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Auburn hosts pro day with 14 former players going through workouts, drills for NFL scouts

Former Auburn wide receiver Duke Williams runs the 40-yard dash at the program's pro day Monday, March 7, 2016 at the university's athletic complex.
Former Auburn wide receiver Duke Williams runs the 40-yard dash at the program's pro day Monday, March 7, 2016 at the university's athletic complex. Ledger-Enquirer.com

Auburn was the first team in the SEC West to host its pro day on Monday when it welcomed more than 50 NFL scouts and coaches on campus.

Every NFL team was represented at the university’s indoor practice facility except for the Arizona Cardinals. New England coach Bill Belichick was the lone NFL head coach in attendance.

Fourteen former players were invited to go through workouts and drills in front of the contingent of NFL personnel.

“This time of the year is always exciting to see these guys take the next step, try to impress the scouts and it looks like they’re having a good time out there flying around,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said.

Malzahn even extended an invitation to former Auburn wide receiver D’haquille Williams, who the coach dismissed from the program back in October.

“I just decided to give him a chance for his future to show what he can do in front of the scouts and I made that call last week,” Malzahn said. “He’s out here and we wish him the best.”

Williams second opportunity to impress scouts didn’t go much better than the first. He ran an unofficial hand-timed 4.70 and 4.72 in the 40-yard dash. His electronic time at the combine was 4.72.

The wide receiver was one of eight former Auburn players invited to the NFL scouting combine last week in Indianapolis that attended the program’s pro day. The list included running back Peyton Barber, offensive tackle Shon Coleman, linebacker Kris Frost, defensive back Jonathan Jones, wide receiver Ricardo Louis, linebacker Cassanova McKinzy and offensive lineman Avery Young.

Coleman didn’t participate in any drills as he recovers from a slight MCL tear in his right knee.

“It’s definitely frustrating,” Coleman said of sitting out again. “Being at the combine, I truly feel like I’m probably the most athletic lineman there. Me not being able to showcase that is kind of painful, but at the same time it’s a rehab process so I’m trying to get everything ready.”

Players that competed at both events could elect to skip workouts if they were happy with their previous performance.

Jones, who ran the third fastest overall time at the combine (4.33 seconds), declined to re-run the 40-yard dash, but did participate in position drills.

“The combine is more of a track meet, things like that is what they call it, but right now it’s time to get back more into football, football drills and football-specific stuff,” Jones said.

Auburn’s pro day also included NFL hopefuls Blake Countess, Devonte Danzey, Justin Garrett, Keymiya Harrell and DaVonte Lambert.

Countess had the best overall pro day from either group with the top vertical jump (36 1/2) and fastest unofficial 40-yard dash time (4.49 seconds). He also had a strong broad jump (10’1’’) and bench press (21 reps). His performance on the bench press would have tied for first place at the NFL combine in his position group.

“I felt like I would’ve been top three performers in more than one drill,” Countess said. “That was my goal. You have to compete, even when you’re not around. I wasn’t there, but I’m competing here.”

Garrett had a strong start to his day with 28 reps on the bench press, but tweaked his hamstring during his second attempt at the 40-yard dash. The linebacker sat out the rest of the afternoon.