NFL turns out for Alabama 'Pro Day'

Mike Johnson on the bench.
Mike Johnson on the bench.
Rolando McClain runs 40.
Rolando McClain runs 40.
Terrence Cody does a vertical jump.
Terrence Cody does a vertical jump.

TUSCALOOSA, AL - The University of Alabama held its Pro Day which featured 18 draft-eligible Crimson Tide players with all 32 NFL team in attendance.

Head Coach Nick Saban was there to both welcome representatives and support his former players, of whom he spoke very highly.

"They have size, speed, and are pretty good character guys as well," Saban said. "They showed well for themselves, in terms of what they were able to do throughout the season."

All 32 teams in the National Football League were represented, including head coaches Tom Coughlin of the New York Giants, John Fox of the Carolina Panthers and Rex Ryan of the New York Jets.

Fox spoke of the transition these players are getting prepared to make.

"It's a little bit like going from high school to college," Fox said. "There's a level jump, the season's longer and the NFL is built to have parity, so that every game is competitive.  I'd liken it to trying to see if a great high school player is going to make it at Alabama."

Players started the day with an 11 a.m. testing in the weight room, including height, weight, standing broad jump, vertical and bench press.  Terrance Cody impressed many, weighing in at 349, dropping five pounds from his weight at the combine and 21 pounds from his weight in the Senior Bowl.

"I've worked hard ever since the senior bowl to try to get it down where people wanted to see it," Cody. "So, to come in today at 349, that was big."

After finishing in the weight room, around noon, the event moved to the indoor facility where players partook in the 40-yard dash, agility testing and position specific drills.

Crimson Tide linebacker Rolando McClain ran his first 40-yard dash for the scouts on Wednesday and went through position drills. McClain also disclosed that he was dealing with the effects of Crohn's disease, something he has had since his freshman year of high school, and wasn't 100 percent on Wednesday.

"It shows that I have the ability to fight through everything," said McClain. "There are thirty-two teams and I wanted to show them something.  I know they didn't want to come see a guy sit on the sidelines, they wanted to see me run. I think I showed them that even when I don't feel my best I can step-up and get it done."

Some players chose to use NFL scouting combine results, where the Crimson Tide was represented by 10 players.  Of those was Kareem Jackson, whose statistics at the combine proved his athletic ability.

"I think Kareem has helped himself out a lot with the way he has worked out and the time he ran at the combine," said Saban.  "Some people may determine that by what his playing speed is, but I think when he ran a good time it helped make the decision he made a good one.  If he hadn't have run a good time, it might have made it a bad one."

Cornerback and return specialist Javier Arenas was unable to participate in today's pro day due to a pulled hamstring, which occurred while running the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine.

"It is disappointing, but I'm positive about everything.  I try to make the best of a situation and this situation wasn't that bad originally anyway."