Auburn, Ala.--For guys like Quentin Groves, Patrick Lee and Pat Sims, Monday's NFL Pro Day is merely another step towards the NFL Draft coming up later this spring when all three are expected to be taken within the first three rounds to begin their future as professionals.
On the other side of the coin you find players such as Eric Brock, Cole Bennett and Zach Gilbert. Solid players at Auburn, all three had just one day to prove themselves to NFL personnel and hopefully get a shot to prove it in a camp later this summer. Brock says while you know what to expect, becoming an individual football player is something that is hard to get used to.
"It's a little different," Brock says. "You come out of Auburn as a team and you count on your teammates for support and help, but for something like this it's just individual. It's a lot different. You've got get yourself prepped and ready for every event. We had to do every event so we were kind of wearing down as the day went along, but overall I think we did pretty good."
Eric Brock hauls in a pass at Pat Lee looks on.
Measuring in at 6-0, 204, Brock is likely headed for a free agent deal, but was hoping a solid performance could sneak him into a late round selection for a team wanting a physical safety. He says while it could have gone better, he feels good about his performance.
"I think overall I did pretty well," Brock says. "There were some things I excelled at and other things I could have done better, but that's how it is sometimes. You're not going to do great in every drill, but as long as you catch someone's eye that's really all you need."
Cole Bennett did a good job in drills on Monday.
Returning to Auburn for his fifth season in 2007, Bennett was solid for the Tigers at tight end and improved his game tremendously over the course of the season. Showing up well on Monday at 6-4 6/10, 255, Bennett caught the ball well and showed good agility in drills. He says for him it was a tough day knowing that he had just one shot to make an impression.
"I thought I did pretty good," Bennett says. "Maybe it wasn't some of my best times, but I feel like I was fluid and did what I came here to do.
"Those guys that went to the combine know they have that to fall back on if they had a bad day or bad drill," he adds. "For my type of guy you've got one shot at it. It does help that it's here, but it's also a lot of pressure because we've only got one opportunity instead of two."
Perhaps the biggest long shot of the group working out from Auburn on Monday was Gilbert. A former walk on to the Auburn program, Gilbert earned a scholarship as a senior for the Tigers and was a solid back up in his years with the program. Measuring in at 5-9, 187 and running the best 40-yard dash time of the day at 4.42 seconds, Gilbert says he just wanted to do his best and give himself a shot to play on the next level.
"That was my whole thing," Gilbert says. "I felt like if I could go and train and work as hard as I could and at least give it a try then I wouldn't have any regrets. I know a lot of people in life have regrets about what they could have done or should have done. With this I know I put my all into it and I'm just leaving it in God's hands. I feel good about it. If I have a shot then it's good. If I don't then it wasn't meant for me. At least I'll know and that's the most important thing."