Spring practices kicked off over the weekend with Texas A&M and Georgia both hitting the practice field on Saturday, but another rite of spring is pro day.
Auburn kicked off the spring cycle of pro day festivities on Tuesday, with several former Tigers looking to impress pro scouts on the Plains.
What did we learn at Auburn's pro day?
Onterio McCalebb Has a Future at the Next Level
McCalebb lit up the Internet at the NFL scouting combine in February, clocking an unofficial 4.21 in the 40-yard dash, which would have been the fastest mark since they started timing electronically. His time was later changed to a 4.34. Not as impressive, but still the fastest mark among running backs.
McCalebb impressed scouts again on Tuesday, clocking a 4.29 in the 40, an 11.17 second 60-yard shuttle run and a 37-inch vertical. All three marks would have been in the top five among running backs at the combine.
No, NFL games are not played in shorts, and measurables are only part of the overall equation. But in the ever-changing world of the NFL, where spread offenses have finally become part of the playbook, there will be a place for McCalebb.
Even if he's only used in specific situations, specialization is becoming a bigger part of the game and he surely can make an impact as a kickoff returner.
Daren Bates Played Out of Position in College
Bates was a SEC All-Freshman performer as a safety in 2009, but dropped down to play linebacker from 2010-12.
It wasn't a failed experiment. Bates led the Tigers in tackles in 2011 and 2012 and was the only reliable linebacker on the defensive side of the ball.
Bates worked out as a safety during Auburn's pro day and definitely showed that he has the speed to play at the next level. He ran a 4.53 in the 40-yard dash, which was the time LSU star safety Eric Reid notched at the combine.
The rest of his workout was rather uneventful, but his 40 time will certainly raise a few eyebrows as he looks to make the transition back to his natural position.
It's a Process for Corey Lemonier
Athleticism was never a problem for former defensive end Corey Lemonier. He proved that last month in Indianapolis where he was one of the top defensive line performers at the NFL Scouting Combine.
That's all well and good, but with so many teams running a 3-4 in the NFL, Lemonier needs to prove that he has what it takes to stand up and be an outside linebacker to fully maximize his draft value.
Lemonier jumped one inch higher (34) at Auburn's pro day than he did at the combine. He also participated in linebacker drills to prove that he is quick enough to drop back in coverage.
He's so athletic, that Lemonier will absolutely find a home at the next level earlier in the draft than later. His pro day wasn't about wowing scouts, it was about adding that next layer to his game in order to solidify his draft stock.
Tape Should be More Important for Philip Lutzenkirchen
Lutzenkirchen missed the second half of Auburn's season, after a hip injury ended his college career in mid-October.
He's still rehabbing the injury, but that didn't stop him from participating in pro day or the combine. The former Tiger tight end didn't exactly wow scouts with a 4.96 40-yard dash, 112-inch standing broad jump and 32-inch vertical.
Not great, but not bad considering he's not at 100 percent.
"I’m about two weeks to a month away from 100 percent," he told AuburnTigers.com. "I’m right at four months post-op, and they say it’s six months to 100 percent, so I’m close."
Stats don't matter for Lutzenkirchen. He proved during his Tiger career that he has the ability to get open, especially in the red zone. That's an asset that won't go unnoticed.
Emory Blake Better Hope That Tape is More Important Too
Blake caught passes from his dad, former NFL quarterback Jeff Blake, on Tuesday. Probably a more nerve-racking experience for dad than Emory.
But no matter who was throwing the passes, Emory Blake's measurables weren't eye-popping—a 4.62 40-yard dash, a 120-inch broad jump and a 36.5-inch vertical are all good. But good enough to get drafted?
If you watched him play during his four-year Auburn career, absolutely.
Blake knows how to get open, runs crisp routes and has good hands. Does that mean that he will be a top tier draft pick? Of course not. But he's good enough to catch on somewhere. When he does, he will make an impact.
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