Variety of Tigers Test Well NFL at Pro Day

News, notes, times, results and quotes from Auburn's NFL Pro Day are featured.

Auburn, Ala.--As Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin noted on Monday, Auburn's Pro Day, and ones like it on college campuses around the country are opportunities for college stars to "chase their dreams" of playing in the National Football League.

Tomlin was one of more than 50 NFL scouts on the Auburn campus to test and work out Auburn seniors Cole Bennett, Eric Brock, King Dunlap, Zach Gilbert, Quentin Groves, Pat Lee, Prechae Rodriguez, Carl Stewart, Josh Thompson and Jonathan Wilhite along with junior Pat Sims plus Darren Warren, a wide receiver from Miles College in Birmingham, who was allowed to work out with the AU players.

"It is very important that these guys show up well on their pro days, but I don't want to put more importance on it than anything else they do," Tomlin tells Inside the Auburn Tigers. "The reality is that this whole process they are going through collectively tells the whole story.

"How they handled themselves in Indy (NFL Combine in Indianapolis) in the interviews and drills is important," he says. "At their pro day, you want to see them correct some issues that may have shown themselves in Indy so that is why this day is so important for them. It is part of a puzzle. You put all of the pieces together and it paints a picture."

The Pittsburgh Steelers have a reputation for being one of the toughest teams in the National Football League. Tomlin says when considering which players to draft, that is an important consideration. "Really, that is probably what everybody is looking for because NFL football is a game of mental and physical toughness--maybe more mental more than anything else," he says.

"You want to see how they are going to perform when fatigue sets in," he adds. "With all of the parity in the league, games are won and lost in the fourth quarter. That is why these things are important."

Wilhite, Gilbert and Lee go through a workout while Tomlin (with hat) watches in the background.

Tomlin and Marvin Lewis of the Bengals were the two head coaches at the Auburn Pro Day.

"I get out to as many pro days as I can," Tomlin says. "You have got to make decisions because a lot of times dates conflict and we have a lot of office issues, but it is always good to come down South and get a little sunshine and watch guys work out. I enjoy getting out meeting the guys and watch them chase their dreams."

Tomlin notes he enjoyed the trip to check out Coach Tommy Tuberville's Tigers. "He is a very good coach," Tomlin says. "He does a heck of a job at Auburn. The first time I met him was at Ole Miss and he did a heck of a job there."

Pat Sims is shown at Pro Day. The junior said one of the reasons he decided to skip his senior year is because there are a shortage of defensive tackle prospects for the 2008 draft.

Scouts from every NFL team except Seattle, Green Bay, Denver, San Francisco and Philadelphia were spotted at the 2008 Pro Day.

The following is a player by player look at the Tigers who tested:

Cole Bennett--The tight end checked in at just under six-foot-five and weighed 255 pounds. Bennett says he felt good about how he tested. Pro scouts had his 40-yard dash times in the 4.7s and some were slightly faster. He did 23 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press, which was the second high total of the day. Bennett did nine feet, two inches on the standing long jump and ran a 7.43 on the L drill.

Eric Brock--The safety measured in a 6-0, 204 and ran times in the 4.5s for the 40. He was one of the top testers in the vertical jump with a 37-inch leap and ran a 4.34 in the short shuttle. Brock's standing long jump was nine feet, seven inches. He ran a 7.43 in the long shuttle.

King Dunlap--The big offensive lineman ran a 5.23 on his first 40 and passed on his second run. He had a 30-inch vertical jump and ran a 4.82 short shuttle. Dunlap measured in at almost 6-8 1/2 and 311 pounds. He did 20 reps on the bench press. Dunlap, who is nursing a hamstring issue, didn't do the standing long jump. He ran an 8.05 L drill time.

Zach Gilbert--He ran the fastest time of the event, a 4.42 40, and showed surprising strength with 17 reps of 225 pounds on the bench. Measuring in at 5-9, 187 pounds, Gilbert ran a 4.11 short shuttle and did 36 1/2 inches in the vertical jump. His standing long jump was strong, too, at 10 feet 1 1/2 inches. He ran a 6.90 L drill time.

Quentin Groves--The defensive end and linebacker did extensive workouts for the scouts after the testing, but went with his draft numbers in most tests. He did do a 35-inch vertical jump and an 11.80 in the 60-yard shuttle.

Patrick Lee--Despite not getting off to good starts in his 40s, the defensive back was timed in the 4.5 range by the scouts. although some watches had him under 4.5. He slipped on his first short shuttle, but still ran a 4.51. He improved to 4.20 on his second try. Lee, who weighed in at 196 pounds, did a 35-inch on his vertical jump. Lee did nine feet, nine inches in the standing long jump, just short of his 10-0 at the combine. He ran a 6.88 on the L drill.

Prechae Rodriguez--The senior receiver reported in at 6-4, 207 pounds and ran times of 4.50 and 4.53 in the 40. He had a 35-inch vertical jump and did a 4.40 on the short shuttle and a 11.98 on the 60-yard shuttle. Rodriguez did eight reps on the bench press. Rodriguez had the best standing long jump at 10 feet, two inches.

Pat Sims--The junior tackle kept his combine results for most events, but he did do the vertical jump with a leap of 30 1/2 inches, the standing long jump with a seven feet, 11 inches effort and his short shuttle times were 4.62 and 4.67 and 7.67 for the L drill. Sims was impressive in the position workouts after testing, prompting a variety of NFL scouts to tell him he did well in that area.

Carl Stewart--The running back, who was a standout in testing at the NFL Combine, said he didn't feel well physically on Monday, but still put up some good numbers. He had times of 4.32 and 4.40 on the short shuttle and did an 11.62 on the 60-yard shuttle despite a minor slip. Most scouts had him in the 4.7 range for the 40. He checked in at just over 6-1 and weighed 231 pounds. He ran a 7.40 L drill.

Josh Thompson--The noseguard measured in at a bit over 5-11 and weighed 304 pounds. Thompson led all bench pressers with 31 reps, but the the pro scout counting reps said seven were "bad" so his official total is 24. Thompson notes that he was hoping to finish with more than 40. Thompson ran a 5.27 in the 40 and did times of 4.60 and 4.79 in the short shuttle. His standing long jump was seven feet, nine inches and his L drill time was 7.76.

Jonathan Wilhite--Not surprisingly, he was one of the quickest athletes at the event. Wilhite kept his NFL Combine 40-time of 4.37, but did vertical jump and went 35 inches. He also ran a 4.17 short shuttle and an 11.55 60-yard shuttle. The cornerback showed his leaping ability with a 10-0 standing long jump. His L drill time was 7.76.

Darren Warren, a wideout from Miles College in Birmingham, ran a 4.91 40, did 30 inches on the vertical jump, 4.47 on the short shuttle, 12.90 on the long shuttle and and measured in at just over 5-9 and weighed 194 pounds. He did eight feet, eight inches on the standing long jump.



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