Offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil performs drills at Mississippi's NFL Pro Day on Monday, March 28, 2016, in Oxford, Miss. (AP Photos)
OXFORD, Miss. – Surrounded by those who know him best, Ole Miss tackle Laremy Tunsil did his best to convince the Titans he's worthy of the No.1 pick in the upcoming NFL Draft.
Here at Pro Day, and on this campus, they love Tunsil.
"To me, that's the easiest discussion I can have,'' Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said. "I don't care who you have on your team, I don't see how you can bypass Laremy Tunsil. For a big man, an offensive lineman, and protecting your quarterback at the left tackle position, if that's something you want to make sure you want to secure, Laremy is that guy. … I couldn't bypass him if I were picking."
The Titans sent a private plane full of team officials here to find out for themselves. A total of 18 Rebels were on display inside the Manning Center, including receiver Laquon Treadwell and defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche.
Archie Manning, who starred at the school, was here. At one point he chatted with Titans coach Mike Mularkey, his teammate with the Minnesota Vikings.
But the Titans were mainly here to see Tunsil, a dominant left tackle for the Rebels who's in contention for the top pick.
"He has really good foot quickness, and he works laterally really well,'' Robinson said of Tunsil. "He gets out of his stance quickly, and runs well, which is good. You can see him on some of those space plays, you can see it translate, the stuff that you see here in the workout. You can see it on tape when you watch it, him out running in space, trying to get a corner, trying to track down a safety.
"He's impressive, no doubt."
Robinson and Mularkey were among a big group on hand from the Titans. They chatted with Tunsil in between drills. Offensive line coach Russ Grimm, offensive coordinator Terry Robiskie, defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, national director of college scouting Blake Beddingfield and scout Jon Salge were also on hand on Monday.
They saw Tunsil rip off an impressive 34 reps of 225 pounds in the bench press, which impressed Treadwell. Tunsil didn't do the bench press at the NFL Combine. He didn't run the 40 on Monday.
"Laremy is a beast,'' Treadwell said, "I didn't think he was that strong. He got to like 28, and I was like, 'Wow!' I think he surprised a lot of us."
Tunsil shied away from being a media spectacle, however. He talked briefly with NFL Network, but did not take make an appearance inside the press conference room afterward.
"There are a lot of teams out there,'' Tunsil said. "There are a lot of good players out there too. Whatever team picks me I'm going to give my all."
On Monday, NFL officials saw Tunsil looking pretty nimble during on-field drills, especially for a 6-foot-5, 305-pounder. Ndemdiche worked up a sweat during an impressive workout with LeBeau looking on, while Treadwell was clocked at unofficial times of 4.63 and 4.65 in the 40. Treadwell said he's set up private workout with the Dolphins and Bengals, among others.
The Titans weren't the only team with some big wigs in town. General Managers from the Rams, Vikings and Giants were also on hand, in addition to a huge turnout from scouts. A total of 63 NFL personnel attended Ole Miss Pro Day, representing all 32 NFL clubs.
Titans running back Dexter McCluster, who played at Ole Miss, watched from the sideline.
"I have never had one, or seen one (like Laremy)," Freeze said. "I had one team say, 'The only two left tackles that would play in front of him right now started in the Pro Bowl.'"
Robinson and Titans officials also visited with Tunsil in Indianapolis at the NFL Combine, and they plan to spend even time with him in Nashville in the coming weeks as well.
On Tuesday, Robinson and Co. will be in Tallahassee for Florida State's Pro Day, where they'll see defensive back Jalen Ramsey. Earlier this month, the team attended Ohio State's Pro Day, where they saw defensive lineman Joey Bosa. The Titans are scheduled to visit Notre Dame's Pro Day later in the week.
So, is there an early leader for the No.1 pick? Robinson isn't ready to tip his hand. "We are into the second phase of the spring process, spending some individual time with all of these guys, the handful of guys we've kind of narrowed it down to,'' Robinson said. "I am anxious to see how they all perform."