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Auburn's Corey Grant runs blazing 40 times at pro day

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AUBURN, Ala. -- Could the NFL Scouting Combine have left a 40-yard-dash champion at home this year?


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Auburn running back Corey Grant, regarded as one of the fastest players in the SEC, ran unofficial times of 4.25 and 4.27 at Auburn's pro day Tuesday. Those times were clocked by NFL Media's Mike Mayock, who was on hand for the event.

NFL Media's Gil Brandt reports Grant ran times of 4.28 and 4.30, according to an NFL scout on the scene. While there are no "official" times at pro days, one scout from an NFL team is assigned the duty of recording the 40 time of record at each pro day, which is then distributed to each club.

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Either of the Grant times clocked by Mayock would have been the top time at the combine this year -- and it's coming from a player who wasn't even invited to Indianapolis, although pro-day times tend to run faster than combine times.

UAB WR J.J. Nelson turned in the best 40 time at the combine with a 4.28.

"I definitely used the combine thing as motivation in training," Grant said during a break. "I was expecting to run well. My goal was in the 4.1s. I know that sounds crazy, but you've got to set your goals high."

At just 5-foot-9 and 201 pounds, Grant doesn't figure to carry any NFL club's primary rushing workload. But he could find a fit as a situational running back and return specialist.

Said Mayock: "There is always room in the NFL for home run hitters, but he's going to have to prove his value as a special-teams guy to earn touches. Can he be a kickoff-return guy? A punt-return guy? Can he be a gunner and a jammer? Those kind of things will be important for him to make a team."

The former Alabama player, who transferred to AU and found a role as a perimeter rushing threat for AU coach Gus Malzahn, also had a 37-inch vertical jump, a 10-foot, 7-inch broad jump, and pressed 22 reps on the bench to round out the best overall workout of the day at Auburn.

Grant rushed for 382 yards and three touchdowns on 60 carries in 2014, and caught 10 passes for 92 yards and a score. He racked up a 22.4-yard average on 18 kickoff returns.

Grant was a two-time Class 6A 100-meter dash champion in the state of Alabama in high school. His winning time in the 100-meter dash in 2009 was 10.51 seconds.

There were 32 players not invited to the 2014 combine that were later drafted. Grant, undersized but with dangerous third-down and return skills, could be well on his way to being in the same group for 2015.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.

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