March 5, 2014
Tre Mason was on the go during the final stages of Auburn's Pro Day (Zach Bland photo)
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. — The surroundings were familiar, but Tre Mason found himself mostly watching early on at Auburn's Pro Day on Tuesday. He didn't run the 40 or do the bench press or the broad jump. For a long time, he hung out with Greg Robinson while watching others do their chores.
The running back chose to sit on his measurable scores at the NFL combine rather than do it all again, but Mason said that wasn't as easy as it looked in Auburn's indoor practice facility.
"Coach Malzahn runs things 1,000 miles an hour, so it was kind of hard calming down," Mason said.
Mason offered encouragement to his now-former teammates, some of 14 of them, before he was called to action in position drills. He was in high gear then. He participated in a drill running around cones, and worked hard at catching passes in front of the scouts.
Catching passes, and pass blocking, are two things he said he knows the scouts want to know more about before the NFL draft on March 8.
"A lot of coaches say they want to see me catch a ball out of the backfield. It's simple things: Are you a body catcher or a hands catcher? I just try to be an all-around player," Mason said.
Mason was an all-around runner in 2013, leading the SEC in rushing with 1,816 yards. He caught 12 passes for 163 yards, and doesn't lack confidence to improve those numbers.
Analysts have noticed the stats. ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. rates Mason as the second-best running back in the draft. NFL.com's Mike Mayock has him at No. 5.
Mason tried to improve his stock to the people who really matter -- the scouts and coaches -- on the field at Pro Day. After that was done, he took a test, given by one team, and interviewed with others.
"They gave me a lot of positive feedback," Mason said. "They said I had a very good combine and also performed well today, so I’m looking forward to keep performing well from here on out.”
Running, catching, blocking? No problem, Mason said.
"I like to be very versatile. I want to be able to catch the ball out of the backfield, run the ball in and outside the tackles, between the tackles and outside the tackles. I just like to be able to showcase all my skills and be an all-around playmaker."
The questions about Mason are that he wasn't asked to do pass block much, and that he's 5-foot-8.
"People will knock me because of my size — I’m short. But you don’t block the hole in height-wise, you block it with how much heart you have," he said.
Mason will now begin visiting teams while continuing to work out.
"Back into the laboratory, back training and getting ready to play," he said.
Out of the laboratory, he said he doesn't have a feel for which teams like him the best.
"It’s early so I have no clue where I’ll go," Mason said. "But wherever I am I’m happy to help the team."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine