Scott G. Winterton, Deseret Morning News
Utah All-American defensive back Eric Weddle keeps his eyes on the ball during "Pro Day" at the University of Utah on Monday.

Eric Weddle probably didn't need to attend Utah's "Pro Day" at the Spence Eccles Field House.

The All-American defensive back has pretty much solidified his position as a first-day selection in next month's National Football League draft.

Even so, Weddle isn't taking any chances. He was more than willing to let potential suitors get another look. Unlike the NFL Scouting Combine, where 25 defensive backs were run through the same drills, Monday's gathering allowed one-on-one interaction with pro scouts.

"The people that came to see me are interested," Weddle said. "I just wanted to show them and do everything possible so they don't have any doubts."

Weddle limited his participation to the broad jump, vertical jump and defensive back drills.

"Now it's just interviews and wait until draft day," he said. "Whatever happens, happens. But I want to put myself in the best position possible."

The decision to join nine of his former teammates, who were also tested by representatives of 20 NFL teams, followed two months of extensive workouts with pro coaches and players in Florida. Weddle said his body fat was reduced from 14 to 10 percent and his quickness and agility improved.

"It's fun now. The combine was stressful because you want to do so well. All the work you put in you want to pay off," he explained. "Now it's just having fun being out with my boys. It was just like practice going through DB drills and stuff.

"I was having fun cheering them on," continued Weddle, who felt his Utah teammates did well. "Everyone did what they are supposed to do."

The other Utes included safety Casey Evans, quarterback Brett Ratliff, wide receiver Fano Tagovailoa, nose guard Paul Soliai, cornerback Shaun Harper, defensive back Eric Shyne, defensive end Soli Lefiti, offensive lineman Tavo Tupola and defensive tackle Kelly Talavou.

"I think we've got some guys who have a chance to play at the next level," said Utah coach Kyle Whittingham, who added that as many as six players have the potential to do so. " ... It's going to be interesting on draft day to see what happens."

Assistant coach Derrick Odum organized the "Pro Day" and felt things went well.

"Guys were prepared. We had a good turnout of scouts and I think (the players) did a nice job. They really did," Odum said. "They all really trained hard, really getting prepared for this day."

Talavou said all of the Utes were a bit nervous in their auditions for a lucrative NFL career. It was countered, however, by the fact that only Weddle and Soliai were invited to last month's combine.

"That just more motivation into me," said Talavou, who felt he gave a good showing.

Players were asked to showcase their skills in a variety of tests in the weight room and on the turf. Drills included lifting and sprints.

"Overall I think I did pretty well," Harper said. "There's a couple of categories I think I could have done better in, but all in all it was a pretty good day."

That was the general consensus of all the players, including Soliai, who improved his combine results. Only Tupola was unable to complete his tasks. The all-conference tackle tweaked his right hamstring running the 40-yard dash. He hopes to participate in Hawaii's "Pro Day" in a couple of weeks.

"I felt really good out here running the drills," said Evans, who hoped he "caught somebody's eye" by posting his best times in many of the tests.

Ratliff has similar hopes. Although he would have liked to have run a little faster, the quarterback was pleased with his performance in the agility drills.

"This was a huge day for me. It's what I've been working for," Ratliff said. "I was down in San Diego training. A lot of guys, they train for the combine. This was my combine. So I worked really hard for this."


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