Sanders Hoping Versatility Pays Off

Craig Sanders discusses his pro day experience of working out both an a defensive and an offensive player.

Auburn, Ala.--Coming out of tiny Ariton High School, Craig Sanders was a do-everything player before becoming a full-time defensive end at Auburn. Now getting ready to try his shot at making it in the NFL, Sanders is again trying his hand on both defense and offense in the hopes of catching the eyes of scouts.

"Coming in I was thinking I would just do defensive end drills," Sanders said of Auburn's Pro Day. "Some of the scouts were grabbing me and wanted me to do outside linebacker. Others wanted me to do fullback/tight end. I wasn't prepared for those, but they said I did them alright. That's awesome that they are looking at me in other positions. I will do anything to get to the NFL."

Starting his day out working with the defensive line, Sanders next worked with the linebackers before making the switch to offense to join Tre Mason and Jay Prosch in drills. While he was unfamiliar with the skills he needed to be successful, Sanders said he just tried to let his athleticism take over and have fun.

"It came back just a little bit," Sanders said. "I was joking around with a couple of coaches when I was going through the tight end cone drills that I looked like Calvin Johnson, but I was just kidding."

Sanders makes a special teams tackle

Saying it was a really good day for everyone, Sanders said he was excited to get his opportunity to impress pro scouts with his athleticism and versatility. Measuring in at 6-3 ½, 248 pounds, Sanders ran the 40-yard dash in 4.73 seconds and did 24 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press.

While he admits his hands need plenty of work to be a viable option on the offensive side of the ball, the hard-working Sanders said if that's what teams want from him then he's more than ready to give it a shot.

"Heck yes, I can do that," Sanders said. "Once you get to the NFL there is no school, it's just a job. You could sit there and work all day on your hands. I haven't worked on my hands in four years as a receiver and in the NFL you can do that daily. I would get a lot better at that."

Perhaps the most important skill Sanders has that will come in handy if and when he gets his shot at the NFL is on special teams. A fearless cover man that has a knack for finding the football, he was a standout on those units all four years with the Tigers and believes that's where he can make a difference.

"That's the biggest thing about earning a job in the NFL," Sanders said. "If you're going to try to make a team, get on special teams. I feel like that is going to help me out a lot because that's what a lot of people have talked to me about, but I hope after today they see me more as a defensive or maybe offensive player and not just special teams."


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