Tide welcomes NFL to campus for 2011 Pro Day

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The University of Alabama held its annual Pro Day Wednesday with 10 draft-eligible Crimson Tide players participating and all 32 NFL teams in attendance.

Denver Broncos Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway, Broncos  head coach John Fox, Cleveland Browns general manager Tom Heckert, San Francisco 49ers general manager Trent Baalke, Buffalo Bills general manager Buddy Nix, as well as Ron Rivera head coach of the Carolina Panthers were just a few of the marquee names in attendance.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban was impressed with the turnout of NFL scouts and the way his players represented themselves on and off the football field.

"It means a lot to me that scouts think we have high-character guys," Saban said. "We want to help our players develop personally so that they develop the thoughts, habits and priorities that are going to help them make good choices and decisions so that they can be more successful in their life.

"A lot of players nowadays think the responsibility only comes on the field," Saban added. "I think to the NFL people, the responsibility also comes in how you represent yourself off the field and that's something we really try to emphasize to our players."

Draft-eligible Crimson Tide athletes that participated were: Earl Alexander, James Carpenter, Luther Davis, Marcell Dareus, Mark Ingram, Brian Motley and Chavis Williams. Greg McElroy, Julio Jones and Preston Dial were present but unable to participate due to injury.

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.

Mark Ingram improved his 40-yard dash from 4.61 at the NFL Combine to a range between 4.47 and 4.53 today while weighing in at 214 pounds.

"I just wanted to compete, come out here and show everybody the type of player I am," Ingram said. "I went well through the position drills, and I'm happy with my performance today."

Ingram also noted his experience of being involved in the draft and what this opportunity means to him.

"It's the opportunity of a lifetime," Ingram said. "It's something that I've dreamed of my whole life. Being able to be a pro football player and play on a stage like this is. It's really been a dream come true and I'm so thankful for it. It has been a tremendous blessing, and I'm so thankful for it."

Following an excellent performance at the NFL Combine and a solid showing in today's workout, Marcell Dareus expressed his excitement over the possibility of being the No. 1 draft pick.

"It would mean a lot." Dareus said, "It would mean a lot for the school, for the team, for the state. It would look good on our resume pretty much."

Dareus also talked about what he wanted to accomplish before the April 28 draft rounds begin.

"I'm going to continue to eat well, eat healthy, stay in shape and keep up with cardio." Dareus said, "I'll probably try to drop a few more pounds to look better, feel better, just to be an all-around better person. I'd like to be around 315 pounds."

The NFL Draft will be held April 28-30 in New York City.

INFORMATION SOURCE: University of Alabama Athletics