STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) - Justin Gilbert felt like he had a special guest at Oklahoma State's Pro Day - Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin.
Many experts consider Gilbert a first-round draft pick at cornerback, and the Steelers have the 15th overall slot.
Tomlin was among the many people associated with NFL teams to speak with Gilbert on Thursday. Similar scenarios had played out in Gilbert's mind many times.
''I've pictured this day ever since I was a little guy, being a little Pop Warner football player,'' he said. ''Just playing at the next level, in the National Football League - it's finally about to be a dream come true.''
Gilbert did not run the 40-yard dash - he ran it in 4.37 seconds at the NFL combine and was told he didn't need to do it again - but he participated in position drills. He said he wanted to show he could attack the ball consistently and excel at turning his hips and backpedaling. He said preparing for the draft has changed his approach to training.
''Eating right is something that I'm not used to,'' he said. ''I'm usually a junk food eater. Fried chicken, Kool-Aid drinking. Lately, I've been eating grilled chicken and drinking a lot of water and drinking a lot of Gatorade and protein shakes. It's all been a work in progress, but it's something I've been able to maintain.''
Safety Daytawion Lowe's had scouts and onlookers nodding their heads in approval. Oklahoma State's No. 2 tackler last season ran the 40-yard dash in about 4.4-seconds and posted a 37 1/2-inch vertical jump.
''That's what I was looking for - somewhere around there,'' Lowe said of his 40 time. ''I'm happy. I'm pleased.''
Calvin Barnett, a first-team All-Big 12 defensive tackle, was not invited to the combine, so this was an important chance for him to show scouts what they missed. He is still recovering from a torn left meniscus he suffered on Oct. 5 against Kansas State, and said he will need to balance improving performance with recovering.
Receiver Josh Stewart and offensive lineman Parker Graham also were among the standouts. Graham bench pressed 225 pounds 29 times. The 6-foot-7, 308-pounder doesn't know when, or if, he will be drafted.
''I just want somebody to give me a shot,'' he said. ''Anybody who takes me is going to be really happy with my work ethic.''
Stewart caught 60 passes for 703 yards and three touchdowns his junior year before declaring early for the NFL draft. His 40-yard dash time of 4.69 seconds at the combine left him needing to prove himself.
''You always want to do better,'' Stewart said while holding his son, Kayson. That's why we have this. To come out and better what I did in the combine. As far as I know, I did that.''
Stewart said he still has more work ahead.
''I saw where I was at as far as the combine and then I had to be better,'' he said. ''I worked harder than I was working. Now, I've got to go work harder than I worked just now.''
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