Georgia Tech pro day notes

Greetings-

Some notes from Georgia Tech’s pro day, Tuesday morning at the Brock Family Indoor Football Practice Facility.

1. Stephen Hill caught 12 of 12 passes, running routes crisply and apparently answering questions about his route running.

This from NFL Network draft expert Mike Mayock, who was on hand: “I think he’s just kind of overwhelming from a height-weight-speed-upside perspective. I think he runs too well and catches too well to get out of the first round, in my opinion.”

Sports Illustrated draft expert Tony Pauline says Hill should be off the board by the 25th pick.

Wow.

Think about this – when Hill asked the NFL for a draft evaluation, he was told he didn’t have the potential to be taken in the first three rounds. He bet on himself, and that bet is almost certainly going to pay off handsomely. I think a fun blog would be to go back and look at the reactions to the blog reporting Hill was declaring.

Paul Johnson: “I think another year of [maturing and improving] would have helped. He would have been closer to graduation, but it looks like he’s made the right decision, looks like it’s going to work for him and I’m extremely happy for him and his family that it’s’ worked out for him the way it has.”

2. Mayock said he watched all of Hill’s film from the season and counted five or six drops with his 28 catches, calling two of them critical, drops against North Carolina and Clemson.

“But when you watch him catch the ball, he’s a natural hands catcher,” he said. “I think it’s more concentration and discipline than it is anything else.

3. It appeared scouts or coaches from most, if not all, 32 NFL teams were represented. Among the onlookers were Falcons coach Mike Smith and Bears coach Lovie Smith.

“It was nice coming in here, doing things on my own field,” wide receiver Tyler Melton said, “but more so I really appreciate Steve, how he showed out at the combine (and) brought all 32 teams (or 31). He gave us the best shot possible. I’m more than grateful to Stephen for that.”

4. Other players performing – Roddy Jones, Logan Walls, Jason Peters, Embry Peeples, Rashaad Reid, Steven Sylvester and Lucas Cox. You can check out their 40 times on Darryl Ledbetter’s Falcons blog here. My sense of things is they’re all undrafted free agent prospects. Hopefully they’ll all get into a camp and get a shot.

Melton made a fantastic catch on a deep sideline route. With the ball well over his head, he rotated in the air, falling backwards to bring the catch in.

“Just kind of natural instincts took over,” he said. I just did what I know how to do.”

5. Paul Johnson on Jones and Peeples: “They’re probably third-down backs, slot receivers. Clearly, they’ve done some of that, catching the ball in space and that kind of thing, so I think it just depends on where other teams see them. Roddy’s a little bigger than Embry; Embry would be a guy that would probably be a third-down back, inside receiver, that type of guy.

Jones and Peeples ran some pass routes out of a wide-receiver stance, part of the same drills that Vikings coach George Stewart (formerly with the Falcons, from the Jim Mora era) conducted for Hill and Melton. They also took handoffs with Cox.

“I felt real good,” Peeples said. “Took me back to the old high school days. That was the last time I actually got a handoff going downhill. To know that I can still do it and make it look good is pretty comforting.”

6. Former Richmond and Southwest DeKalb High quarterback Eric Ward threw for Hill, Melton, Jones and Peeples. He also was in camp with the Falcons. He’s now with the Edmonton Eskimos.

7. Several current players watched the proceedings, including Isaiah Johnson, Louis Young, Rod Sweeting, Vad Lee, Orwin Smith, Julian Burnett and Daniel Drummond. Smith spoke about the turf-toe injury that will keep him out of spring practice.

He had surgery about a month ago to repair torn ligaments and will be rehabbing it until May. He said it was a high school injury that he re-aggravated in the Virginia Tech game and then in the bowl game.

He said he’ll spend spring practice tutoring the younger A-backs, who now have a wealth of reps opening up to them with the top three A-backs from last year either graduated or sitting out.

“That’s what I’ve been emphasizing with [younger players],” Smith said. “With Roddy and Embry not being here and then me actually playing last year, it’s going to be wide open for the guys that actually want to prove themselves.

8. Johnson shed a little more light on Burnett’s status.

Johnson: “He’s not ready to say anything yet. We’ll sit down at the end of this week and talk about it some more. We’re going to have to decide here pretty quick. Spring’s starting. I’d be surprised if he was out there, but we’ll see. Nothing definitive.”

A few more notes Wednesday. Thanks for reading.

Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog

96 comments Add your comment

GT fan

March 6th, 2012
4:42 pm

St Mary's Jacket

March 6th, 2012
4:44 pm

JACKETfan12

March 6th, 2012
4:44 pm

Sure do hope Burnett can hit the field again. He has worked so hard since coming in as a Freshman. Not to mention we really need him to lead our defense this year.

GT fan

March 6th, 2012
4:45 pm

That stinks with Burnette’s situation. Sure sounds like he’s closer and closer to not playing again. Good luck to him with his academics and, be proud to have a GT diploma!

Ugahater715

March 6th, 2012
4:46 pm

Proud of Stephen and look forward to seeing him be successful on Sundays.

Pat

March 6th, 2012
4:49 pm

Really happy for Stephen and how successful he’s been in the past month or so in elevating his draft status to a likely first-rounder. Just hate that he waited until after he was done playing to really perform and play well.

Best of luck to him in the NFL! Go Jackets!

TDone

March 6th, 2012
4:50 pm

Well done Ken!!! Well done indeed!!!

George Stein

March 6th, 2012
4:58 pm

I know what I said.

George Stein
January 6th, 2012
9:47 am

Wrong sport, BTTF. I think you mean Kevin Cone.

None of us should begrudge the guy for leaving. If he gets paid, I’m all for it. I just question why he’d leave without a better grade from the NFL. It makes no sense to me to leave and go undrafted. I do, however, wish him well.

Then there was the later post about Mel Kiper or something.

George Stein
January 23rd, 2012
1:33 pm

Let’s assume Kiper is correct that he may have been a first round pick in 2013. If that’s true, then I think a case can be made that Hill made the right call, as the guaranteed income for 1st rounders is not nearly has high with the new CBA. The other issue is that he’ll be a year closer to free agency, which is where the real money is made.

There are, of course, no guarantees that he’ll make a team, but I understand his thinking. If I were a GM and had a chance to get a player that might go in the first round next year in the 5th round this year, I’d see a lot of value there.

HighTech

March 6th, 2012
4:59 pm

What a nice facility for the Yellow Jackets to put on a show for the NFL! Go Jackets! Sting ‘em! Best wishes and best of luck to all!

FL Jacket

March 6th, 2012
5:00 pm

Good stuff Ken…

Great news about Stephen Hill! I think it’s very possible that Roddy Jones might end up like a DJ Ware/Kevin Faulk type of 3rd down back and hopefully latch onto an NFL club and work his way up. I also think Tyler Melton will be Kevin Cone 2012…

Ga Tech Old Timer

March 6th, 2012
5:05 pm

Thanks Ken – Another outstanding job all the way around – interviews of coach and players as well as keeping the Tech faithful up to date on what’s happening in this “dead zone” while waiting for camp to start in spring.

GT Lee

March 6th, 2012
5:08 pm

anyone hear Orwin Smith had toe surgery and is out for spring?

Old Gold Britches

March 6th, 2012
5:10 pm

Thanks Ken! Keep it up …………….

Ron

March 6th, 2012
5:12 pm

GTFan = Dork #1. St. Mary’s Jacket = Dork #2. Do you realize you are trying to get excited about being “first?” Are you ten? Now, why on Earth did Tech have a pro day? I mean they deliver such talent often to the NFL right? Ha ha ha. They have exceptions every once and a while but you never see Tech players fill-up the draft board.

FL Jacket

March 6th, 2012
5:14 pm

Ron…

“Do you realize you are trying to get excited about being “first?” Are you ten?”

As opposed to trolling on a Tech board? Totally mature…

GTPhenom

March 6th, 2012
5:27 pm

Also Ron, I’ll add on to what FL Jacket said, but really? Last I checked, GT may have ANOTHER first round draft pick in Hill this season, which will give them three in the past three seasons, which I believe is at least as many as UGA has put in the first round these psat three seasons. So I guess UGA has “exceptions” every once and a while. Time to leave troll.

Tokyo jacket

March 6th, 2012
5:28 pm

What FL Jacket said

Tokyo jacket

March 6th, 2012
5:30 pm

Thanks to Mr. Hill for bringing all NFL teams to GT. Should be beneficial for recruiting in the future. If I were CPJ, I would walk up to every five star WR and say “my last two number ones were first round picks. If you want to work hard enough, you’ll be there too. ’nuff said!”

Tokyo jacket

March 6th, 2012
5:30 pm

Oh, and they were first round picks at 21, not 22 or 23.

FL Jacket

March 6th, 2012
5:34 pm

You might call it “exceptions”, I call it…

WR U

George Stein

March 6th, 2012
5:35 pm

I’d be extremely uncomfortable saying that, Tokyo. Anyone that uses the NFL as a justification for attending his school is playing loosely with his honesty and, more importantly, giving the wrong reasons to a player for attending.

In an ideal world, they’d attend the school that paid them the most. Short of that, go for the place that makes you the most comfortable.

IL Jacket

March 6th, 2012
5:47 pm

Congratulations again to Stephen Hill. Well done young man. Props to Tyler Melton also. Classy move thanking Hill for bringing the turnout. As he said, it can only work to your advantage having virtually all of the pro teams present for the workout.

Ken, I share the irony of your point about the pre-draft evaluation Hill received. From not draftable in the first three rounds to probably gone by pick #25. Strange business this pro football.

IL Jacket

March 6th, 2012
5:51 pm

FL Jacket, love the new moniker for Tech. Wide Receiver U!!! Has as much validity as some of the other nonsense going on at other football powerhouses.

Jacket Man

March 6th, 2012
5:52 pm

Great work, as usual, Ken! I hope you didn’t get too comfortable rubbing shoulders with the national beat writers because I’d hate to lose you. ;-)

5150 UOAD

March 6th, 2012
5:56 pm

I so hate it for Julian. He was a hard worker and a great person.

Boot Licking Toadie

March 6th, 2012
6:06 pm

Where’s WnE to let everyone know that he was originally right about being wrong in the first place?

Stinger 2

March 6th, 2012
6:07 pm

I must have missed some recent updates. Is CPJ saying that Julian will not play again?

Boot Licking Toadie

March 6th, 2012
6:15 pm

Julian was severely injured in the Sun Bowl. I believe a spinal injury. I hate it for him. He needs to heal before considering football.

Hayseed Dixie

March 6th, 2012
6:16 pm

I have no problem saying I was underwhelmed when Hill announced his intention to go pro.

When he holds his NFL jersey to his chest will he retroactively catch all those drops?

They’re not mutually exclusive: I’m glad he’s gonna get paid in the NFL and I wish we’d seen more of his potential at Tech.

You know who else probably feels that way? Stephen Hill.

(I *will* miss the Stephen Hill issue as a litmus test for posters who actually watch football. The TO has nothing to do with muffing wide open looks.)

5150 UOAD

March 6th, 2012
6:29 pm

I was not happy with Hill going either. I thought it was a HUGE mistake because his Game Film couldn’t be that great in total. He has too many drops. I am very happy how well he is doing and never wished him ill will. I really didn’t think he would impress the NFL the way he has. That being said I never doubted he would get a chance at the NFL with his Height and Speed, but I didn’t think he would be grading out as well as he is.

Tokyo jacket

March 6th, 2012
6:36 pm

George, I disagree with you in actuality, not in principle. If you think Bama, UGA, UM, FSU, don’t tell their recruits that they can get them to the NFL, you’re stuck in yesteryear. You read pretty routinely that other teams tell recruits GT “only runs the ball” or “can’t showcase your skills as a WR.” I’m not saying that education isn’t important, but having players in the NFL is a major boost to your program. When you point out that the last three number ones at GT have gone in the first round, that says something about the program.

Italian_29

March 6th, 2012
6:38 pm

Congrats To Stephen Hill, you took your future in your OWN hands and to heck with what the naysayer thought. Get paid young man, and I wish you the best in your continued career. Go Dawgs and GATA!

Tokyo jacket

March 6th, 2012
6:38 pm

In principle, though, you’re right. You shouldn’t have to tell a kid “I can get you to the NFL” or “you can be dominant at Tech.” It should just be “I want you to play football at my school and I’ll give you one of the best educations on the planet. All you have to do is work hard on and off the field and you’ll be set for life.” Unfortunately, that style may have gone out with bobby socks and poodle skirts.

5150 UOAD

March 6th, 2012
6:42 pm

The best selling point maybe to Show Pro Athletes that made ALL the MONEY and didn’t get their Degree and are broke. Show some tech players that didn’t go pro got their degrees and show where and what they have done with their lives. I know these kids think they are all going Pro in Sports but the numbers prove other wise.

Boot Licking Toadie

March 6th, 2012
6:43 pm

Stephen did great at the combine. He was not dropping passes then. His speed was fantastic. Some of those drops at Tech may have been because he was thinking too much. From what I’ve read he’s doing great. Best wishes Mr. Hill

Boot Licking Toadie

March 6th, 2012
6:45 pm

Not a bad idea 5150

FL Jacket

March 6th, 2012
6:46 pm

Tokyo and George…

I think our coaches need to adopt the attitude that Justin Thomas stated during the recruiting process. It’s a great place to play football, and if the NFL doesn’t work out, the degree and contacts in Atlanta will set you up for life.

The real problem lies with the fact that a large number of the kids that go to your football factories have no business being in any college (many of them are given special exemptions) and therefore the selling point of the NFL becomes almost necessary.

Obviously, CMS of the Falcons and other coaches come out for GT Pro Day…myth debunked.

GTBob

March 6th, 2012
6:51 pm

Wow, good for Hill. I pegged him for a late round draft pick. He has really done a good job getting ready for the combine and pro workouts. Good for him and us. It certainly doesn’t hurt when CPJ can tell recruits that he has had two highly drafted wide receivers.

Boot Licking Toadie

March 6th, 2012
6:59 pm

That’s a nice facility. Good luck to all of them! Go Georgia Tech!

Boot Licking Toadie

March 6th, 2012
7:13 pm

and maybe Bobby Dodd? Toyko

Boot Licking Toadie

March 6th, 2012
7:22 pm

Tokyo, sorry

Ghost

March 6th, 2012
7:26 pm

This isn’t the same receiver that played for tech, whoever he hired to coach him has done a very good job. If i were a tech fan I would be scratching my head over how much he has improved.

FL Jacket

March 6th, 2012
7:32 pm

Ghost…

And if he had 4 drops today and ran a 4.5 instead of a 4.3 at the Combine? If he had kept the original 3rd or 4th round grade…would your comment then be about how “CPJ offenses can’t prepare athletes for the NFL”?

Can’t have it both ways dude…so keep writing your never-ending negative slant on CPJ…

5150 UOAD

March 6th, 2012
7:33 pm

Ghost he made all the catches in practice too. The Game catches are where he had troubles.

Ghost

March 6th, 2012
7:53 pm

FL jacket , he didn’t have 4 drops and he ran a 4.35 , so something has motivated the kid, that or like 5150 says he chokes when the band is playing. Not meant to be a flame, but what player has this staff coached up? it certainly not reflected in elevated draft status or All conference selections. which diamond in the rough has been polished?

FL Jacket

March 6th, 2012
8:11 pm

Ghost…

This is the same kid who led the NCAA in YPC the last 2 seasons. While a lot of that is a product of the offense, I saw the same kid who used his speed to get downfield and make big catches, as well as get his body in front of DBs and blocked big gainers for the backfield.

You need to stop ignoring that there is a bias towards the Michael Crabtrees, A.J. Greens, and Justin Blackmons who get to catch 50, 75,or more balls (or much more) because the offense has a ton of possessions and the QB gets to chuck it 50 times a game. If they have the measurables, they are assumed to know how to do it in the NFL because they ran the same offense in college. Then they get to the NFL and are asked to block…and they become one-dimensional.

And then I love throwing the David Terrells, Mike Williams’,and Travis Taylors who also achieved in college in NFL offenses…and you realize that where or how you played JUST DOESN’T MATTER. If you’re an athlete they’ll find you.

People like you will rail against CPJ because he didn’t prepare Stephen Hill (or Urban Meyer with Tim Tebow) without help in what I would call “NFL skills”…when it isn’t his main job to teach what he’ll need in the NFL…it’s to win ballgames.

Ramblin Man

March 6th, 2012
8:25 pm

For those that have forgotten Julio Jones was a ball dropping machine. The big difference is he had more passes thrown his way and a NC ring for draft analysts to droll over. I hope Stephen gets highly drafted for him and GT. Hopefully 31 teams being there helps a couple of the other guys. Sucks about Burnett as he is such a workhorses. Hopefully the other ABs take advantage this spring.

ten of eleven

March 6th, 2012
8:29 pm

I think this speaks volumes of the idiocy of your head coach, not utilizing him in traditional wide receiver roles/plays.

Keep Paul Johnson FOREVER!!!!!!!

5150 UOAD

March 6th, 2012
8:33 pm

10 of 11 funny….I guess not have a QB that could consistently get HILL the ball had nothing to do with it. Please keep the OC god BOBO forever. Wait NOBODY wants BOBO or Richt.

FL Jacket

March 6th, 2012
8:36 pm

5150…

I think the idiocy lies in uGA not recruiting Stephen Hill in the first place…