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Vadal Alexander, Jalen Mills hope to display versatility at LSU's pro day

BATON ROUGE, La. -- NFL scouts typically flock to LSU's pro day hoping to evaluate a possible first-round draft pick and a deep pool of talent leaving the Tigers' roster.

Neither of those traditional factors will be in place for Monday's LSU pro day, as this looks to be just the third year since 2004 that the Tigers will not have a first-round pick (the others were 2010 and 2015) and only four LSU players look like safe bets to be selected in April's seven-round draft.

Linebacker Deion Jones, defensive back Jalen Mills and offensive linemen Vadal Alexander and Jerald Hawkins are all projected as early- to middle-round picks next month while other former Tigers like linebacker Lamar Louis, punter Jamie Keehn, defensive tackle Quentin Thomas and long-snapper Reid Ferguson will try to catch a team's eye as possible undrafted free agents.

Rashard Robinson could become a fifth former Tiger drafted this year, although he has not been part of the program since late in the 2014 season. The cornerback last played against Ole Miss on Oct. 25, 2014 before Tigers coach Les Miles first suspended him and later dismissed him from the program.

LSU had four players drafted in 2015, the fewest for the program since three Tigers came off the board in the 2005 draft.

Nonetheless, this remains a huge day for the ex-Tigers who hope to push their way up (or onto) NFL draft boards. Here are the situations facing the Tigers' four likely draft picks:

OL Vadal Alexander: Last month's NFL scouting combine did not go especially well for Alexander, who wants to prove he can play either offensive tackle or guard at the next level. Scouts said Alexander looked slow after running a 5.57-second time in the 40-yard dash and lumbering through position drills. If they believe he is a guard prospect only, Alexander will likely not go as high as he would if teams believe he is athletic enough to play either position.

Nobody doubts Alexander's potential as a pro guard -- NFL.com's Chad Reuter listed him among the draft's safest bets among interior linemen -- but he can improve his draft stock by looking lighter on his feet in Monday's position workouts and assuage concerns that he isn't quick enough to play tackle if necessary.

Currently, ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. lists Alexander as the No. 5 offensive guard in the draft, and NFL.com's Mike Mayock lists him as the No. 4 guard. Mayock projects Alexander as a fourth-round draft pick, while NFL Draft Scout has him as the No. 48 overall prospect, the No. 2 guard and a second-round pick.

DB Jalen Mills: Like Alexander, Mills wants to prove he has the physical tools to play multiple positions.

The four-year starter split time between cornerback and safety at LSU and wants to prove he can play either position in the pros. Some scouting sites evaluate him at corner -- he has extensive experience defending the slot -- and others at safety.

Reuter lists Mills as one of the draft's safest picks at cornerback and projects him as a Round 3 selection. Meanwhile, NFL Draft Scout rates Mills as the No. 67 overall prospect and No. 2 free safety and predicts he will be a Round 2 or 3 pick.

He could help his cause by running a faster 40 at pro day than his official time of 4.61 seconds at the combine. Teams that like him as a corner surely want to see him display better speed. After watching Mills run his first 40 at the combine (where Mills' time was listed as 4.65), NFL Network analyst Deion Sanders remarked, "My goodness. I hope we have a safety over the top," implying that Mills was not fast enough to keep up with NFL receivers.

OLB Deion Jones: The Butkus Award finalist did more in the last year to help his NFL chances than any other Tiger.

Kiper and Mayock both list Jones as their No. 5 outside linebacker prospect, while NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah has him as the No. 48 overall prospect and Reuter projects him as a second-round pick.

It's possible that Jones will become the first Tiger selected this year despite having started just one game prior to the 2015 season when he led LSU with 100 tackles and 13.5 tackles for loss.

OT Jerald Hawkins: Early entry Hawkins' draft standing is more difficult to project. He started at tackle for three years at LSU -- two at right tackle and one at left -- but he will probably come off the board somewhere in the middle or later rounds.

NFL Draft Scout lists him as the No. 9 offensive tackle prospect and a Round 2 or 3 selection. Meanwhile, ESPN's Todd McShay predicts Hawkins will be a Day 2 pick and Reuter did not include him in his four-round mock draft, although he listed him among the players who are still worthy of going in Rounds 1-4.