On Wednesday, March 11, several former Crimson Tide players will try to take that next step to the dream of all football players of playing in the NFL. The Hank Crisp Indoor Facility will be the site for several seniors trying to catch the eye of an NFL coach or scout.
Eleven Tide players participated in the NFL Combine last month. Pro Day is a second chance to improve on a score or a timed run as well as an opportunity for those not invited to perform for NFL personnel.
The following players are thought to be participating:
DeAndrew White, WR * - Ran a decent 4.44 in the 40 at the Combine. Will need to do some receiving drills.
Blake Sims, QB * - Still wants to be a QB, but an excellent and versatile athlete.
Christion Jones, WR * - Needs to show he is faster than the 4.63 he ran. Also, receiving and ball skills.
Trey DePriest, LB * - Health is a concern. Lateral speed and movement are key for him.
Jalston Fowler, RB * - Showing off strength is important for "Nudie" but he'll have to show he can catch as well.
Xzavier Dickson, LB * - He could profit from improving on an okay showing at the Combine.
Arie Kouandjio, OL * - Showing his health is definitely vital to catching a coach's eye.
Austin Shepherd, OL * - A move to guard is likely. He needs to improve on his Combine numbers.
Nick Perry, DB - Not invited to the Combine, he'll have to wow scouts in the 40, jumps, and cone drills.
Jarrick Williams, DB - Same as Perry.
Leon Brown, OL - Not invited to the combine, he'll need to put up some big numbers.
Brian Vogler, TE - His future is as a blocking tight end or an interior lineman. He will need to show that he is healthy, strong, and explosive.
T.J. Yeldon, RB * - The junior ran a good 40 at the Combine (4.61), so it is unlikely he runs again but he might need to show his wares in a running back rich NFL Draft to show he is healthy. Also, receiving drills.
Amari Cooper, WR * - Projected as a top ten pick.
Landon Collins, S * - Projected as top half first round pick.
(* Participated in the NFL Combine Feb. 17 – 23, 2015.)
Each player is measured by height, weight, arm span, hand span, chest, and more. The following are the most popular drills (click links for video):
- Standing Long Jump - How many of you did this event back on Field Day in your formative years? It hasn't changes one iota. Flat footed, no rocking, see how far you can jump straight forward. It tests explosiveness and balance.
- Vertical Jump - Another explosiveness test, this jump is measured by the difference between how high one can reach flat-footed and the leap. Again, there is no rocking or taking a step back. This drill favors wide receivers and defensive backs.
- 225 lbs. Bench Press - One of the most basic drills: How many times can you bench press 225 pounds? This tests strength but also endurance. This drill does not care if a guy can bench 600 pounds. It is how long can you keep going.
- 40 Yard Dash - The 40 is the big headline grabber but you may not know that scouts time each player at the 10 yard mark, 20 yard mark, and finally the 40. Despite what may be perceived as a slow 40 time, for an offensive lineman for instance, the 10 and 20 are more important.
- 20 Yard Shuttle - Also known as a "5-10-5", the participant starts in the middle of two cones spaced 10 yards apart. From a three-point stance, he will run five yards to the left cone, 10 yards back to the right cone and then five yards back to the starting point (20 yards total). Scouts will make a competitor do it over if he misses a touch. It measures quickness and change of direction.
- 60 Yard Shuttle - Back in the day, we called this "suicides" but I guess that is not politically correct anymore. Run 5 yards and back, 10 yards and back, and then 15 yards and back (60 yards total). At each point, you must touch the ground. Again, a ground touch is needed at each point.
- 3-Cone Drill - Another drill about quickness and the ability to change direction, this one is hard to explain, so just watch the video.
If a scout is interested in a certain player or players, they may do other one-on-one drills. Sometimes these are position specific drills such as blocking, but they can also test how well a guy takes directions and how receptive he is to coaching.
Tom Luginbill will host a live telecast alongside Booger McFarland, and former Crimson Tide quarterback Greg McElroy on the SEC Network beginning at 11:00 am CT. It will also be available on the SECNetwork+ at espn3.com.
- Amari Cooper, Landon Collins, Blake Sims and Jarrick Williams did not run the 40.
- Blake Sims was seen throwing with a scout early on.
- Dee Hart (participating) and Kevin Norwood are also in the house.
- Cris Carter is reporting for ESPN (Duron has yet to make an appearance).
- Cooper and Collins are running drills.
- Some unofficial 40 times: DeAndrew White a blazing 4.38, Christion Jones 4.51 (a marked improvement over his Combine time), Xzavier Dickson turned in a great time of 4.67, Trey DePriest a disappointing 4.80.
- DePriest did not run the 3-Cone Drill.
- Sims throwing drills to Cooper, White, Jones, Yeldon, and Vogler.
- There is a pretty big crowd of non-scouts watching.
- White is looking really good, improving his stock today.
- Four scouts greeted Cooper after the red zone passing drills including one from the Raiders (#4 pick) and one from the Browns (#12).
- Sims throwing to backs out of the backfield: Yeldon, Fowler, and Dee Hart.
- Sims has now joined the backs running receiving routes.
- Fowler makes a one-handed catch drawing howls from the crowd.
- Skills players are done and they move on to OL: Shepherd, Kouandjio, Vogler, and Brown.
- Former Bama assistant, current Bears WR coach Mike Groh is in attendance.
- DeAndrew White and Christion Jones both recorded 10' 4" in the broad jump.
- Vinnie Sunseri is in the house.
- Shepherd looks very quick in blocking drills, excellent footwork.
- Reports that the Saints have at least 5 staff members in attendance.
- Collins with 16 reps on the bench press.
- Collins and Perry doing DB drills. Williams is not. Not sure why.
- Even though his future is likely with his hand in the dirt, Dickson is doing linebacker drills with DePriest and he looks sharp.
- Anthony Orr and Jarrick Williams lingering on the side.
- Vogler told reporters he ran his 40 in the 4.7s. Reports of 17 reps.
- White said some scouts told him that he ran between 4.34 and 4.37.
- Austin Shepherd said he ran a 5.2 - much better than the 5.39 he ran at the Combine.
- T.J. Yeldon said he ran a 4.4.
- Trey DePriest claimed 21 reps on the bench press.
- Nick Perry said he ran a 4.6, did 7 bench press reps, and had a 32-inch vertical.
STARS OF THE DAY (not named "Collins" or "Cooper"):
- Xzavier Dickson and DeAndrew White looked the best.
- Austin Shepherd and Arie Kouandjio looked sharp, as did Jalston Fowler and T.J. Yeldon.
- Blake Sims was no Andrew Luck but threw a TON of passes and did well.