Former walk-on defensive back Kevin Hobbs had always been a solid player for the Tigers at both cornerback and safety. Not a dominant player, the Tampa, Fla., native showed Thursday the burst that NFL teams long for out of their defensive backs. Running back-to-back 40-yard dash times of 4.37 seconds with a fastest time of 4.34 at least one scout's watch, a standing broad jump of 11 feet, 1 inch and a vertical leap of 39 ½ inches, Hobbs showed that he has the physical ability to play on the next level. He said following the workout that he couldn't be happier about his performance.
"It couldn't have gone any better," Hobbs said. "I'm blessed. I just thank God for what happened. I worked hard so I wasn't really nervous. I prepared well and just did what I knew I could do."
Working out in Orlando with Tom Shaw, Hobbs had been timed at better than 4.4 seconds on several occasions while running on a track. Back in Auburn for a little over a week and staying with McClover, Hobbs said he told his fellow teammates they better be ready to watch when he lined up for his 40-yard sprint on artificial turf in Auburn's indoor facility.
"I wasn't surprised," Hobbs said. "I knew. I told them they better get their video cameras out today because I was going to show them a little something. Everything is working out for me just like I wanted it to. I'm just blessed and thankful for this opportunity to show what I can do."
Hobbs' performance wasn't the only good one for Auburn's players on Thursday as several impressive times were turned in running the 40. The next fastest time was turned in by Obomanu, who ran a 4.44. Linebacker Antarrious Williams smoked the track with a 4.5 time in his first attempt on the day.
Next Travis Williams turned in a 4.55 for his fastest time. McClover's fastest time on the day was a 4.56 while fullback Jake Slaughter ran a best time of 4.68.
Ben Obomanu goes up high to catch a pass during Thursday's workout for the NFL.
Tight end Cooper Wallace ran a 4.74 for his best time on the day and a very good time for a tight end of his size. Next up was Tommy Jackson and he was thrilled with a time of 5.02 after weighing in a 304 pounds. Fellow defensive tackle Wayne Dickens had the day's slowest time, yet ran well with a 5.13.
McNeill, Mix, Reddick and Aromashodu chose to take their 40 times from the NFL Combine in Indianapolis rather than run again on Thursday. Also running were former Tigers Junior Rosegreen, Travaris Robinson and Kevin McLeod. Rosegreen ran a blazing 4.43 best time for the start of a very good day for him. Coming back from knee surgery, Robinson ran a 4.67 while McLeod ran 4.94.
The players then moved on to the vertical jump and standing broad jump stations to test. Hobbs' jump of 11 feet, 1 inch was the top in the broad jump for the Tigers while Obomanu's 41 inch vertical was tops on the team.
Mix had a top broad jump of 9 feet, 7 ¾ inches and a vertical of 31 1/2 inches. Wallace's broad jump was 9-1 ½ with a vertical of 31, Slaughter (8-8, 32), A. Williams (9-7 1/2, 36) and Dickens (7-5, 26) rounded out the current players. Rosegreen added a vertical leap of 40 inches for his second standout performance of the day.
It was then on to the 3-cone drill and pro shuttle drills where the players showed their ability to change directions while at top speed. McNeill had a very good run for the scouts in this drill along with Slaughter, Mix and Hobbs.
The players then moved to the bench press where they would press 225 pounds as many times as they could. Dickens got the day off to a good start on the bench with 28 reps to set the standard for the Tiger players. Hobbs (17), Slaughter (25), Wallace (26), Antarrious Williams (20), Travis Williams (20) and Rosegreen (21) all surpassed the magic number of 20 that is looked upon as almost a must by NFL teams.
Once done with the testing the players move outside for position drills. Scout Taylor Morton of the Atlanta Falcons said that this is the most important part of the day for the scouts because it lets them get a better feel for the athleticism of a player on the football field.
"Basically, we are just putting the final pieces together because our main evaluation comes from the tape we watch in the fall. We watch them play in games and practice in the fall. This is a second chance to look at them in the drills that can tell us a little more about their athleticism. The position-specific drills we put them through, like the receiving drills, can tell us how they catch the ball, but the main evaluation is done earlier."
McNeill and Reddick were first up working with scouts from the Cleveland Browns and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After that it was time for the defensive backs and again Hobbs had a good workout, showing good footwork and explosion to the football.
Stanley McClover runs through the bags during a drill on Thursday.
Without a senior quarterback on Auburn's roster the wide receivers called on former Arkansas and Alabama State quarterback Tarvaris Jackson to throw passes to them for the scouts. Doing a very good job, Jackson was able to showcase the speed and ability of Aromashodu, who had the best day of the receivers. Also showing well were both Mix and Obomanu.
At the same time he was throwing to the receivers, Jackson also threw to Wallace, Slaughter and McLeod on shorter routes designed for the tight end and fullbacks. Slaughter was once again solid and showed good hands and change of direction.
The final groups of the day were the defensive line and linebackers. First Jackson, Dickens and McClover worked on getting off the ball and were tested for agility and burst off the line. McClover then doubled up, working with the linebackers as well. He is expected to get a look at outside linebacker on the next level because of his speed and agility.
All-in-all it was a very good day for the Auburn program as the players once again performed well on Pro Day. While it was necessary for some players to move up in the draft, for Hobbs he said it was his only shot and he had to take advantage of it to the fullest.
"It wasn't a whole lot of pressure because I am the underdog," Hobbs said. "I used that to my advantage. I have been staying with Stanley McClover for a week and I've been telling him ‘this is my Super Bowl right here.'
"I just came out and did what I knew I could do. There was no pressure because the pressure wasn't on me. Everybody else had already been to the combine. I was the underdog and I think I did pretty well."