Alabama football hosts Pro Day for players looking to play at next level

Alabama football hosts Pro Day for players looking to play at next level
Derek Kief participates in Alabama Crimson Tide's Pro Day in Tuscaloosa. (Kent Gidley/UA Athletics)

Representatives from every NFL team were in Tuscaloosa Tuesday for Pro Day to size up 19 Crimson Tide football players set to enter this year’s draft.

Draft-eligible players who took part in the day’s events were: Isaiah Buggs, Joshua Casher, Ronnie Clark, Lester Cotton Sr., Johnny Dwight, Damien Harris, Hale Hentges, Josh Jacobs, Austin Jones, Derek Kief, D.J. Lewis, Christian Miller, Jamey Mosley, Ross Pierschbacher, Irv Smith Jr., Saivion Smith, Jonah Williams, Quinnen Williams and Mack Wilson.

“I think the guys understand the routine,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said of the players. “They have sort of grown up seeing these kind of days with this many people here. I think they understand what they need to do to prepare for things like this, to try to create as many opportunities as you can to get them exposure. The best thing for our program now is for every one of these guys to get drafted as high as they can, so we try to help them in every way that we can.”

Among the NFL representatives were New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, Cincinnati Bengals coach Zac Taylor and general managers Marty Hurney (Panthers), Mike Mayock (Raiders), Mickey Loomis (Saints), John Lynch (49ers), Kevin Colbert (Steelers), Brandon Beane (Bills), Bob Quinn (Lions) and Jon Robinson (Titans).

The players started with height and weight measurements followed by bench press and vertical jump. They then recorded their 40-yard dash times in the Hank Crisp Indoor Facility, where they also went through agility drills and position-specific drills.

More than 150 credentialed media members were there, including NFL Network, ESPN and SEC Network. The NFL Network and SEC Network carried the four-hour event live.

The 2019 NFL Draft is scheduled for April 25-27 in Nashville. The three-day event will broadcast on NFL Network, ABC, ESPN and ESPN Deportes.

While the players are excited about the pro careers that may await them, some were struck by how they will never again wear the crimson uniform.

“It’s sad,” offensive lineman Jonah Williams said. “I just got back here a couple days ago and it’s just back to the old stomping grounds. I had a lot of great experiences here and a lot of success, obviously, as a team, and I will leave with a lot of good memories. It’s good to be back. I wasn’t gone long enough to feel like I’m actually leaving.”

Linebacker Mack Wilson shared the sentiment.

“What I’m going to miss most is the guys on the team,” he said. “I feel like that’s a relationship that I’ve created with them, like a brotherhood. Henry Ruggs III was like my little brother, somebody I helped throughout this process, and I’m going to miss him and the guys on the team as a whole in addition to the coaches. The relationships we built and all the moments we had throughout my career, that’s what I’m going to miss the most.”

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