BATON ROUGE, La. -- Three LSU players arrived at Monday’s NFL pro day workouts with the goal of showing pro scouts that they are quicker on their feet than they showed at last month’s NFL scouting combine.
Jones and Mills both significantly improved upon their times in the 40-yard dash at the combine, with Jones posting blistering times of 4.38 seconds and 4.4 -- his combine time was 4.59 -- and Mills posting 4.48 and 4.51 after a disappointing 4.61 in Indianapolis.
“It was personal. For real, I was heated [after the combine],” Jones chuckled. “Me and Mills, we were heated the whole time. We went back training and we were like, ‘Naw, that’s not us, bro. That’s not us.’”
Mills said improving the 40 time was his main objective, along with displaying enough quickness in position drills to convince scouts that he can play cornerback in the pros. He played corner for his first two seasons at LSU before shifting to safety for his final two seasons. He also lined up as a slot corner when the Tigers shifted to a nickel defense.
“[The 40 time] was No. 1 and also to show these guys I’m quick, fast, I’ve got ball skills and show them that if I’m not the best DB in the draft, I’m one of the best for sure,” Mills said.
Alexander stood on his drill times and bench press numbers (25 repetitions of lifting 225 pounds) from the combine, participating only in Monday’s offensive line drills alongside former teammate Jerald Hawkins.
Alexander ran a 5.57 time in the 40 in Indianapolis, but said NFL personnel told him he did not need to run again.
“Football players are football players,” Alexander said. “I did [the 40 at the combine] and my 10-yard split was pretty good, so the feedback I got from scouts and GMs and other guys was that I’m good on that.”
Instead, his goal was to move more nimbly than he did in position drills at the combine. Alexander wants to prove that he can play either guard or tackle in the NFL, and he has worked since the combine to be lighter on his feet.
“[I wanted to] really improve on football skills: Hand placement, footwork, foot consistency and speed and things like that -- basically football-oriented stuff,” Alexander said. “It’s definitely something I’m working on. They love my power, they love my actual footwork technique, it’s just the consistency of getting the steps down.”
Jones, Mills, Alexander and Hawkins -- all projected early- to middle-round draft picks -- were among 12 former Tigers who worked out for scouts on Monday. Among the others were punter Jamie Keehn, defensive tackle Quentin Thomas, long snapper Reid Ferguson and linebacker Lamar Louis, who has gotten some interest as a safety and even a running back (a position he played in high school).
“I got a call from the Vikings and they wanted to see my hip mobility, if I could run, and they might work me out as a safety/linebacker and I’m not opposed to that,” Louis said. “Anything that could get my foot in the door, let me showcase my skills.”
Louis ran NFL-caliber times of 4.53 and 4.6 on Monday and also completed 26 reps on bench, both of which would have been good for third among linebackers at the combine. LSU coach Les Miles said his speed and versatility (plus his ability to cover kicks on special teams) can only help Louis, even if he was not a regular starter for the Tigers.
“I think [safety is] not a bad other position,” Miles said. “What’s interesting is ... you’re looking at a guy that really is going to run 4.55, that can fly and frankly ... Lamar Louis is going to be just as physical on the run as anybody.”
LSU notes: Miles also addressed two pieces of news with his current team. The Tigers added a member to their 2016 signing class on Monday, with three-star prospect Sci Martin officially becoming the 24th member of LSU’s signing class. ESPN projected Martin as an outside linebacker, but Miles said he expects him to play defensive end. ... Miles said the Tigers still have not received word on tight end Dillon Gordon's appeal for another season of NCAA eligibility. Gordon appeared in three games as a senior in 2015 but was lost for good midway through the season after reinjuring the left Achilles that initially caused him to miss time. “We certainly hope that he gets another opportunity,” Miles said. “I think he played I want to say 24 or 40 plays, total, for a year.”