Bama's Hightower, Kirkpatrick work out for scouts

By John Zenor

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, March 7 2012 3:46 p.m. MST

NFL scouts time DeQuan Menzie in the 40 on NFL Pro Day at the University of Alabama on Wednesday, March 7, 2012, in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Butch Dill, Associated Press

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Dont'a Hightower and Dre Kirkpatrick had already run for the stopwatches at the NFL combine.

The two former Alabama stars let those 40 times stand but wanted to use the Crimson Tide's first of two pro days Wednesday to show representatives of the 32 NFL teams they can move quickly for their size in various drills.

"Approaching the combine there was questions about my weight, about my speed," said Hightower, a 6-foot-2, 265-pound linebacker. "I think I proved to a lot of people that even though I'm a big guy, I can still move."

Ditto for Kirkpatrick, who is a 6-2, 186-pound cornerback.

"My size was a pretty big question — could I move with my size?" Kirkpatrick said. "I felt like that was something I needed to come out here and prove to people. I feel like I did a great job of trying to achieve it, not achieve it, but try to achieve it. The only thing I can do is do my best."

Attendees for Round 1 included NFL general managers Kevin Colbert of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Ruston Webster of the Tennessee Titans.

Tide stars Trent Richardson, Courtney Upshaw and Mark Barron — all projected first-round picks — are recovering from injuries and are scheduled to perform at Alabama's indoor facility on March 29. Richardson had minor knee surgery before the combine, while Barron reportedly had surgery for a double hernia. Alabama coach Nick Saban said Upshaw didn't perform Wednesday because of tendinitis in a knee.

Hightower, who ran a 4.68 40 at the combine in Indianapolis, said he will do his 225-pound repetitions on the bench press on March 29.

He said he has shed 10 pounds since the season by eating better and cutting out sodas and juice.

"It kind of sucks but I'll swallow that for a little while and do what I've got to do," said Hightower, projected as an early-round pick who might edge into the first.

Kirkpatrick said he's not worried about questions from NFL teams about his arrest on Jan. 17 in Florida for misdemeanor possession, a charge that was later dropped. The likely first-round pick said he doesn't think the incident will affect his draft stock.

"I just go in and speak the truth," he said. "I feel like if you give the truth, nothing extra will come out of it because it's the truth really. It's nothing but the truth."

Fellow cornerback DeQuan Menzie cut his combine 40 time from 4.74 to 4.66. Saban said he could also play safety in the NFL, which Menzie said wouldn't be a problem since he played the position in high school.

"He's been one of the best corners that we've had here," Saban said. "If you look at the history here, most of our guys have gotten drafted and most of them have made somebody's team. He's as good or better than those guys, so he's going to make somebody's team and be a good player for them as well."

Like Hightower and Kirkpatrick, receiver Marquis Maze didn't try to best his 40 time from the combine (4.51). Fellow receiver Darius Hanks ran again and was a few ticks slower (4.69, up from 4.66).

Noseguard Josh Chapman mostly watched while recovering from Jan. 17 surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament. He hurt the knee during the Oct. 1 Florida game but played the rest of the season except a mismatch against Georgia Southern,

The beefy Chapman did put on a show by benching 225 pounds 29 times.

"I hadn't benched in forever," Chapman said. "I didn't know what my number was going to be. I said, I'm going to hop on and get the bench. I started at 185 to see how it felt. I've been on crutches a long time. My thing was not to put stress on the knee. I can walk on it a little better now and I said let me see what I can do on the bench.

"That's a good number. At the same time I know I've done more numbers than that."

Menzie said another number is keeping he and his ex-teammates focused in the remaining weeks before the draft: That first NFL contract.

"We've just got to go get that money," he said. "That's what Dont'a and Kirk (Kirkpatrick) say all the time. You've got to have the money on your mind."

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