Pagano, Tomlin chat with CB Alexander at Clemson pro day

The most anticipated 40-yard dash in the country Thursday turned out just fine for Clemson cornerback Mackensie Alexander.

Alexander, one of the top CB prospects in this year's NFL draft, sat out drills at the NFL Scouting Combine due to a hamstring injury, which placed even more importance on his pro day. He ran between 4.48 and 4.52 seconds in the 40-yard dash on Thursday, per NFL Media draft expert Mike Mayock, who was in attendance for the pro day. A 4.48 would have placed him 13th at his position at the combine. He also had an impressive vertical jump of 37.5 inches on Thursday, per NFL Media's Rand Getlin. That mark would have given him a tie for seventh place among CBs at the combine.

"(Scouts) definitely left with smiley faces," Alexander said.

Perhaps just as important as the 40 time, however, was Alexander's performance in position drills. Having started two years at CU without making an interception, his ball skills are perhaps the chief scouting question looming over his status for the NFL draft.

NFL Media analyst Mike Mayock was impressed.

"I think he made a case for being a first-round corner," Mayock said.

Four NFL head coaches -- the Bills' Rex Ryan, the Colts' Chuck Pagano, the Bengals' Marvin Lewis and the Steelers' Mike Tomlin -- were in attendance for the workout. Pagano reportedly spent extensive time speaking with Alexander, and Tomlin also got in a word with the Tigers' brash cover man, who insisted he is the best cornerback in the draft at the combine. A good impression on those two coaches could be particularly valuable for Alexander -- CB is a top need for both the Steelers and Colts.

Here are a few other things we learned from Thursday's pro days:

  1. Alexander wasn't the only main attraction at Clemson, and two of the others were taken out of their comfort zones. Defensive ends Shaq Lawson and Kevin Dodd were asked to go through linebacker drills so scouts could see if they had the skills to drop into coverage, according to The Associated Press. ... More from Clemson's pro day: WR Charone Peake reportedly ran unofficial 40-yard dashes of 4.36 and 4.38 ... Dodd said he has been invited to attend the draft in person.
  1. Mississippi State QB Dak Prescott and DL Chris Jones were the biggest scouting draws at MSU's pro day Thursday, with Prescott throwing more than 60 passes under the watchful eyes of quarterback coaches Ken Dorsey of the Carolina Panthers and Randy Fichtner of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
  1. Illinois DL Jihad Ward, at nearly 300 pounds, turned in impressive 40-yard dash times of 5.07 and 5.10 on Thursday as defensive line coaches from the Cincinnati Bengals, Houston Texans and New England Patriots were in attendance.
  1. Oregon's Byron Marshall, one of the Ducks' most explosive and versatile offensive weapons, reportedly ran a 4.57 40-yard dash at the Ducks' pro day, while QB Vernon Adams ran a 4.85.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter *@ChaseGoodbread*.

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