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Pro day: Ex-Bama stars T.J. Yeldon, DeAndrew White impress

3/11/2015

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Amari Cooper and Landon Collins didn't run the 40-yard dash at Alabama's pro day. They were happy with their times from the NFL combine. But Wednesday's event provided an opportunity for other former Crimson Tide players to showcase their skills and impress the NFL coaches and scouts in attendance.

The most notable player to run the 40 was T.J. Yeldon. The former Alabama running back ran a 4.61 at the combine, 14th best among the running backs there. On Wednesday, he shaved nearly a tenth of a second off that time as one NFL scout clocked him in the low 4.5 range.

Yeldon also excelled in the passing drills, running routes out of the backfield. He's projected to go anywhere from the second to the fourth round.

Though no official 40 times were released, the fastest player at Alabama's pro day looked to be former wide receiver DeAndrew White, who was clocked in the low 4.4 range. He ran a 4.44 40 at last month's combine.

White isn't getting as much attention as his teammate Cooper, but Alabama coach Nick Saban believes the "underappreciated" White has a high ceiling at the next level.

"He has a lot more ability than maybe what his production maybe has been here," Saban said Wednesday. "Whether it's because of injuries or whatever that he's battled through. He's got great speed. He's got great size. He's been a great special teams player for us, and if you're not a No. 1 or No. 2 receiver on a team, you're going to have to play special teams.

"I think he's going to be a real value for somebody. They're going to get a guy who has great ability that probably could really develop into something special."

The other notable pass-catchers from Alabama's pro day included wide receiver Christion Jones, tight end Brian Vogler and even quarterback Blake Sims. That's right. Sims, who spent most of the day throwing the ball, took a turn running routes and catching passes by request from a number of NFL teams who see Sims as a running back or slot receiver at the next level.

"I'm no Amari Cooper," Sims joked afterwards. "It was kind of different. Six weeks ago I was throwing touchdowns, and now I'm running routes."

But Sims happily obliged, adding that it was just another opportunity for him to reach his dream of playing in the NFL. Still, playing quarterback remains his first choice.

In all, 17 draft-eligible Tide players participated at pro day, and that doesn't include former running back Dee Hart, who returned to Tuscaloosa to take part in the event. Hart transferred to Colorado State prior to last season.