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Former players strive to impress pro scouts.

By Marc Weiszer | marc.weiszer@onlineathens.com | Story updated at 11:53 PM on Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Like the NFL scouts, coaches and player personnel officials at Georgia's Pro Day, Stacey Bailey had a stopwatch in hand on Tuesday. Except when he was holding a video camera to capture the moments.

His son, Sean, the Bulldogs' leading receiver last season, was among 13 former Georgia players hoping to make a lasting impression before the NFL Draft April 26-27

"We taught Sean that if he was going to come out and be a No. 1 draft pick to be humble and if he was going to go into the draft as a free agent to be hungry," said Stacey Bailey, a third-round pick by the Falcons who played receiver in the NFL from 1982-90.

Six Georgia players have been picked in the first round since 2001, but none of this year's crop of draft prospects is expected to go before the third round.

Analysts view Sean Bailey, undersized at 6-foot-1 and 185 pounds and with questions about his durability after missing the 2006 season with a torn ACL and having a knee scoped before the Sugar Bowl, as a likely undrafted free agent. He ran a sub-4.45 40 and was pleased with how he caught the ball in drills catching passes from former Valdosta State quarterback Willie Copeland. Representatives from some 25 NFL teams were on hand to watch including four from the Super Bowl champion New York Giants.

"It just takes one scout to impress regardless if I get drafted in later rounds or sign as a free agent, the goal is just to make a team," Bailey said. "As long as I make a team, I'm happy."

Defensive end/linebacker Marcus Howard and tailback Thomas Brown could be the first Bulldogs selected in the draft.

The 6-foot, 239-pound Howard improved his stock at last month's NFL combine.

He skipped the 40-yard dash Tuesday after getting a 4.45 in Indianapolis, the best for any end or linebacker at the combine. He also passed on the bench press after lifting 225 pounds 27 times at the combine.

"That was pretty much the icing on the cake so I could just come out here and relaxed for the position drills," Howard said.

Howard said he wanted to show a team like the Pittsburgh Steelers that he can drop back in coverage as a 3-4 linebacker. Howard has worked out privately with Cleveland and has another lined up with New England. Indianapolis worked him out briefly after he was done for the rest of the scouts Tuesday.

Brown called his showing "a wonderful day."

Brown wanted to improve his 40 time from the combine and did on the Georgia track when he clocked a 4.37, a mark he liked so much that he chose not to run a second time. His time at the Indianapolis combine last month was a 4.5.

The 5-foot-8, 201-pound Brown, who also bettered his broad jump by going 10 feet, six inches, has been projected as a third to fifth round draft pick but conceded that his 40 time may not make a difference in where he could go.

"I just wanted to come out and show how well I could compete, that I'm explosive and quick and do my drills some," said Brown, who rushed for 779 yards and 10 touchdowns last season when he missed time with a collarbone injury after suffering a torn ACL in 2006.

Forty-yard dash times, three-cone drills and broad jumps are just a piece of the puzzle.

"That's not the end all and be all," Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson said at the end of the workouts. "The end all and be all is the way you actually the way they play the game."

Thompson says he personally attends about 10 Pro Days leading up to the draft. Florida, Penn State, Virginia and Boston College also held their Pro Days on Tuesday.

"You like to see the guys compete and certainly go through the drills athletically," Thompson said. "You get another chance to speak to the coaches and the staff here and I think it's just another way to get to know the guys a little better."

NOTES: Defensive end/linebacker Brandon Miller may have helped himself by running in the 4.5 range in the 40 and doing 24 reps on the bench press. Only former Georgia offensive lineman James Lee (South Carolina State) did more. ... Brandon Coutu, viewed by some among the top kickers in the draft, already had worked out privately for Baltimore and Seattle. ...Wake Forest tight end John Tereshinski (Athens Academy) was among six non-Georgia players working out. ... Paul Oliver, who might have been the top Georgia prospect this year, was among spectators on Tuesday. The cornerback was taken in the supplemental draft last summer by San Diego.

Published in the Athens Banner-Herald on 031908

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I think Marcus Howard will be something really special on the next level. Perhaps like a Kendrell Bell (another former UGA LB) who had a good, if not great, career at Georgia and went on to win the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Award some years back.

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