Alabama stars shine for scouts

Alabama stars shine for scouts

UA Athletics

03_07_12 MFB Pro Day Photo by Amelia J Brackin

Marquavius Burnett

The University of Alabama held its annual pro day for former Crimson Tide players Wednesday with 12 draft-eligible players participating and all 32 NFL teams in attendance.

Kevin Colbert, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ general manager, and Ruston Webster, the Tennessee Titans’ general manager, were a couple of the notable attendees.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban said he was impressed with the turnout of NFL scouts and the way the players have developed.

“The three things that we do for our players here is help them develop personally, let them have more success in their life and be involved in the program and make good choices and decisions,” Saban said. “We want them to develop a career off the field by graduating from school, which we have had pretty good success [at].”

Draft-eligible players who participated were John Michael Boswell, Josh Chapman, Nick Gentry, Darius Hanks, Jerrell Harris, Phelon Jones, Dre Kirkpatrick, Alfred McCullough, DeQuan Menzie, Brad Smelley, William Vlachos and Alex Watkins.

Mark Barron, Trent Richardson, Courtney Upshaw and Marquis Maze did not participate on Wednesday and will hold a pro day on Thursday, March 29, on the Alabama campus. Barron, Richardson and Upshaw are all projected as first-round picks by ESPN’s Mel Kiper and Todd McShay.

Players started the day in the weight room, where their weight, height, standing broad jump, vertical jump and bench press were checked. After the weight room, players moved to the indoor football facility, where they completed the 40-yard dash, agility testing and position-specific drills.

Kirkpatrick, a 6-foot-2, 186-pound defensive back, declared for the draft as a junior. His stock has dipped after his recent run-in with the law. Kirkpatrick is projected as a first round pick by ESPN’s Mel Kiper and Todd McShay. Kirkpatrick said he felt he answered questions regarding his size and skill during the event.

“My size was a big question,” Kirkpatrick said. “People wanted to know if I could move with my size, and [proving] that was one of the goals. That was something that I needed to go out there and prove to people. I feel that I did a great job of trying to achieve it.”

“Consistency and technique is what he needs to continue to work on, but it has nothing to do with physical skill,” Saban said. “I think people are going to recognize that and say, ‘This is the kind of guy we are going to work to develop, and he can be a really good player.’ Matchups are a big issue in the NFL, sometimes in terms of the big receivers, and he can match up very well against those kind of guys.”

The NFL Draft will be held April 26 through 28 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. The 2012 football team begins spring practice Friday, and the 2012 A-Day Game is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 14.