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NFL Draft 2011: Auburn, Alabama and the 5 Most Anticipated Pro Days

Tim GrovesCorrespondent IMarch 2, 2011

NFL Draft 2011: Auburn, Alabama and the 5 Most Anticipated Pro Days

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Pro Days have often been used as a barometer to gauge the talents of NFL draft prospects.  The argument has been made that the bright lights and general unfamiliarity with the NFL combine will lead some athletes to perform less than their best.  An event on their own campus is meant to bring out the best in every athlete.

    Which Pro Days are most worthy of your attention?  Which ones will feature the next stars in the NFL and which ones won't even produce a draft pick?  Click through to find out.

The Ususal Candidates That Didn't Make the Cut

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    Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

    It was a down year in the state of Florida, and thus none of the usual suspects have a Pro Day worth checking out.  The Gators only representation in the top-25 rankings is center Mike Pouncey, while the Seminoles and Hurricanes don't even have one player in the top 25.  Other stalwarts like USC and Ohio State simply didn't turn out as many top notch players as we are accustom to this year.

    Florida, Florida State, Miami, USC, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Texas.

    All rankings throughout the slideshow are taken from ESPN.com.

Teams Without Dates

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    For the sake of the rankings, teams that had not announced a date for their Pro Day were left off the list.  This removed a couple of high profile teams from the rankings, including:

    LSU: No. 3 Patrick Peterson, CB

    Georgia: No. 4 A.J. Green, WR; No. 27 Justin Houston, OLB

    Clemson: No. 1 Da'Quan Bowers, DE

    Colorado: No. 10 Jimmy Smith, CB; No. 11 Nate Solder, OT

5. North Carolina

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Where: University of North Carolina

    When: March 31st

    Who: No. 9 Robert Quinn, DE

    Why: Robert Quinn is the ninth-ranked player on the entire board and the second-ranked defensive end.  He has a chance to impress scouts enough to move him up into the top five.  North Carolina also has other NFL-worthy players outside of the top 25.

4. Nebraska

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    Eric Francis/Getty Images

    Where: University of Nebraska

    When: March 10th

    Who: No. 8 Prince Amukamara, CB

    Why: Amukamara has excelled at the NFL combine, sky rocketing up draft boards across the nation.  Amukamara was already highly touted going into the festivities at Indianapolis, but it only further bolstered his draft stock. 

3. Missouri

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Where: University of Missouri

    Where: March 17th

    Who: No. 6 Blaine Gabbert, QB and No. 16 Adam Smith, DE

    Why: The chance to see the highest-rated quarterback in the draft class is always riveting.  Gabbert also made the decision to refrain from throwing at the combine, making his arm work at his Pro Day that much more important.  A good showing could see him taken with one of the top three picks come draft day.

2. Alabama

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    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Where: University of Alabama

    When: March 9th

    Who: No. 7 Marcell Dareus, DT; No. 13 Julio Jones, WR and No. 20 Mark Ingram, RB

    Why: Three potential first round draft picks?  Sign me up.  Jones and Ingram had rather distinguished collegiate careers, as Ingram took home the Heisman trophy during his junior year.  Both of them look to contribute mightily in the NFL.  Then there is Darues, a top-10 pick with a chance to contribute right away.

1. Auburn

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Where: Auburn University

    When: March 8th

    Who: No. 2 Nick Fairley, DT and No. 28 Cameron Newton, QB

    Why: The number two player in the nation and the most controversial quarterback in quite some time showing off for NFL scouts?  How could you miss this?  Fairly has a chance to become the number one pick in the nation with a stellar showing, while Newton has the opportunity to silence all of his critics.  A positive showing from the Heisman trophy winner could see him taken in the top five.

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