Unfortunately for the 2014 Auburn senior, who wrapped up his collegiate career in the Outback Bowl on New Year’s Day, his body wasn’t ready to perform at a peak level when the NFL scouts were on the AU campus to see what he could do.
Owens, who dropped a dozen pounds to improve his quickness, weighed in a 6-1, 1/8, 246 pounds. However, he couldn’t show off his speed because a hamstring problem that caused him to struggle through his first 40-yard dash timing with at 4.95 seconds. Obviously not close to full speed and limping, he passed on his second chance to run the 40.
That was particularly discouraging, he noted, because he put a lot of time and effort into training for his 40s, particularly his starts, and pointed out that he was expecting to impress the scouts with a time under 4.5 seconds.
Owens, who played both defensive end and linebacker for the Tigers, is more suited size-wise to play linebacker in the NFL. He points out that he may have tried to resume training too soon after initially hurting his hamstring in practice for the NFLPA all-star game.
“I tried to come back maybe three weeks ago and ended up straining it then,” he said. “I have been doing rehab since then to try to see what I could do. I kind of felt it when I was jumping--that’s it.”
On his vertical jump test, Owens leaped 31 inches and was measured at eight feet, six inches on his standing broad jump. However, after tweaking his hamstring in the 40 he was not able to do the NFL 20-yard and 60-yard shuttle runs or the three-cone drill.
“Hopefully, I can just have a little time to get it right and maybe have some private workouts to show what I can really do when healthy,” he said. “We will see how it goes.”
LaDarius Owens, who redshirted in 2010, had his most productive season in 2013 starting a dozen games for the SEC champions.
On the plus side for Owens the hamstring issue did not impact his strength test when he did 29 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press, second behind defensive tackle Jeffrey Whitaker’s impressive total of 41.
Owens said he had heard that several pro teams were going to be watching closing how he worked out at the pro day as an outside linebacker.
Calling his situation “unfortunate,” the football player said he still has a dream to play in the NFL and this is not the time to give up on it. “Pro Day was not the way I imagined it, but it’s not over,” he said. “I have been through a lot of adversity so this is just something else to add to my testimony. I’ll be fine.”