If this were a prize fight, Marlon Davis would have been billed as the undercard while Andre Smith would have been touted as the main event. After it was all said and done, though, it was Davis who arguably delivered the biggest knockout of the day.
With the eyes and ears of the NFL world focused on Smith after last month’s NFL combine fiasco, it was Davis who turned in a better overall workout on Alabama’s pro day Wednesday in front of NFL scouts, coaches and players at the Hank Crisp Indoor Facility on the University of Alabama campus.
“Today, I really wanted to be relaxed, first of all,” Davis said. “Sometimes you can get so over pumped you don’t perform well. I prayed before I came in. God told me all I had to do is perform. Thank the Lord, today was a very good day.”
After not being able to participate in the Senior Bowl and the combine, Davis registered 24 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press, ran the 40-yard dash in 5.17 seconds and navigated the three-cone drill in 7.81 seconds. He measured out at a height of 6-2 3/8 and a weight of 299 pounds.
While the overall numbers in the afternoon were solid, Davis felt like most of his private one-on-one sessions earlier in the day were just as convincing.
“The most important drills today were when we did the individual drills with the coaches,” Davis said. “I had to show them that I could move my feet and pass protect. I had to show how good I was on my feet, agility-wise and how quick I could move. That’s what I wanted to show them today. I did that.”
Said Alabama center and pro day participant Antoine Caldwell, “Marlon looked absolutely great. Athletic, strong, he did a good job today. I was real impressed with Marlon.”
Following the Sugar Bowl, Davis stayed in Tuscaloosa to train while completing his degree in Business, which he will receive in May. During the two-month stretch from the Tide’s 31-17 loss to Utah leading up to pro day, Davis said he worked specifically on his “agility, fundamentals and pass protection” in order to prepare.
“Changed my eating habits, put on muscle mass. Just came out here and performed the best I could do today,” Davis said.
Following Wednesday’s impressive showing, Davis and his agent Mike Giorgio will move on to Phase 2 — private workouts. The New York Jets and New York Giants have already scheduled private workouts with Davis for next week. In addition to the Jets and the Giants, the Oakland Raiders, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans, Kansas City Chiefs, Jacksonville Jaguars and St. Louis Rams have expressed interest.
“I was looking for a good Christian man,” Davis said of his decision to hire Giorgio as his agent. “(He’s) a man of God I can work closely with. I was praying that I would get an honest agent. An agent that’s not about money. An agent that wants to help me get better not as just a football player but as a person.”
Davis had been projected as a late-round draft pick. Some experts have said Davis may not get drafted and would have to go the free-agent route to make it to the NFL.
Running back Glen Coffee, safety Rashad Johnson, quarterback John Parker Wilson and Caldwell each took part mainly in individual drills (opting to let their NFL combine results stand on their own) while Smith, defensive end Bobby Greenwood, tight ends Travis McCall and Nick Walker and wide receiver Nikita Stover each participated in full.
Caldwell opted to run the 20-yard shuttle and the three-cone agility drill while Coffee ran the 40. Johnson and Wilson opted to stick with just positional drills.
“I went to the combine and ran faster than people thought I was going to do,” Johnson said. “I just came out here just to do position drills. I was pleased with the time I put up.”
Caldwell said he took part in pro day to show NFL teams his will and desire to “compete.”
“I just wanted to come out here and try to improve on some things,” Caldwell said. “I knew I was going to do the shuttle then I got greedy and did the three cone. I felt like doing that, so I did it.”