USC, Alabama pro days bring out the drama

Some of the bigger names at the USC and Alabama pro days didn't do all of the pro day work, but there was still plenty to talk about and observe at the schools that could combine for close to a half-dozen first-round picks. We've got the numbers and the players' reaction to their draft status.

LOS ANGELES – USC's biggest stars did not do a lot of work at Pro Day on Wednesday, but there was no lack of drama.

Offensive tackle Matt Kalil and defensive end Nick Perry, ranked in NFLDraftScout.com's top 32 with Kalil in the top five of Rob Rang's Big Board, did some position drills but did not replicate any of their NFL combine work because they were pleased with their initial results.

"These drills come easy to me," said Kalil, who is projected to be the third pick in the NFL draft. "It's cool to look at (mock drafts). But anything can happen on draft day."

Kalil (6-foot-6 5/8, 308 pounds) said he would take USC coach Lane Kiffin to New York as a guest for the NFL draft in April, when he'll be one of the dozen or so prospects in attendance at the Thursday primetime event.

"Coach Kiffin did a lot for me," he said. "He will be in the green room with me."

Perry, who weighed 270 pounds, said he "could have done better" on some of his position drills but was pleased overall, especially combined with his combine results. He is projected to be a first-round pick.

"I get asked a lot by NFL teams about certain schemes because everyone wants to know if I can also play in a 3-4 (defense)," Perry said. "It's good to be in the conversation (for the first round)."

USC defensive tackle Armond Armstead was not as fortunate.

He was informed by the school Tuesday night that university attorneys would not allow him to participate in Pro Day because of liability issues.

USC would not clear Armstead to play last season because of an unspecified medical condition that was discovered last spring. Armstead experienced chest pains last year but neither he nor school officials ever disclosed any medical problems.

He was expected to transfer to another school for his senior year but recently decided instead to turn pro.

"One of my main reasons to transfer was to play with brother (Oregon defensive lineman Arik Armstead)," Armond said. "But I wasn't allowed (by USC) to transfer to another Pac-12 school."

Armond Armstead said he was "perfectly healthy" and would have his own Pro Day on April 9. He underwent an NFL evaluation following the 2010 season and said was projected as a second-round pick. He looked noticeably slimmer and weighed 285 pounds at USC on Wednesday.

"I'm in good shape," Armstead said. "I'm not combine-ready. I'm just looking for an opportunity to play football. "

Defensive tackle DaJohn Harris, who mysteriously did not work out at the NFL combine after arriving in Indianapolis, said he was medically excluded because a Cleveland Browns doctor discovered he had a natural heart defect known as patent foramen ovale.

A "PFO" is a flap or valve-like opening present in everyone before birth but seals shut for 80 percent of the population. It does have symptoms. Harris said his personal cardiologist emailed all NFL teams to assure them he was OK.

"I hope teams realize I was fine," Harris said. "I feel I did pretty good."

Harris (6-3, 304) ran the 40-yard dash in 5.07 seconds.

Tailback Marc Tyler, who experienced a disappointing combine, redeemed himself with a time of 4.64 in the 40. He said he pulled a hamstring in Indianapolis and was nervous throughout his workouts.

"It was way better (Wednesday)," Tyler said.

Tyler said NFL teams asked him about a possible drinking problem after his famous video on TMZ.com last summer that resulted in a one-game suspension.

"I've gotten a lot of questions," he said. "I just told the truth. I made mistakes and drank too much.

STARS SIT AT Alabama'S PRO DAY

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Something was missing. Or was it someone?

Somehow, there wasn't much of a buzz Wednesday at Alabama's Pro Day.

Running back Trent Richardson wasn't there. Neither were two former Alabama teammates: safety Mark Barron and outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw.

All but two of the 32 teams were represented at an event at which 14 members of the Crimson Tide's 2011 national championship team performed, but head coaches and all but three general managers stayed away. The Chicago Bears and St. Louis Rams were the teams not represented.

The Buffalo Bills, Tennessee Titans and Pittsburgh Steelers sent their general managers. One of the few recognizable faces was former Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio, now the Denver Broncos' defensive coordinator.

A bigger and better crowd is expected on March 29, when Richardson, Barron and Upshaw are scheduled to perform along with some of the players who participated Wednesday. Richardson, NFLDraftScout.com's top-ranked running back and a projected first-round pick, still is recovering from minor postseason knee surgery.

Barron, the top-ranked safety by NFLDraftScout.com, is recovering from double-hernia surgery.

Upshaw, ranked second behind South Carolina's Melvin Ingram among outside linebackers, has been plagued by tendinitis in a knee, Alabama coach Nick Saban said Wednesday.

Alabama center William Vlachos, who wasn't among the nine former Alabama players invited to the recent NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, did his best to impress NFL scouts Wednesday, but he stopped short of performing in the event that is his strength: the bench press.

He will wait until March 29 to show how many times he can lift 225 pounds.

"The high-profile guys will be participating in the events then," Vlachos said. One or two players projected as first-round draft choices were among the players who performed Wednesday. Cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick were among six Alabama players who had been to the combine but wanted to show off their skills again.

One player whose stock might have fallen at the combine might have improved his status slightly Wednesday.

Cornerback DeQuan Menzie ran the 40-yard dash in 4.74 seconds at Indianapolis. He improved that time to 4.66 seconds Wednesday.

"At the combine, I wasn't relaxed," Menzie said. "I was feeling so much pressure. Here, it was like I was at home, and I could release the pressure and run my best 40."

Menzie came out of the combine rated the 20th best cornerback available in the draft and was projected as a fourth- or fifth-round pick. Some teams might consider him as a free safety.

"I play it all," Menzie said. "I played safety in the Senior Bowl. I played safety in high school. I played corner here. I played in the nickel spot. There's really nothing that I can't handle. Saban put me through that."

Menzie has been training with Kirkpatrick and Hightower. What have they been telling Menzie?

"We've just got to get that money," Menzie said. "That's what Dont'a and Kirk say all the time. 'Go get that money. You've got to have the money on your mind.'" Vlachos admitted he was disappointed.

"If you look at the top-five consensus defensive tackles in the draft, I blocked all of them and blocked them well," Vlachos said.

In particular, he was referring to Penn State's Devon Still, Michigan State's Jerel Worthy and Mississippi State's Fletcher Cox and Michael Brockers of LSU.

"I can play with all of those guys," Vlachos said. "I think I proved that on film for three years. If these guys are top 15 picks, yes, I think I should have been invited to the Combine."

Neither Hightower, Kirkpatrick nor wide receiver Marquis Maze ran the 40-yard dash Wednesday. Maze and wide receiver Darius Hanks were among the Alabama players who went to Indianapolis. Hanks ran the 40-yard dash in 4.66 seconds then and in 4.69 seconds Wednesday.

Other participants Wednesday and their 40-yard dash times: cornerback Phelon Jones (4.65), tight end Brad Smelley (4.78), outside linebacker Alex Watkins (4.78), outside linebacker Jerrell Harris (4.81), offensive lineman Alfred McCullough (4.82), offensive lineman John Michael Boswell (5.35) and nose guard Nick Gentry (5.66).

Nose guard Josh Chapman, who came to Indianapolis but did not participate in any drills because he is recovering from mid-January knee surgery, participated in the bench press on Wednesday. Lifting for the first time since before the Jan. 9 BCS Championship game, Chapman lifted 225 pounds 29 times.


Viking Update Top Stories

\r\n\r\n","mobileBody":"LOS ANGELES – USC's biggest stars did not do a lot of work at Pro Day on Wednesday, but there was no lack of drama. Offensive tackle Matt Kalil and defensive end Nick Perry, ranked in NFLDraftScout.com's top 32 with Kalil in the top five of Rob Rang's Big Board, did some position drills but did not replicate any of their NFL combine work because they were pleased with their initial results. \"These drills come easy to me,\" said Kalil, who is projected to be the third pick in the NFL draft. \"It's cool to look at (mock drafts). But anything can happen on draft day.\" Kalil (6-foot-6 5/8, 308 pounds) said he would take USC coach Lane Kiffin to New York as a guest for the NFL draft in April, when he'll be one of the dozen or so prospects in attendance at the Thursday primetime event. \"Coach Kiffin did a lot for me,\" he said. \"He will be in the green room with me.\" Perry, who weighed 270 pounds, said he \"could have done better\" on some of his position drills but was pleased overall, especially combined with his combine results. He is projected to be a first-round pick. \"I get asked a lot by NFL teams about certain schemes because everyone wants to know if I can also play in a 3-4 (defense),\" Perry said. \"It's good to be in the conversation (for the first round).\" USC defensive tackle Armond Armstead was not as fortunate. He was informed by the school Tuesday night that university attorneys would not allow him to participate in Pro Day because of liability issues. USC would not clear Armstead to play last season because of an unspecified medical condition that was discovered last spring. Armstead experienced chest pains last year but neither he nor school officials ever disclosed any medical problems. He was expected to transfer to another school for his senior year but recently decided instead to turn pro. \"One of my main reasons to transfer was to play with brother (Oregon defensive lineman Arik Armstead),\" Armond said. \"But I wasn't allowed (by USC) to transfer to another Pac-12 school.\" Armond Armstead said he was \"perfectly healthy\" and would have his own Pro Day on April 9. He underwent an NFL evaluation following the 2010 season and said was projected as a second-round pick. He looked noticeably slimmer and weighed 285 pounds at USC on Wednesday. \"I'm in good shape,\" Armstead said. \"I'm not combine-ready. I'm just looking for an opportunity to play football. \" Defensive tackle DaJohn Harris, who mysteriously did not work out at the NFL combine after arriving in Indianapolis, said he was medically excluded because a Cleveland Browns doctor discovered he had a natural heart defect known as patent foramen ovale. A \"PFO\" is a flap or valve-like opening present in everyone before birth but seals shut for 80 percent of the population. It does have symptoms. Harris said his personal cardiologist emailed all NFL teams to assure them he was OK. \"I hope teams realize I was fine,\" Harris said. \"I feel I did pretty good.\" Harris (6-3, 304) ran the 40-yard dash in 5.07 seconds. Tailback Marc Tyler, who experienced a disappointing combine, redeemed himself with a time of 4.64 in the 40. He said he pulled a hamstring in Indianapolis and was nervous throughout his workouts. \"It was way better (Wednesday),\" Tyler said. Tyler said NFL teams asked him about a possible drinking problem after his famous video on TMZ.com last summer that resulted in a one-game suspension. \"I've gotten a lot of questions,\" he said. \"I just told the truth. I made mistakes and drank too much. TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Something was missing. Or was it someone? Somehow, there wasn't much of a buzz Wednesday at Alabama's Pro Day. Running back Trent Richardson wasn't there. Neither were two former Alabama teammates: safety Mark Barron and outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw. All but two of the 32 teams were represented at an event at which 14 members of the Crimson Tide's 2011 national championship team performed, but head coaches and all but three general managers stayed away. The Chicago Bears and St. Louis Rams were the teams not represented. The Buffalo Bills, Tennessee Titans and Pittsburgh Steelers sent their general managers. One of the few recognizable faces was former Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio, now the Denver Broncos' defensive coordinator. A bigger and better crowd is expected on March 29, when Richardson, Barron and Upshaw are scheduled to perform along with some of the players who participated Wednesday. Richardson, NFLDraftScout.com's top-ranked running back and a projected first-round pick, still is recovering from minor postseason knee surgery. Barron, the top-ranked safety by NFLDraftScout.com, is recovering from double-hernia surgery. Upshaw, ranked second behind South Carolina's Melvin Ingram among outside linebackers, has been plagued by tendinitis in a knee, Alabama coach Nick Saban said Wednesday. Alabama center William Vlachos, who wasn't among the nine former Alabama players invited to the recent NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, did his best to impress NFL scouts Wednesday, but he stopped short of performing in the event that is his strength: the bench press. He will wait until March 29 to show how many times he can lift 225 pounds. \"The high-profile guys will be participating in the events then,\" Vlachos said. One or two players projected as first-round draft choices were among the players who performed Wednesday. Cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick were among six Alabama players who had been to the combine but wanted to show off their skills again. One player whose stock might have fallen at the combine might have improved his status slightly Wednesday. Cornerback DeQuan Menzie ran the 40-yard dash in 4.74 seconds at Indianapolis. He improved that time to 4.66 seconds Wednesday. \"At the combine, I wasn't relaxed,\" Menzie said. \"I was feeling so much pressure. Here, it was like I was at home, and I could release the pressure and run my best 40.\" Menzie came out of the combine rated the 20th best cornerback available in the draft and was projected as a fourth- or fifth-round pick. Some teams might consider him as a free safety. \"I play it all,\" Menzie said. \"I played safety in the Senior Bowl. I played safety in high school. I played corner here. I played in the nickel spot. There's really nothing that I can't handle. Saban put me through that.\" Menzie has been training with Kirkpatrick and Hightower. What have they been telling Menzie? \"We've just got to get that money,\" Menzie said. \"That's what Dont'a and Kirk say all the time. 'Go get that money. You've got to have the money on your mind.'\" Vlachos admitted he was disappointed. \"If you look at the top-five consensus defensive tackles in the draft, I blocked all of them and blocked them well,\" Vlachos said. In particular, he was referring to Penn State's Devon Still, Michigan State's Jerel Worthy and Mississippi State's Fletcher Cox and Michael Brockers of LSU. \"I can play with all of those guys,\" Vlachos said. \"I think I proved that on film for three years. If these guys are top 15 picks, yes, I think I should have been invited to the Combine.\" Neither Hightower, Kirkpatrick nor wide receiver Marquis Maze ran the 40-yard dash Wednesday. Maze and wide receiver Darius Hanks were among the Alabama players who went to Indianapolis. Hanks ran the 40-yard dash in 4.66 seconds then and in 4.69 seconds Wednesday. Other participants Wednesday and their 40-yard dash times: cornerback Phelon Jones (4.65), tight end Brad Smelley (4.78), outside linebacker Alex Watkins (4.78), outside linebacker Jerrell Harris (4.81), offensive lineman Alfred McCullough (4.82), offensive lineman John Michael Boswell (5.35) and nose guard Nick Gentry (5.66). Nose guard Josh Chapman, who came to Indianapolis but did not participate in any drills because he is recovering from mid-January knee surgery, participated in the bench press on Wednesday. Lifting for the first time since before the Jan. 9 BCS Championship game, Chapman lifted 225 pounds 29 times. 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