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Wednesday, Mar. 09, 2011

Auburn football notes: Nick Fairley keeps impressing scouts at pro day

- abitter@ledger-enquirer.com
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AUBURN, Ala. -- Nick Fairley’s pro day was brief, the kind you’re entitled to have after doing almost everything at the NFL Scouting Combine.

But the former Auburn defensive tackle, who is expected to go near the top of April’s NFL Draft, still went through a variety of position drills Tuesday.

“I can just show that I’ve still been working,” said Fairley, who was pleased with his day. “Even though the combine is over with … I’m still training.

“I wanted to show those guys that I’m still working to get better.”

Fairley measured in at 6-foot-4, 297 pounds (six more than in Indianapolis), then stuck with his combine numbers for the individual drills.

He showed agility and footwork while weaving through cones and pads as scouts watched.

“If anybody can tell if a guy can play football running through dummies, he’s better than I am,” Buffalo general manager Buddy Nix said. “But you do see athletic ability. He has great ability, feet, speed and bursts and all of those things. He’s a good player. He makes plays on Saturdays, and he’ll make them again on Sundays.”

Several teams with high picks took an interest in Fairley’s drills. Denver coach John Fox and new executive vice president of football operations John Elway stood among a cluster of scouts watching. Fairley also spoke with Carolina coach Ron Rivera, whose Panthers own the No. 1 pick.

“They’ve been talking to me, but all the teams have been talking to me,” Fairley said. “It would be wonderful if I was able to go there. It doesn’t matter what team I go to -- I just want to play football.”

An eye catcher

Asking Auburn’s players which Tiger had the best pro day performance, one name kept coming up: defensive tackle Zach Clayton.

After weighing in at 6-foot-2, 299 pounds, he ran a 4.68-second 40-yard dash.

“That even shocked me,” Clayton said.

He had a 33.5-inch vertical and a 10-foot broad jump, second-best on the team to linebacker Craig Stevens’ 10 feet, 2 inches.

Clayton finished the workouts by lifting 225 pounds 27 times on the bench press, tops on the team.

“I think I helped myself out a lot,” Clayton said. “My goal coming into today was just to get my name out there and open a few eyes. I think I accomplished that today.”

Workout wonders

Auburn had 22 former players participate in Tuesday’s pro day, including a pair of 2009 seniors -- quarterback Chris Todd and defensive end/tight end Gabe McKenzie.

Cornerback Demond Washington turned in the fastest 40 time, finishing his second run in 4.3 seconds. He was followed by wide receiver Terrell Zachery (4.40), safety Zac Etheridge (4.51) and wide receiver Kodi Burns (4.55).

Wide receiver Darvin Adams and McKenzie tied for the best vertical jump at 35 inches.

Ryan Pugh finished second on the bench press with 25 reps of 225 pounds, followed by McKenzie (24) and Mike Blanc (23).

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