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: 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 12, 2012 4:33 pm
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Posted on: January 12, 2012 3:46 pm
Edited on: January 12, 2012 3:49 pm
All-Americans running back Trent Richardson and cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick announced they will be forgoing their final year of eligibility at Alabama and entering the 2012 NFL Draft. Both were part of a pair of national championship teams in three years in Tuscaloosa.
Tidesports.com reported that linebacker junior Dont'a Hightower will also leave the Crimson Tide.
The 5-foot-11, 224-pound Richardson was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy and won the Doak Walker Award as the nation's top running back in 2011 after setting a single-season school record with 1,679 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns. He broke the record set by 2010 first-round pick Mark Ingram, and is the top-rated running back prospect by NFLDraftScout.com and the No. 7 overall prospect.
Richardson is a powerful inside runner who presses the line of scrimmage and has surprising speed for his relatively short, thick frame. A tough runner who will initiate contact, Richardson is widely expected to be the first running back selected in April. NFLDraftScout.com analysts Rob Rang and Dane Brugler both currently have Richardson going fifth overall to Tampa Bay.
"I am going to leave here and try to represent Alabama in a Class A way," Richardson said.
Kirkpatrick is the No. 2-rated cornerback by NFLDraftScout.com, behind only LSU's Morris Claiborne, who also announced Thursday that he's leaving after his junior season. Kirkpatrick is the No. 10 overall prospect, with Rang having him going seventh to Jacksonville and Brugler predicting him to go No. 6 overall to Washington.
"It was a blessing to have an opportunity for (Alabama) to open their doors the way they did to me and my family," Kirkpatrick said. "This is a family decision, and I am going to be leaving, going to the NFL, to try to better myself and better my talent."
Kirkpatrick had 30 tackles and nine pass breakups in 2011 possesses. He has excellent height and athleticism at 6-2, 192 to be a potential shutdown corner in the NFL. He has the long arms to be effective as a press corner and good recovery speed. He's not as experienced in zone coverage, but has shown the instincts to read the quarterback and break on the ball. Kirkpatrick is also noted for his physicality and willingness as a blocker in the ground game.
"We are 100 percent supportive of both of these young men in terms of what their choice is and what they choose to do," coach Nick Saban said of Richardson and Kirkpatrick. "They've been great ambassadors, great representatives for the University of Alabama as people, students and football players."
Hightower, who was not at the press conference, is also a potential first-round pick. He is the No. 2 inside linebacker according to NFLDraftScout.com, behind only Boston College's Luke Kuechly. A redshirt junior, he spent four years at Alabama and is the No. 26 rated prospect overall. He had 85 tackles, including 11 for loss, four sacks and an interception this season.
Posted on: April 4, 2011 1:25 pm
Edited on: April 4, 2011 1:26 pm
Alabama QB Greg McElroy and TE/FB Preston Dial are scheduled to work out in Tuscaloosa on Tuesday along with South Alabama WR Courtney Smith, according to a report by NFL.com.
McElroy, who is rated as a fifth-round pick by NFLDraftScout.com, had surgery on his throwing hand for an injury suffered at the Senior Bowl and was unable to throw at the scouting combine or at Alabama's pro day. Dial has been bothered by a sports hernia. Undersized to play a traditional tight end role in the NFL, he's viewed as a potential late-round pick as an H-Back prospect.
McElroy worked with Smith at the Senior Bowl, and it will be a vital workout for the raw wideout. Smith was not invited to the combine and is also viewed as a late-round prospect or priority free agent by NFLDraftScout.com. He has excellent size at 6-feet-4 and 223 pounds, and would benefit greatly if he can improve upon his 4.65 40.
--Derek Harper, NFLDraftScout.com Executive Editor
Posted on: March 10, 2010 5:50 pm
Alabama inside linebacker Rolando McClain had appeared to solidify his stock as a likely first round pick with a pair of solid times in the 40-yard dash early during his Pro Day, but labored through the rest of his drills before getting sick. He later told scouts and media assembled at the Alabama Pro Day that he was suffering from Chron's Disease -- and has suffered from it since he was a freshman in high school.
Chron's Disease, according to WebMD.com is "a chronic inflammatory disease of the intestines. It primarily causes ulcerations (breaks in the lining) of the small and large intestines..."
Common symptoms of Crohn's include abdominal pain, loss of appetite, fever, and weight loss, among others. The disease affects an estimated two million Americans. Those inflicted have varying levels of severity, ranging from mild to quite severe.
The news of McClain's admission spread like wildfire over the internet creating panic. Would this drop McClain out of the first round? Is he still even a draftable prospect?
According to two veteran scouts I texted, the admission is much ado about nothing.
"Non-factor" one scout replied after I asked him how much McClain's Crohn's disease would impact his team's grading of the Butkus Award-winner.
The other scout was more specific.
"Jax QB has it. He's not had problems."
The Jax QB the second source was referring to is Jacksonville Jaguars starter David Garrard, whose testimony about his life with the disease isn't nearly as rosy as the one scouts laid out. Garrard, in fact, after trying various different prescriptions and losing 35 pounds, was ultimately forced to undergo surgery that removed "about a foot" of his intestines.
It would appear that wise teams will make sure to speak with their team doctors before making any final judgement on how Crohn's could impact McClain in the long run.