Pro Day Tour: Alabama's Big Day

All eyes were on Courtney Upshaw, Mark Barron and Trent Richardson, but Alabama wasn't the only pro day of note for the Packers.

In the pass-happy NFL, running backs aren't as attractive as first-round draft picks as they used to be. Trent Richardson knows the score.

"That motivates me a lot," the former Alabama star said Thursday after performing in the school's second pro day of the month. "There hasn't been a top-10 running back since Adrian Peterson (actually, C.J. Spiller of Clemson went ninth overall in 2010). I want to set the bar high and put us back on the map and show them that we're very, very rare and that we need to be in the top five, top 10. We need to be up there high."

Richardson, the consensus top-ranked running back in this draft, probably won't have to wait long to hear his name called next month in the NFL draft.

"A lot of teams try to beat up on us a lot of times," the 2011 Heisman Trophy finalist said of running backs. "When it comes down to it, I think they're going to need us early in our career and we're going to try to make it to our second contract and try to do stuff with it."

The number of representatives from NFL teams was similar to the number that showed up on March 7, but no head coaches or general managers attended that first Pro Day.

New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett and Cleveland Browns coach Pat Shurmur were present, along with four general managers: Trent Baalke with the San Francisco 49ers, Martin Mayhew with the Detroit Lions, Ruston Webster with the Tennessee Titans and Kevin Colbert with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Richardson, who plowed right through Browns running backs coach Gary Brown in a blocking drill Thursday, was invited to the NFL Scouting Combine but did not participate in workouts in Indianapolis because of minor knee surgery that he had after the Jan. 9 BCS Championship Game.

He also did not participate in Alabama's first Pro Day, on March 7. Neither did two former teammates who also are expected to be first-round picks next month: outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw and safety Mark Barron.

Barron is recovering from postseason double hernia surgery and said he is 80 to 90 percent healthy. Upshaw had been plagued by tendinitis in a knee.

Richardson unofficially was timed in the 40-yard dash in the 4.47- to 4.52-second range at 227 pounds. Barron's times reportedly were in the 4.50- to 4.57-second range. Upshaw was timed in the 4.73- to 4.76-second range.

Upshaw was disappointed in the fact that he weighed in at 279 pounds. He had hoped to weigh between 265 and 268 pounds, but teams that might consider him as a defensive end in a 4-3 defense probably were not turned off. However, one scout in attendance said his drops into coverage weren't markedly improved from position drills at the Combine. That's noteworthy for the Packers, especially if Upshaw falls within striking distance in the first round.

Texas A&M

After a right foot injury sidelined him for the last two months, quarterback Ryan Tannehill finally had his day to shine in front of NFL scouts and evaluators. And he didn't disappoint.

Tannehill, the consensus third-ranked quarterback in the draft, ran one 40-yard dash -- Texas A&M listed his time at 4.62 seconds -- and threw for over 30 minutes with 22 NFL teams represented.

Seattle and Miami brought the most firepower.

Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, GM John Schneider and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell were all on hand. The Dolphins' contingent included head coach Joe Philbin and GM Jeff Ireland. The Browns sent offensive coordinator Brad Childress and quarterback coach Mark Whipple to College Station to watch Tannehill.

Tannehill completed 65-of-68 passes with two drops and one slight overthrow on a 40-yard bucket pass downfield to Jeff Fuller. He started his passing session with rollouts, bootlegs and several drop-back motions that required him to maneuver inside and outside the pocket. It became evident quickly that his foot was healed.

The Packers don't need Tannehill and he won't be available, but the performance of Fuller and, especially, running back Cyrus Gray might have been of interest. Both looked good catching passes from Tannehill. Gray (5-10, 206) rushed for 1,045 yards and caught 31 passes as a senior. He ran a 4.47 at the Scouting Combine.

BYU

The Cougars have a couple of midround prospects of note: offensive tackle Matt Reynolds and nose tackle Hebron Fangupo.

Reynolds (6-4, 302) started 52 games at left tackle and finished with 50 touchdown-producing blocks for his career. Starting alongside his brother, freshman left guard Houston Reynolds, the Cougars allowed 17 sacks all season and none during the final five games. After struggling through the Combine with an injury, he trimmed his 40-yard time from 5.37 seconds to 5.10.

In a weak nose tackle class, Fangupo (6-1, 323) shouldn't last too long in Day 3. He stuck with his Combine results (5.18 in the 40 and 36 reps on the bench). He spent 2009 and 2010 at USC but transferred after someone broke into the apartment he shared with his wife. In his one season, he had 26 tackles, including six tackles for losses, for the nation's 14th-ranked defense. He looked "great" in position work, according to a source.


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.


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