Pro Day a big day, and not only for the stars

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AUBURN, Ala. - Auburn's Pro Day today will be important for everyone who participates. No potential NFL player wants to waste a chance to show off in front of scouts and coaches. Even left tackle Greg Robinson, a lock first-round pick, could improve his status by adding to his head-turning show at the NFL Combine.

But, really, Pro Day is most important for those who weren't at the Combine and those who are in nobody's mock drafts but are looking for chances. And don't think the scouts don't pay attention.

Cam Newton was the star of the show at Auburn's 2010 Pro Day, but defensive tackle Zach Clayton turned heads with two sub-4.7 40-yard dashes, was drafted by the Tennessee Titans and made the team.

Last year, it only took one look at linebacker Daren Bates to know he had done his part to get ready. And it showed. Bates' performance at Pro Day earned him a shot with the St. Louis Rams, and he made the team.

Every NFL roster has its share of undrafted free agents and low draft picks. That's why guys like defensive tackle Kenneth Carter, linebacker Jake Holland, defensive backs Ryan White and Ryan Smith, defensive end Nosa Eguae, defensive back Blake Poole and snapper Jake Lembke have worked to prepare themselves for this opportunity. You never know when a scout or a coach or a general manager will like what he sees.

It will be a big day for defensive end Dee Ford, who has been projected as a first-rounder but wasn't allowed to work out at the Combine because of back issues. Cornerback Chris Davis will have a chance to show he should move up. Fullback Jay Prosch, who inexplicably was not invited to the Combine, will get his chance, too.

Punter Steven Clark and kicker Cody Parkey will be signed by somebody whether they are drafted or not. And that team will have somebody watching at Auburn's Pro Day.

Pro Day is usually a festive occasion. Coaches and current players come to watch. For those participating, it's an opportunity to show they are ready to pursue their dreams. Some will be better prepared than others.

Phillip Lolley, Auburn's director of football external relations, will oversee it all. And he'll do well like he does everything well.

Pro Day in 2010 was probably Auburn's biggest ever. Newton and Nick Fairley were there, and that meant the top people from every NFL team were there. Newton had not thrown at the Combine. Last year, with a small number of seniors and fewer legitimate prospects, there wasn't much buzz.

With Auburn coming off an SEC championship season, the buzz is back.

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