Menzie in comfort zone at pro day

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Former University of Alabama defensive back DeQuan Menzie may have slipped a round or two in April’s draft after a poor showing at the NFL combine last month when he ran a disappointing 4.74 in the 40-yard dash.

On Wednesday, he was back in the familiar confines of Tuscaloosa, Ala., looking to improve his draft stock at the Crimson Tide’s pro day. With former teammates, coaches and NFL personnel looking on, Menzie ran a 4.66, shaving close to a full second off his last clocked time.

“I think I did better,” Menzie said. “At the combine, I wasn’t relaxed. I was filled with so much pressure. Here, I just felt like I was at home, and I could just release all of the pressure and run my best 40.”

Although it may not have been what Menzie or the NFL scouts were looking for, his showing was still an improvement from how he ran a couple weeks ago.

UA coach Nick Saban knows a thing or two about coaching defensive backs and preparing them for the next level. Saban, who was a head coach in the NFL for two years, believes that it’s not all how a player runs in gym shorts.

“I think what you look at is, if you look at all of our film from last year and you are a scout, you would say that this guy never looks speed deficient on the field,” Saban said of Menzie. “He runs, he covers people, the same kind of people that he’s going to have to cover at the next level.

“Because he’s a good football player, I think people are going to find ways to use him at the next level.”

The thing that Menzie has working in his favor is his versatility. The 5-foot-10, 202-pounder played primarily at cornerback for Alabama, but he worked out at safety in the Senior Bowl, the same position he played in high school.

The NFL scouts are projecting Menzie as a third- to fourth-round pick who could play anywhere in the secondary at the next level.

“I can play it all,” Menzie said. “... There’s nothing really that I can’t handle. Saban put me through all that.”

Although the process has been stressful at times and he hasn’t performed as well as he’d like, Menzie realizes that he’s receiving a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that only a select group of players get to go through.

“Really, it is exciting,” Menzie said. “Not everybody can get invited to the NFL combine. That was a blessing, to meet all of the head coaches, the GMs, not everybody can do that either. In all, it’s just a great experience that not everybody can do.”

From now until April, Menzie may participate in some individual workouts with various NFL teams who are interested in taking him in next month’s draft.