After reaching the National Championship Game this past season, it should come as no surprise that Auburn boasts several top NFL draft prospects. They got a chance to showcase their talents at Tuesday's pro day.
While all 15 players who participated could potentially be drafted come May, most of the talk focused on offensive tackle Greg Robinson, whose stock has skyrocketed as of late thanks largely to an impressive performance at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine.
Because of his combine showing, however, Robinson was mostly content to allow those numbers to speak for themselves, which led to his teammates taking center stage.
As expected, there was a heavy NFL presence at Auburn University as scouts for all 32 NFL teams were in attendance, according to Auburn Football on Twitter:
There was plenty of excitement surrounding the workout, and Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn offered some words of encouragement beforehand:
Looking forward to watching our guys compete during pro day! Good luck guys!— Coach Gus Malzahn (@CoachGusMalzahn) March 4, 2014
Along with Robinson, here is a full listing of the current and former Auburn players who participated Tuesday, courtesy of AL.com's Brandon Marcello:
Auburn's Pro Day is here. pic.twitter.com/E8lG1WZvtZ— Brandon Marcello (@bmarcello) March 4, 2014
Robinson certainly appears to be a surefire top-five pick in the draft after wowing scouts at the combine. That continued at his pro day, but it came in the form of his measurables rather than his on-field performance as he displayed an NFL body, per Ryan Black of the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer:
A few measurements/weights: Chris Davis: 5-9 Tre Mason: 5-8 and a half, 205 Greg Robinson: 6-5, 327— WarEagleExtra (@wareagleextra) March 4, 2014
Robinson didn't do much in terms of on-field work, although he did participate in position drills, according to Knox Bardeen of Comcast Sports Southeast:
Greg Robinson, other than weighing in, hasn't done anything today. But it looks like he's gonna do position drills #AUProDay— Knox Bardeen (@knoxbardeen) March 4, 2014
As far as the drills are concerned, there is no question that defensive end Dee Ford had talent evaluators buzzing Tuesday.
Ford was expected to be a breakout star at the combine; however, he wasn't medically cleared to compete due to a back issue, per Marcello.
Ford suffered no apparent ill effects at Auburn's pro day as he proved to be one of the most athletic prospects in the entire draft class.
There was a lot of pressure on Ford to acquit himself well, and it was self-inflicted in many ways due to comments he made prior to the combine.
Speaking with Pat Kirwan and Jim Miller on Sirius XM (h/t Will Brinson of CBSSports.com), Ford said that he believes he is better than potential No. 1 overall pick Jadeveon Clowney out of South Carolina:
I'm better. Let's put it like this. People like to talk about size all the time. Size is pretty much overrated in my eyes. You can look at guys like Robert Mathis, Elvis Dumervil, Von Miller. These are 6'2" guys and under. People are just looking at the fact that he's a physical specimen. Honestly if you watch the film, he plays like a blind dog in a meat market basically. I play with a lot of technique. I watch a lot of film. These are the things I do and it shows up.
Clowney was the talk of the combine, but Ford was able to best most of Clowney's combine numbers Tuesday.
Ford impressed in several areas, including the 40-yard dash, which he finished in 4.53 seconds:
That was equal to the number that Clowney produced in Indianapolis, according to NFL.com.
Ford looked explosive all day long, and he showed his incredible athleticism in the 60-yard shuttle as seen in this video courtesy of Marcello:
Ford also tied Clowney's broad jump mark of 124 inches:
One area in which Ford was unable to best Clowney was the vertical jump, although Ford still registered a fantastic leap of 35.5 inches, per Black:
More vert jumps: Eguae: 36.5 Ford: 35.5— WarEagleExtra (@wareagleextra) March 4, 2014
Perhaps the biggest coup for Ford came via the bench press as he completed 29 lifts, which was eight more than Clowney mustered at the combine:
Who most impressed you at Auburn's pro day?
Jeff Reynolds of NFLDraftScout.com (via CBSSports.com) reports Ford weighed in at 244 pounds, which was eight pounds less than his combine weight as he attempts to potentially convert to 3-4 outside linebacker.
Ford didn't surpass Clowney in terms of draft value by any means, but the fact that he is so comparable from a skill perspective means that teams have almost certainly moved him up their boards.
Cornerback Chris Davis is another player who had a lot to prove at Auburn's pro day. Davis was looking to tear up the combine, but like Ford, he was unable to participate due to an injury, according to Marcello.
Davis is best known for returning a missed field goal to defeat Alabama in miraculous fashion in the Iron Bowl this past season, but on Tuesday he showed scouts that he has NFL potential as well.
Per Black, Davis truly shined in the vertical jump drill:
Chris Davis just posted a 40.5 in the vertical jump. Super impressive.— WarEagleExtra (@wareagleextra) March 4, 2014
That number would have put Davis in a tie for second at the combine, just one inch behind Stanley Jean-Baptiste of Nebraska.
Davis then followed that up with a strong 40-yard-dash time of 4.51 seconds, which was on full display during his iconic Iron Bowl touchdown:
Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert bested all defensive backs at the combine with a 40 time of 4.37 seconds. Blake Poole wasn't invited to the combine, but the Auburn defensive back nearly equaled Gilbert's blazing speed with a dynamic run of his own during his pro day:
Running back Tre Mason, who may be the best player at his position in this year's draft, was another big name that generated some interest at Auburn's pro day. After running a 4.50 in the 40 at the combine, however, there wasn't much incentive for the Heisman Trophy finalist to showcase himself.
Mason did run the three-cone drill, however, according to The Drive ESPN 106.5, which is something that he declined to do at the combine:
I had Tre Mason at 6.7 on the 3-cone.— The Drive ESPN 106.5 (@TheDriveESPNAU) March 4, 2014
As seen in this photo courtesy of WVTM-TV's Kyle Burger, Mason and Robinson were spectators for much of the day:
Even without Robinson and Mason doing much, Auburn's pro day was certainly a huge event for NFL teams. Ford elevated himself in a major way, and a couple potential diamonds in the rough surfaced as well.
Auburn manages to produce big-time NFL talent on a yearly basis, and that will be apparent throughout May's draft.
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