AUBURN, Ala. — The atmosphere during Auburn’s Pro Day on Monday was anything but new for receiver Melvin Ray.
A former minor league player for the Los Angeles Dodgers, the veteran receiver approached Monday’s showcase with the same blue-collar mentality he learned to adopt having previously played professional sports.
“I feel like I gave it my all,” Ray said following Monday’s workouts. “Definitely feel like I left it all out there. I trained really hard for this. I was prepared.”
Asked if his prior stint within the Dodgers’ organization gave him an advantage on Monday, Ray replied, “I don’t think so with football, but maybe with the overall lifestyle off the field. Just the way you carry yourself and conduct yourself and the way you talk to coaches and scouts and whatnot.”
The Tallahassee, Fla., native was selected by the Dodgers in the 33rd round of the 2008 MLB First-Year Player Draft, where he would remain until 2011 before enrolling at Alabama the following year. Ray would ultimately transfer to Auburn in 2012, where he contributed immediately on special teams. He would play an integral part in coach Gus Malzahn’s offense over the next three years.
But Ray wasn’t on the receiving end of an NFL Combine invite, proving Monday’s workouts to be even more important. He was one of 14 Auburn players to take part in the program’s Pro Day, and the 26-year-old impressed.
Ray recorded a 35.5-inch vertical — second only to defensive back Blake Countess — and ran a 4.57 forty-yard dash. The responses from NFL scouts in attendance were promising, he said.
“They’re very encouraging out there,” Ray said. “They were talking to me and telling me, ‘Good job’. I was just trying to be very detailed and follow instructions well. I had pretty good feedback.”