TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The University of Alabama held its second pro day of 2012 on Thursday with 14 draft-eligible Crimson Tide players participating and all 32 NFL teams in attendance.
Three NFL head coaches were on campus Thursday as the Patriots Bill Belichick, the Cowboys Jason Garrett and the Browns Pat Shurmur were all on hand to watch the workout.
Alabama's second pro day gave Trent Richardson, Mark Barron and Courtney Upshaw the chance to demonstrate their skills for NFL coaches and scouts after injuries kept them out of the Tide's first pro day on March 7.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban was impressed with the turnout of NFL scouts and proud of the way his Alabama players have developed on and off the field during their time at the Capstone.
"We try to promote with our players from an attitude standpoint of being responsible for your own self-determination." Saban said. "One of the goals that we have for our players here is that we want them to be successful personally; we want them to be successful academically and develop a career off the field, but we also want to see guys have an opportunity to develop a career as a football player as well."
Richardson's times in the 40-yard dash ranged from 4.45-4.49 while completing 25 reps on the bench press at 225 pounds. Barron, who claimed to be between 80-90 percent recovered from his hernia surgery, was timed between 4.53-4.57 in the 40 while posting a vertical of 34.5 inches and a broad jump of 10 feet, 2 inches. Upshaw's 40-yard dash was clocked between 4.73-4.76 with a broad jump of 9 feet, 1 inch.
"The talk is that we will have a lot of guys go first round. Everyone wants to do well and showcase their skills," said Courtney Upshaw. "We all have dreams of making it to the league and the time is close."
Many of the Alabama players that did work out on Thursday only did portions of the workout after participating in the Tide's Pro Day on March 7. Draft-eligible Crimson Tide athletes that participated were: John Michael Boswell, Darius Hanks, Jerrell Harris, Phelon Jones, Dre Kirkpatrick, Marquis Maze, Alfred McCullough, DeQuan Menzie, Brad Smelley, William Vlachos and Alex Watkins.
Players started the day in the weight room where their weight, height, standing broad jump, vertical jump and bench press were checked. After finishing in the weight room they moved to the indoor football facility where they completed the 40-yard dash, agility testing and position-specific drills.
The NFL Draft will be held April 26-28 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
Quotes from Alabama's Pro Day
Head Coach Nick Saban
On the readiness of players going into the NFL:
"I think our players play in a pro-style system while they're here, with a lot of the same stuff that we did at the Dolphins or the Cleveland Browns or wherever I coached in the league, offensively, defensively, and special teams. I also think that because of the things that are important in terms of our experience of being able to make it in the league, we try to promote with our players from an attitude standpoint of being responsible for your own self-determination. We define the expectation of what we expect from them and then they have to have the accountability to do those things. That's part of being a pro. I think that's what our players learn and understand here. Maybe it's just the influence the NFL has had on me in helping them. One of the goals that we have for our players here is that we want them to be successful personally; we want them to be successful academically and develop a career off the field, but we also want to see guys have an opportunity to develop a career as a football player as well."
On what it means for Trent Richardson to be an elite player in the draft:
"I think he's probably the best running back in the draft this year, probably one of the best players in the draft. I think that's based on his performance and his production and the consistency that he's played with. The personal characteristics that he has in terms of his psychological disposition to be successful is really A-plus. I know there are some people that have some concerns about taking a running back high, but as I said earlier, with the salary cap changes in a rookie pool, you're not investing as much in a guy as you used to. You'd better take somebody that you know is going to be a good player on your team and be a good fit for you, be a starter and be somebody who's a good player for a long time."
On how Trent looks health-wise:
"He looks good to me."
On what it means to Alabama to have five potential first round draft picks on display at pro day:
"We had four last year, so I would be really excited for our players if we had five guys that got picked in the first round. I think it speaks volumes for them in terms of how they've worked to develop as players and the good job that our staff has done to help them develop as players."
On Courtney Upshaw's success on defense and playing defensive end or linebacker:
"Well he weighed 280 pounds today and ran a 4.7-something, so I think he probably could. He played both here. A lot of people say, well you play a 3-4. We only play a 3-4 20 percent of the time; the rest of the time we're in some kind of 4-3 defense and he always played defensive end and did a great job. He's hard to block; he's heavy-handed. He's got good leverage and strength and he's a good pass-rusher. I actually do think he could play in either system."
On Mark Barron's recovery from surgery:
"I don' think Mark's probably 100 percent here today, but I think he's good enough that people are going to understand that he's probably 85 or 90 percent. I think he ran well and I think he'll do good in the DB drills."
On if they'll take Bill Belichick out while he's in town:
"You don't know Belichick very well. What you do when he comes into town is you go in the meeting room and order the stuff in. You eat while the film's going. So that's what we did."
Running Back Trent Richardson
"You all are going to make me tear up, because it's my last Alabama interview."
On what he wanted to do out here today:
"I did everything for real. Everything I worked on and did went pretty well. I kind of stepped out of my 40, but other than that everything went well."
On his official 40 time:
"I really don't know, I've been hearing things like 4.43 to 4.46, so I really don't know what it was. I feel like as far as catching the ball and doing my drills, and showing everybody that I can move with my knee and just showing everybody that I'm ready."
On working out with NFL teams:
"Yes, my agent has quite a few set up and I know we have Cleveland, St. Louis and Tampa and it's a lot more but those are the three that I know for sure that I'll be taking. Hopefully I can do them back to back so that I can sit down and enjoy the moment that I am finally making it to the professional career."
On knocking a potential coach down one of the coaches during a blocking drill
"You know (Coach Burton) Burns didn't try to go head up with us to many times cause we probably would have pushed him over too, but anytime somebody is in my way, I'm going to try to knock them over."
On the idea about being a top five pick in the NFL draft:
"It's a blessing and nothing more than that. I can't tell you how it feels inside to come from Pensacola, Florida, and work so hard and to be at this point here. I never thought I would make it out of the place I was a age 18, but I've made it through college and now I'm going to a professional career, so it means a lot me and my community."
On convincing teams that a running back is worth a top five pick:
"Yes it motivates me a lot because there hasn't been a top ten running back since Adrian Peterson, and I want to set the bar high and put us back on the map. We need to be in the top ten we need to be that high cause a lot of team try to beat up on us, but when it comes down to it they needs us early in our career to try to get a contract and big step with it."
On being successful in any NFL offense:
"No, I think there's no NFL offense you can't put me in. Whatever offense you put me in I will buy into the program and buy into the team and try to build a unit as one. So, it doesn't matter what offense you put me in or what system you put me in, I'm going to play my hardest and play like I've been coached."
On doing private workouts before the draft:
"Yes, and whoever wants me to come I'll come. I can't wait. I know I've got Cleveland, St. Louis and Tampa for sure, and probably quite another few, but right off the bat those three. And whoever wants to do a private workout, I'll be willing to do a private workout for them."
On what he thought of the scene here today (NFL network, sportscenter, and local media):
"It's just like a game for real, because even then you have scouts in the press box and stuff. But I just have fun with it and don't take it to serious, or be uptight, just relax and just be me."
What did you do today:
"Today I did (bench press) 25 times, I think I could have done better, but it's all set up in one day."
What were you hoping to do?:
"At least about 25-27, I could have done better, and so when you have a pro day set up like ours where you have to do it all in one day it's kind of different from you do it in three or four days when you are at the combine."
On coming from 2 national championships to being drafted to a team that isn't winning so much:
"It's going to be a challenge, but it really doesn't matter as long as we try to gel and try to get everybody to play as a unit, I think it will all work out. Wherever I go I think we should just bond everybody together and get everybody on the same page. That's what we had here and we had a lot of success here."
Linebacker/Defensive End Courtney Upshaw:
On what he was trying to accomplish:
"To show the work I have been putting in. I have been working hard trying to improve my hips. I wanted to run a good 40, I don't know the forty times but I have been hearing good things. I am kind of disappointed with my weight, I still feel 250 but I wanted to weigh in about 265 or 268 and I tipped the scale at 279 that is the only disappointment for the day. I am trying to give it my best."
On the NFL teams:
"I have a few teams, but right now I just have to be training. My agents have got to be listening and they are going to be emailing me so I have them all set up for the beginning of next month. I will hopefully take a vacation trip here and there. I still don't know which teams but I will probably find out tonight or sometime soon."
How did it feel:
"It felt good; all eyes were not on me though. We had other players out here training and they had to come show what they had for the teams too. It felt good just to be out here with them just going through the whole training process with them. We worked hard every day up in Arizona, and I felt like it paid off. Mark Barron looked good and so did Trent [Richardson]. Just to see that those guys did well it felt good."
The Alabama program:
"The talk is that we will have a lot of guys go first round. Everyone wants to do well and showcase their skills. That talk is what will get people to come out to see if this hype is really what it is. I feel that everyone proved that point. We have this thing that we say to each other 'go make money' and that is basically what it is. We all have dreams of making it to the league and the time is close. We all want to prove that the hype is what it is."
"Personally, it has been nonstop since the championship game with picking the agent two days later and training for the senior bowl, then going up to Arizona and now here. It is nonstop with me and I am sure that the other guys would say the same, it is hard work and there is nothing easy to it. It is like going through recruitment all over again but you are actually putting in more work. As a high schooler you get to sit on the couch and the teams will mail you the letters, but here everything is basically a job interview and that is what it is."
"Honestly they all ask if I am able to play either position and never once broke it down and said that I would be playing this position and not this position. I do not know what I will be playing but whatever it is will be ready to go; I am just really ready to get the play book and getting started. I miss the football part of it, it feels like this training has gone forever so I am ready to get picked up then get the play book and go."
"I wanted to lose weight. I weighed 273 Indianapolis so I wanted to get down to 268 or 265. Honestly I gained weight, but I also gained flexibility. My hips feel better and I am able to do things that I was not able to do when I was in Indianapolis or in the season with my hips. In a way it is a good thing that I came out the way I did and did drills the way I did."
"I have been running a consistent 4.8 up in Arizona so I had it in my mind that I wanted to run a 4.7."
On the day and injury:
"It went well. My mindset today was to go out and show these teams that I am getting healthy. I had a bilateral repair surgery. Right now I am somewhere between 80 and 90 percent. Some of the change in direction stuff I was not ready for so I had to sit out in some of those drills."
On what he ran:
"From what I heard it was a 4.51 and for me being between 80 and 90 percent that is pretty good."
What he was hoping to show teams:
"I wanted to show them that I am getting healthy and that I am getting better. That was my main focus."
"I have a few teams lined up but I cannot say who. A few scouts came by and said a few things, mainly that I was looking good."
Best case scenario draft pick:
"As early as possible."
"I have been working out in Arizona. Then I went home and worked with my personal trainer back in Mobile."
How many guys from Alabama worked out:
"I think five, it didn't feel like home but I had some people out there with me."
What he brings to a team:
"I bring whatever they need me to bring. I am a versatile player; I can do a lot of different things so I think that I can do whatever a team needs me to do."
Ability to play through injury:
"I think that one of the things that they know that I am a tough guy and they know that I will play through injury, so I do not think that is anything that they are worried about."