Alabama Football: 5 Players with Most to Prove at Pro Day

Sanjay Kirpalani@@SanjayKirpalaniNational Recruiting AnalystMarch 9, 2014

Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron throws during a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Michael Conroy/Associated Press

In the aftermath of the Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine, the players in Alabama’s 2014 draft class will now turn their attention to the Tide’s upcoming pro day on March 12.

With Nick Saban's club once again loaded with a stable of potential early-round choices, a horde of NFL scouts and personnel are expected to make their way to Tuscaloosa next week. 

While standouts such as linebacker C.J. Mosley and safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix look like strong bets to be first-round draft selections, there are a handful of former Tide stars who have some work to do in hopes of improving their respective draft stocks.

What can former Tide standouts, such as quarterback AJ McCarron, do to enhance their respective draft stocks, and which players have the most to gain at pro day?


Cyrus Kouandjio

Of the 12 members of the Tide contingent that travelled to Indianapolis for the combine, Cyrus Kouandjio had the roughest go of it inside Lucas Oil Stadium.

According to’s Ian Rapoport, Kouandjio failed his physical with a handful of clubs due to an arthritic knee.

However, according to Chase Goodbread of, Alabama’s team doctor has given Kouandjio’s knee a healthier endorsement, at least in the short term.

Regardless of his ailments, pro day represents another opportunity for Kouandjio to put teams at ease with regards to his ability to play left tackle at a high level in the NFL.


NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 02: Jeoffrey Pagan #8 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates after a sack against the Oklahoma Sooners during the Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 2, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Sean Ga
Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Jeoffrey Pagan

Similar to Sunseri, Pagan is another junior who chose to forgo his final year of eligibility despite being projected as a late-round selection.

Pagan chose to skip the workout and drills at the combine in favor of doing everything at the Tide’s pro day.

Considering that he’s somewhat of a mystery in terms of draft stock, Pagan’s hopes of getting drafted may hinge on how well he performs on Wednesday.


NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 02:  Roy Finch #22 of the Oklahoma Sooners is tackled by Adrian Hubbard #42 of the Alabama Crimson Tide during the Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 2, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Kevin
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Adrian Hubbard

With a solid performance in Indianapolis, Adrian Hubbard exited the combine as a solid outside linebacker prospect who could come off the board in the middle rounds.

CBS Sports currently has Hubbard projected as a fourth-round pick. Despite flashes of dominance, Hubbard’s college career was plagued by stretches of inconsistency.

However, if the 6’6”, 257-pounder can improve on his numbers in his pro day, his frame and athleticism could help bump his stock up.

AJ McCarron

After weeks of discussion surrounding AJ McCarron’s decision to skip the Senior Bowl, the Tide’s all-time leading passer was able to quiet some of his critics by delivering a solid performance in Indianapolis, according to Andrew Gribble of

"He looked today like he was just hanging out in the backyard and throwing it," said NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock. "It was easy. He didn't seem like he felt any pressure. The ball comes out nicely. I don't think he's got a huge arm but he's got a good arm, and he's accurate."

While his measurables and athleticism aren’t going to draw any comparisons to Johnny Manziel, his ability to display his arm strength and accuracy is critical for him to close the gap between himself and passers such as Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles and Derek Carr.

Performing within the friendly confines of the Mal Moore Athletic Facility and with his own receivers is McCarron’s best chance to make the statement that he’s one of the best quarterbacks in the 2014 class.


Butch Dill/Associated Press

Vinnie Sunseri

One of the more surprising early departures for the NFL draft came from junior safety Vinnie Sunseri, whose final college campaign concluded abruptly after he tore his ACL midseason.

His subsequent recovery has caused him to be inactive in the predraft circuit. However, according to Senior Bowl executive director Phil Savage, Sunseri is aiming to participate in the Tide’s second pro day later this month.

Given his limited body of work in 2013, this is Sunseri’s first, and possibly last, chance to make an impression—which makes his upcoming workout extremely important to his draft stock.