The New Orleans Saints' focus for the NFL Draft shifted from their facility at 5800 Airline Drive in Metairie to Baton Rouge on Monday as LSU held their 2011 Pro day, featuring the workouts of seniors and draft eligible juniors at the Charles McClendon Practice facility on campus.
While, scouts from most NFL teams were here, the black and gold had the biggest presence at the purple and gold's facility. Saints Executive Vice-President Mickey Loomis, Head Coach Sean Payton and Director of College Scouting Rick Reiprish were present along with the entire Saints coaching staff and several members of the scouting staff. Other NFL Head Coaches joining Payton were Pittsburgh's Mike Tomlin and Carolina's Ron Rivera.
Loomis welcomed the opportunity to bring a large number of his football staff to Baton Rouge for the day, which allowed them to look at approximately ten players from LSU's 2010 squad. The club's chief football executive visits a handful of pro days each year, based on the number of players at a school. The annual trip to the SEC Powerhouse, which is one of only two schools to have captured two national championships in the last ten years, is always on his list.
"We bring our whole staff up here every year because of the proximity and the relationship we have with LSU," said Loomis. "We have a lot of respect for this program and obviously they've had a lot of really good players who have played in the NFL. It's a chance for us to get out of the office and get some information on draft eligible players."
The day started off for the players at 11 a.m. in the weight room of LSU's indoor practice facility, when they were measured for height, weight and arm and hand length by scouts. In another section of the weight facility, the vertical jump of the players was measured. All the players except for specialists and wide receivers then moved over to the weights, where they bench-pressed 225 pounds as many times as possible.
Following the measurements and bench, the action moved out to the indoor field, where following a brief warm-up period, the players took part in the 40-yard dash, the 20-yard shuttle and the 60-yard shuttle. At the conclusion of this, the players then broke up into position groups with scouts and position coaches from the Saints and other clubs and were run through drills specific to their position.
In addition to the drills, these pro days give the scouting and coaching staffs another opportunity to see these draft eligible players for themselves as well as meet with them.
After first going through this routine at the NFL Scouting combine in Indianapolis in February, the players felt comfortable going through the routine a second time in front of executives, scouts and coaches.
"This definitely gives you a glimpse of what the NFL is going to be like," said Tigers defensive tackle Drake Nevis, who along with CB Patrick Peterson are considered to be two of the top prospects who worked out today. "You're going to have to come to work every day. They show you how much hard work it is during the drills. They show how you have to work and the type of effort you have to give, with very little break between the drills."