March 4, 2014

Tigers on display


AUBURN | Representatives from all 32 NFL organizations descended upon the Indoor Practice Facility on Tuesday to evaluate the Tigers' latest collection of professional prospects.

They didn't disappoint.

Defensive end Dee Ford, who was scratched from the NFL Combine with a back problem, assembled an intriguing array of measureables. Defensive backs Chris Davis, Ryan Smith, Ryan White, fullback Jay Prosch and little-known defensive back Blake Poole also posted numbers that will earn them at least token interest from professional scouts.

"We feel like we're sending a very good group to the next level," coach Gus Malzahn said afterward. "I've heard very good comments from a lot of scouts. Not just the talent level, but how our guys are handling themselves. That's very important to me."

Left tackle Greg Robinson remains the class' biggest draw. He was measured and weighed Tuesday (6-foot-5 and 327 pounds) but declined an opportunity to participate in drills. His numbers from the NFL Combine already have him listed unanimously as a top-10 pick.

There was little room for improvement there.

Robinson did break a sweat, though, when St. Louis Rams assistant coach Paul Boudreau spent 15 minutes putting the junior though the pass-block paces. The Rams hold the No. 2 pick this year and the two men were spotted together several times Tuesday.

"We were just trying to get to know each other because we only had 15 minutes when I was in Indianapolis," Robinson said. "He was just trying to pick my brain and test me on football and stuff like that. It was really just more time (to) get to know me."

As for players who participated in combine drills Tuesday, Ford was the clear winner. He measured 6-foot-2 and 244 pounds. He then posted a broad jump of 10-4, bettered only by cornerback Ryan White, and a vertical jump of 35.5 inches.

Only Davis and Poole put up better numbers there.

Ford was timed (unofficially) at 4.53 in the 40-yard dash and clearly impressed scouts with his acceleration in the three-cone drill. He also was asked to perform a few impromptu drills, which included accelerating quickly after jumping over several tackling dummies and running figure eights while picking up and putting down tennis balls in different spots along the way.

"I'm very pleased. I put in a lot of work," he said. "I'm so excited about the drills that I was not able to do before -- that I was kind of caught off guard with. Those are things that I can work on. That is a big (thing) for me, something that I can really work on. I'm going to be better next time."

Other standouts included Davis' event-leading vertical jump (40.5 inches), White's broad jump of 10-5, Jay Prosch's 27 repetitions on the 225-pound bench press and Poole's 4.42 time in the 40.

Tailback Tre Mason, who is expected to be drafted in the second or third round, participated in the three-cone drill and caught some passes.

Malzahn watched contently as his players competed.

"Anytime you've got all the teams represented out here to watch our guys perform, that's a good thing," Malzahn said. "That's a good thing for the future. That's what our program expects." is your source for: College Football | Football Recruiting | College Basketball | Basketball Recruiting | College Baseball | High School | College Merchandise
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