14 Former Tiders Go Through Pro Day

All 32 National Football League teams had representatives in the form of scouts and/or coaches in Tuscaloosa Wednesday as 14 former Alabama players continued the process of being evaluated for the upcoming professional football draft. All 32 of those teams will have at least as many representatives back at Bama on March 29 when three players who did not participate Wednesday show their stuff.

Alabama Coach Nick Saban was on hand to watch the 14 players perform various drills of strength, agility, and speed under the eyes and stopwatches of the pro evaluators. And so what if they measured linebacker Dont'a Hightower at 6-0? Hightower got a laugh out of that, then insisted (correctly) "I'm 6-3." He also said he had lost about 10 pounds, to about 265.

Hightower was one of several former Crimson Tide players who did not participate in all drills. He decided to let his 4.6 in the 40-yard dash, which he ran at the earlier combine in Indianapolis, stand. Cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick and wide receiver Marquis Maze also skipped the 40.

Three former Tiders, all of whom have been projected as first round draft choices, were not involved in Wednesday's drills as they recover from injury. Tailback Trent Richardson, safety Mark Barron, and outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw will perform for the pros on March 29.

Among the pro men on hand was Jack Del Rio, former head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars who is now defensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos.

Nose tackle Josh Chapman is recovering from knee surgery, but that didn't keep him from showing what he could do on the bench press. He pumped out 29 repetitions with the 225-pound barbell, even though he said he had not done weight work recently. He said that his knee should be healed by June or July and that pro teams have told him to "not rush it."

DeQuan Menzie, who is listed as a likely safety prospect for the pros, had a good day with a 4.66 time in the 40. He said he would be "fine" with playing safety. "I played safety in the Senior Bowl and safety in junior college, then played corner and nickel here," he said. "I can play any of them."

Menzie, Hightower, and Kirkpatrick are all working out together as they prepare for possible individual team tryouts while waiting on the draft, which is April 26-28.

Other former Tiders participating included wide receiver Darius Hanks (who had a 4.69 40), linebacker Jerrell Harris (4.81), H-back Brad Smelley (5.0), center William Vlachos (5.27, despite having gained up to 319), linebacker Alex Watkins (4.78), offensive lineman Alfred McCullough (who had 22 bench press reps), offensive lineman John Michael Boswell (5.35), cornerback Phelon Jones (4.65 and had a 37 1/2 inch vertical jump), and nose tackle Nick Gentry (5.66).

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