April 23, 2008

Lee has NFL measurables

Pat Lee entered his senior season at Auburn with only nine career starts over the previous two seasons. Less than a year later, he's projected to be one of the top cornerbacks taken in the 2008 NFL Draft.

What's accounted for the turnaround?

Well, there's the steady improvement on the field that saw Lee start every game as a senior, tallying 55 tackles, four interceptions and a team-high 10 pass breakups.

Along the way, he also earned a degree in criminology and stayed out of any off-the-field troubles that have become a red flag for many NFL teams.

At 6-foot, 200 pounds, Lee possesses the size NFL teams are looking for in a corner. He also has the speed they're looking for, running a 4.40 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine.

Lee credits Auburn's coaching staff, particularly former defensive coordinator Will Muschamp and strength and conditioning coach Kevin Yoxall for his development.

"Muschamp helped me out tremendously with his defense and how fast you have to learn a lot of plays," said Lee. "Since Muschamp's defense was so hard, it's similar to what they do in the NFL.

"Coach Yox really helped me out with the weight program and everything. They are talking good stuff to the scouts about me. They helped me out a lot."

In today's pass-heavy NFL, cornerbacks are always a priority in the draft. As many as five or six are projected to go in Saturday's first round. While Lee isn't projected within the top group of corners, he is among the next set that's expected to be off the board somewhere in the second round.

That's just fine for Lee, who said he's been trying to ignore most of the projections.

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