Ole Miss

Former Ole Miss stars make their case for NFL Draft at Pro Day

Former Mississippi defensive back Trae Elston runs the 40-yard dash during the University of Mississippi's NCAA college football Pro Day in Oxford, Miss., Monday, March 28, 2016. (Bruce Newman/The Oxford Eagle via AP) NO SALES; MANDATORY CREDIT
Former Mississippi defensive back Trae Elston runs the 40-yard dash during the University of Mississippi's NCAA college football Pro Day in Oxford, Miss., Monday, March 28, 2016. (Bruce Newman/The Oxford Eagle via AP) NO SALES; MANDATORY CREDIT AP

OXFORD - Three projected first-round picks were again under the microscope as they tried to impress NFL executives at Ole Miss Pro Day Monday.

Offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil remains a logical option for the Tennessee Titans, who own the No. 1 pick in the draft, which is scheduled for April 28-30 in Chicago.

The Titans have not committed to drafting an offensive lineman, but they have an investment they'd like to protect in quarterback Marcus Mariota, a successful rookie last year and the Heisman Trophy winner in 2014.

Wide receiver Laquon Treadwell and defensive linemen Robert Nkemdiche are also expected to go in the first round, though each has questions to answer for NFL teams.

For Treadwell, the question is mostly speed. He ran 4.63 in the 40 Monday.

For Nkemdiche, there are questions of character off the field and consistency on it.

While the Rebels' big three all took part in Pro Day, more individual workouts remain with certain teams.

Tunsil will work out for the Titans and the Chargers later this week, the SEC Network reported.

Tunsil said he was not fully healthy when he declined to bench press at the NFL Combine in late February. He pressed the 225 pounds 34 times at his collegiate home.

"I don't care who you have on your team, I don't see how you can by-pass Laremy Tunsil," Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said. "Then today he goes and benches 34 times? There are not a lot of question marks.'

Ole Miss Pro Day wasn't only about the projected first-round picks.

Wide receiver Cody Core improved his vertical jump six inches. His chances to make an NFL roster could be strengthened by his special teams play.

The fastest player was career reserve Quintavius Burdette, a track athlete, who ran 4.45.

Treadwell did not run the 40 at the NFL combine, saying he wasn't as prepared as necessary to run his best time. He was transitioning from one training facility to another at the time.

At the combine only nine wide receivers ran slower than his 4.63.

Former Aberdeen star Channing Ward, a reserve player and special teams standout at Ole Miss, ran a 4.61 at 280 pounds.

Even with the knocks against his speed, Treadwell shares the highest draft grade at NFL.com with Notre Dame wide receiver Will Fuller.

Titans general manager Jon Robinson told The NFL Network, "He finds ways to get open."

Treadwell said he was "proud" of what he ran.

"I don't have to run a 4.2 to win on a deep ball," he said. "I don't go into it thinking I've got to run super fast to beat you. I just play ball. Everybody has their wants and needs. You've just got to go with what you do."

ESPN's Mel Kiper and others have Treadwell going to the Rams with the 15th overall pick.

Nkemdiche's mid-December incident at an Atlanta hotel that resulted in a trashed hotel room, according to police reports, and a misdemeanor arrest is high on the radar of NFL personnel.

Nkemdiche has also drawn criticism for his lack of big plays relative to his physical ability.

He had a certain message he wanted to convey today.

"I'm going to work hard period. I'm never going to give up. I'm a good person, and I want to have a good effect on people," Nkemdiche told The SEC Network.

Questions to whether Nkemdiche takes plays off have grown from the production issue.

"The narrative out there that he might not always give effort or there might be some laziness to his game is totally inaccurate to what my experience has been with him over the three years," Freeze said. "I want to be very clear. The guy's very competitive, and he gives great effort."

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