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Monday, March 16, 2009

Draft Class 2009: Pro Day Update

It was nearing the end of Pro Day when we noticed the very strange sight of nose guard Tez Doolittle removing his shirt and offering front and back poses for an NFL scout/amateur photographer.

So what was that all about?

Doolittle just shrugged. Ahh, the glamorous life of an NFL prospect.

In fairness, the scout probably wanted to show others in his organization (the Oakland Raiders) just how ripped Doolittle was. Tez said he's been working out like a maniac, and it showed.

Doolittle seemed to have a solid performance Tuesday. If he gets drafted in April, it would add another chapter to what has already been an incredible comeback story. Doolittle tore his Achilles tendon in August of 2007 and thought his career was done. But he made a faster than expected recovery, gained a sixth year of eligibility to play in 2008 and is now a potential draftee in 2009.

"I never thought I'd be standing here," Doolittle said.

Some more notes and quotes from Pro Day...

* Cornerback Jerraud Powers is working out in Los Angeles, where he said the weather is fantastic. Powers said he's hoping to be a mid-round pick.

He left Auburn early because he didn't expect his draft status to change much between his junior and senior year.

"A lot of people were saying that the coaches were the factor or this was a factor, and that had nothing to do with it at all," Powers said. "I would have had a great time playing for coach Chizik."

Current NFL-er Pat Lee interrupted at one point to give Powers a hug.

"You're going to make money," Lee said. "You've got a lot of money coming your way."

* Defensive lineman Sen'Derrick Marks, another early draft entrant, was disappointed with his day.

He's still recovering from a hamstring injury and didn't feel like he was able to go as fast as he wanted to. He said he's hoping to get some personal workouts with NFL teams that are interested in him.

* Receiver Rod Smith said he felt good after two months of training in Charlotte. A former uninvited walk-on, Smith is hoping to be a similar surprise in the NFL.

"The NFL draft is a crazy thing," he said.

* Running back Tristan Davis, who had chronic foot issues in college, said that problem is now solved.

* Linebacker Chris Evans was disappointed in his times. He thought he could have run a faster 40.

* Running back Brad Lester was so nervous he threw up this morning.

"I'm pretty confident I will (be drafted), but if not that will just motivate me even more," he said.

Lester has been training in New Jersey.

* Offensive lineman Tyronne Green was exhausted after doing a solo workout for scouts. At the NFL combine, players are in large groups, so there's plenty of rest in between.

"They were pushing me to see how I handle being tired," Green said.

He's training in Phoenix, Ariz., and said he is getting solid feedback from teams.

* Former linebacker Steve Gandy, who retired in August of 2007 due to multiple concussions, worked out for scouts.

* Former Auburn quarterback Brandon Cox, now in pharmaceutical sales, came out of retirement to throw passes for receivers and running backs.

"I told Cox I wish he could have played (in 2008)." Smith said.

A lot of Auburn fans (and former coach Tommy Tuberville) probably feel the same way.

* In addition to Cox, former quarterbacks Blake Field and Calvin Booker were on hand to watch. Other former players included Marcus McNeil, Jonathan Palmer, Pat Sims, Pat Lee, Marquies Gunn , John Vaughn and many others.

* Basketball power couple Quantez Robertson and Sherell Hobbs were on hand.

* Conspicuous in their absence were linebacker Tray Blackmon and Robert Dunn.

* Former Auburn tight end Cooper Wallace participated in the hopes of getting an NFL camp invitation. Wallace was cut by San Francisco last September and wasn't able to latch on with another team. He also plans to pursue possibilities in Canadian Football.

* Here are some numbers courtesy of Auburn media relations. These are unofficial, hand-timed numbers. Only the best time is listed. Broad jump is a standing broad jump, not like long jump in track and field. Bench press is number of reps at 225 pounds. Some players elected not to participate in all drills.

Name Ht. Wt. 40-yd Vert. Broad Jump Bench

Tristan Davis 5-9 212 4.38 31.0 9-9 18

Tez Doolittle 6-2 285 4.92 29.5 8-8 22

Chris Evans 5-11 222 4.95 29.5 9-2 14

Steve Gandy 6-0 218 4.65 31.5 9-6 14

Tyronne Green 6-2 308 N/A 28.5 8-6 N/A

Ryan Hastie 5-11 239 4.85 34.5 9-5 17

Merrill Johnson 5-11 206 4.60 40.0 10-5.5 17

Brad Lester 5-9 190 4.48 38.5 10-4 18

Sen'Derrick Marks 6-1 301 N/A N/A 9-6 16

Charles Olatunji 6-1 194 4.62 37.5 11-1.5 14

Jerraud Powers 5-9 187 4.44 35.0 10-3 N/A

Robert Shiver 6-1 233 4.74 30.5 9-9 13

Rodgeriqus Smith 6-0 200 4.63 33.0 10-3 6

James Swinton 5-11 174 4.39 42.0 10-11 8

Cooper Wallace 6-3 254 N/A N/A N/A N/A

Source: Evan Woodbury blog from

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