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Randy Gregory, Ameer Abdullah shine at Nebraska pro day

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LINCOLN, Neb. -- Nebraska has pumped out its fair share of NFL talent the past few seasons, but Thursday's pro day drew scouts from nearly every NFL franchise in what might have been the biggest postseason event for the Cornhuskers since Ndamukong Suh was a part of the school's pro day back in 2010.


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Just like that pro day five years ago, a former Nebraska defensive lineman was the star of the show Thursday, as nearly every scout, coach and personnel man had their eyes trained closely on potential top-10 pick Randy Gregory. However, the edge rusher was determined to prove that he's much more than a player who can simply get to the quarterback, and ran through a full gamut of linebacker drills designed to show off his coverage skills and ability to stay on the field for every defensive snap.

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"I think it went pretty well," Gregory told CFB 24/7. "I think the big thing that teams wanted to see were my hips and how fluid I was in my movement. I think I showed that real well in the linebacker drills I did. I didn't do everything but I did do the cone drills I didn't do at the (NFL Scouting Combine).

"Overall, I thought I had a really good day."

The linebacker group was put through drills by Vikings defensive coordinator George Edwards, Jets outside linebackers coach Mark Collins and Steelers inside linebackers coach Jerry Olsavsky. Each of those coaches is looking for a linebacker to beef up their defenses and left the building impressed with what they saw from Gregory, whose weight was up to 238 pounds, three pounds more than his surprisingly light weight at the combine.

The added weight was the main thing Gregory wanted to show off Thursday and he stood on most of his numbers from Indianapolis, opting to skip running another 40-yard dash at the outset of the workout.

"I wasn't happy with the combine time (4.64) and I felt if I came here, I'd run faster," Gregory said. "One of the things I wanted to focus on was the cone and linebacker drills, so if I had the 40 (as the last drill of the day), I probably would have done it but I wanted my legs to be right for everything."

While Gregory did not run the 40, running back Ameer Abdullah and wide receiver Kenny Bell were among the Nebraska prospects in attendance who opted to run.

Abdullah reportedly improved on his 40 time from the combine (4.60) by running in the 4.4 range and did a full battery of pass-catching and agility drills. There has been increasing buzz that the Doak Walker Award finalist is emerging as a likely second-round pick and he did nothing to slow down that momentum with his performance on Thursday.

"I'm glad this part is behind me," Abdullah said. "Any time you can get in front of scouts and the professional guys to show what you can do, though, you should take advantage of the opportunity. I didn't do everything today, but I feel like I came out and did what I wanted to do and showed it."

While it was no surprise to see Abdullah try to improve on his combine 40, seeing Bell suit up to run twice was a bit of a shock to some of the scouts who were impressed with his 4.42 combine 40. The son of former Denver Broncos return specialist Ken Bell didn't disappoint Thursday, turning in what appeared to be the fastest times recorded Thursday by a solid margin.

"I can run faster and weigh the same," Bell said of what he wanted to prove. "I ran fast. Low 4.3s today."

Speed and athleticism seemed to be the name of the game at the Nebraska pro day, and the big crowd on hand from the scouting community was certainly treated to quite a show.

You can follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.

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