Good morning, all-
Hopefully you read my colleague D. Orlando Ledbetter’s story on Michael Johnson’s workout from Georgia Tech’s pro day Monday. If you haven’t, it should. D-Led, as everyone calls him, talked to a lot of folks and has some good stuff in there, including this blurb from Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff: “Things will work out very well for him well in the National Football League, not to mention a number of other players on the Georgia Tech football team.”
(There’s also a photo gallery from Johnny Crawford. Excellent stuff, per usual.)
As for those other players, a number of players turned in some good performances. It was particularly important for offensive tackle Andrew Gardner and cornerback Jahi Word-Daniels, as injuries had precluded them from doing workouts up until now.
Some numbers, according to a pro day summary from Gil Brandt at nfl.com: Gardner ran the 40 in 4.96 seconds, had a 30.5 inch vertical, an 8-11 broad jump, a 4.70-second 20-yard shuttle, a 7.51-second three-cone dril.
Some context: That would have been the second-fastest 40 time for o-linemen at the combine, tied for ninth in the vertical, tied for ninth in the broad jump, would not have been top 10 in the 20-yard shuttle (10th was 4.65) and sixth in the three-cone drill. He didn’t do the bench because of his shoulder.
It’s obviously a noteworthy performance, but I’d give it some caution, at least the 40, as all 40 times are not the same. The surfaces aren’t the same, the people doing the timing aren’t the same. Brandt, in his blog, noted that Tech’s FieldTurf surface was “low,” as opposed to higher fake blades of grass on other fields, which could help with speed. Some published times are averages, some might be the fastest recorded time. That said, for a guy who hasn’t played since November and has been rehabbing a shoulder that still inhibits his arm swing a little, Gardner likely opened some eyes.
Said Gardner, “I’ve been waiting this for awhile, so I was glad to go ahead and get it done.”
Word-Daniels’ scores: 40 times of 4.59 and 4.64, a 38-inch vertical and a 6.84-second time in the three-cone drill. He didn’t do other drills because of his hamstring, which he injured way back in October against Clemson. He missed the remainder of the season and wasn’t able to play in any all-star games in January. NFL.com lists only the top five cornerback 40’s – the slowest was 4.52. He would have tied for seventh in the vertical. For three-cone drill, the site lists seven corners, the slowest of which was 6.77.
He was pretty happy with how he ran. He felt like he was finally able to open up and run without holding back. The vertical, he said, was his personal best by about an inch and a half.
Darryl Richard: 26-inch vertical, 19 reps on the bench, 8-1 broad jump, 8.14 seconds in the three-cone drill, 4.97 seconds in the 20-yard shuttle. He didn’t run the 40. Not great numbers, but not terribly surprising. He looked pretty good in position drills that he did with Johnson and Elris Anyaibe. In one, they ran in a straight line, did a 360, kept running and did a 360 in the opposite direction. Richard said he’d never done or seen that drill, and others they were asked to do.
Richard’s unique take: “You don’t see too many d-linemen doing 360’s on the football field and if they are, that’s not good for the football team. So being able to adjust to a drill like that – they want to see how your hips move – I think I showed I’m wiling to take coaching and then produce based off that coaching.”
Tony Clark: 4.53 and 4.58 in the 40, 17 bench-press reps, 32.5 vertical, 6.98-second three-cone drill, 4.28-second 20-yard shuttle, 9.10 60-yard shuttle, according to the site. I’m going to say that the 60-yard shuttle is suspect, in that the fastest time at the combine was 10.92 seconds. That said, the faster 40 time would actually be the fastest 40 for linebackers, so a good score for Clark, who will need all the help he can get to get noticed.
Others who were there whose scores aren’t listed on the nfl.com site were Anyaibe, long snapper Bret White, linebacker Travis Chambers, guard A.J. Smith and Adamm Oliver, whose last season was 2007. And also, as I’d mentioned in the online story Monday, Taylor Bennett threw afterwards, along with Calvin Booker. Bennett mostly threw to Calvin Johnson.
I found this interesting. There are rules on where a player can do his pro day – it has to be at or near his college campus or at or near his hometown. So to work out at Tech – Bennett is from St. Louis and he said he had no receivers to throw to at Louisiana Tech, where he transferred to from Tech – he had to arrange a private workout separate from the host school’s pro day (meaning he couldn’t do the drills with the Tech players).
Bennett said his agent sent flyers to all the NFL teams telling them he’d be working out after Tech’s pro day. Obviously, for a guy like Bennett who is just hoping somehow to get into a camp, it helps to arrange a private workout where you know there will already be eyeballs. Bennett and Booker’s workout was conducted by Mike Hagen, a scout from the Chiefs, who, as you know, employ Chan Gailey. A few scouts stuck around to watch them throw.
Bennett said he begged Johnson to be his receiving partner when he found out he was in town and figured he’ll have to wash Johnson’s cars as repayment.
Said Bennett, “I’m trying to get the best guy, maybe look as good as possible. I think that was him.”
I didn’t watch terribly closely, but it looked like he showed accuracy and arm strength.
Johnson: “He did good today. I know the Kansas City coach was coaching him up. He liked what [Bennett] did. He’s going to have a good shot.”