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Wednesday, Mar. 07, 2012

Auburn football notes: Neiko Thorpe makes pro day count

- jerickson@ledger-enquirer.com
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AUBURN, Ala. -- Neiko Thorpe knew he had one chance to make a good impression in front of NFL scouts.

Thorpe, who wasn’t invited to the NFL Scouting Combine in February, made it count Tuesday at Auburn’s pro day in front of roughly a dozen scouts present to take a look at the Tigers’ draft-eligible prospects.

Thorpe, a safety who led the team with three interceptions and ranked second on the team with 102 tackles, measured 6-foot-1¼, weighed 198 pounds and ran the 40-yard dash in 4.40 seconds. He also recorded a 38-inch vertical jump, although he did only four repetitions on the bench.

On his first attempt, Thorpe was clocked in 4.42 seconds. Both times would have been the fastest mark for any safety at the combine. South Carolina State’s Christian Thompson was the fastest in Indianapolis at 4.50 seconds.

“I felt like I did good, like I took advantage of the opportunity,” Thorpe said. “Of course, like any other athlete, I felt like there were a lot of other areas I wanted to do better in.”

Thorpe, who has been training at the Rock Institute in Newport, Calif., turned in a good day and stayed an hour after the festivities ended to meet with scouts.

“I can play corner, safety, nickel. I talked to a lot of teams, and I told them I play a lot of special teams,” Thorpe said. “I just wanted to get out here and run and show them what I can do.”

Staying pat

Offensive tackle Brandon Mosley, who measured in at 6-5, 311 pounds, chose not to go through workouts after posting an impressive combine workout in Indianapolis.

Mosley, who is projected as a third-round draft pick by NFL.com, was a top-10 finisher among offensive linemen at the combine in the 40-yard dash, the bench press and the 3-cone drill in Indianapolis.

Mosley participated in only offensive line drills Tuesday.

“I felt like I did pretty decent at the combine and put up pretty good numbers, so I figured I’d let them represent me,” Mosley said.

At the combine, Mosley was interviewed by several teams about the draft, and he said teams have asked him a lot of questions about his versatility, whether he can play tackle or guard, and his history as a tight end at Coffeyville Junior College in Kansas.

“I want to go in any round,” Mosley said. “Just a chance to play at the next level.”

Heavy lifting

Eltoro Freeman, who was one of Auburn’s best defenders during the second half of the season, turned in one of the most impressive performances by recording 28 reps on the bench press, only two fewer than Mosley did at the combine.

“Yeah, I was going for 30, you know,” Freeman said. “But I kind of burnt myself out.”

Freeman, who has been training in Charlotte, N.C., weighed 236 pounds, smaller than most NFL linebackers, although it’s mitigated by Freeman’s height. He measured at 5-11.

Quick hits

Long-snapper Josh Harris, who is the highest-rated snapper in the NFL Draft, did not snap much at Tuesday’s workout due to his high workload in Indianapolis. Harris said he snapped more than 200 times during the special teams as the combine’s only long-snapper. … Former Auburn H-back Eric Smith, who was dismissed from the team following the 2010 season for an arrest on third-degree domestic violence charges, tried out. “We all make mistakes,” Smith said. “I’ve made mine. Unfortunately, mine was a little more in the public eye than everyone else’s.”

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