller, Boise State's Doug Martin and Washington's Chris Polk as the other four backs behind Richardson as the top five talents at the position for the 2012 draft.
Posted on: January 18, 2012 10:12 am
Before the NFL has even officially announced that he (or any other underclassmen) has been granted early eligibility into the 2012 draft, Alabama cornerback 'Dre Kirkpatrick has given scouts reason to question his maturity.
Posted on: January 13, 2012 9:17 am
Edited on: January 13, 2012 9:20 am
The fact that LSU only passed for 53 yards in the BCS Championship game certainly is slowing down their receivers from making the early jump to the NFL.
According to multiple reports LSU junior Rueben Randle will be joining teammates Morris Claiborne, Michael Brockers and fellow receiver Russell Shepard as an early entrant into the 2012 NFL draft.
The news was first reported by TigerSportsDigest.com, which claimed that Randle's decision was made over a family dinner Wednesday and that the papers to be filed with the NFL were sent in Thursday.
While Shepard's decision is a bit puzzling, Randle's jump to the pros had been anticpated. Listed by the official website for LSU athletics at 6-4, 208 pounds, Randle was the Tigers' most productive receiver in 2011. He led the team in catches (53), receiving yards (917), average yards per catch (17.3) and receiving touchdowns (eight) and garnered First Team All-SEC accolades from the conference coaches.
He leaves LSU having started 24 of a possible 39 games and with 94 catches for 1,621 yards and 13 touchdowns over his career.
Though Randle was limited by sticky coverage from Alabama's 'Dre Kirkpatrick throughout much of the team's two battles in 2011 (combined five catches for 32 yards), ironically enough it was Randle's a three-catch, 125 yard effort against the Tide in 2010 that served as his "breakout game." Randle scored a 75 yard touchdown in that contest, the longest of his career. Kirkpatrick was one of three Alabama juniors to announce that they too are leaving the SEC early for the NFL.
Due largely to his rare combination of size and speed, Randle is currently ranked as NFLDraftScout.com's No. 6 receiver for the 2012 draft with a second round grade.
Posted on: January 12, 2012 4:33 pm
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Posted on: July 15, 2011 12:15 pm
Edited on: July 15, 2011 12:23 pm
For the purposes of scouting for the NFL, whether a player makes an all-conference team or not is less important than how I personally grade a player off tape, how a player performs in an all-star game, and many other factors.
It is, however, a tool that scouts can and often do use to ascertain which players rival coaches feel are legitimate difference-makers.
This is especially true in the SEC. The reasons are simple. There is a great deal of individual talent in the conference and a high number of the elite talent leaves early for the NFL as underclassmen, often creating quite a turnover on the all-conference list.
The SEC announced their official Coaches Preseason First, Second and Third all-conference lists this week. There were some surprises.
Here were the five that raised my eyebrow...