This past Friday, big names like Jeremiah Attaochu and Euclid Cummings competed in the 2014 Pro Day in the John and Mary Brock indoor football facility.
Thirteen Tech graduates were on display to show the NFL scouts that they have what it takes to play professional football. On the defensive side of the ball, Tech had six participants. The linebackers participating were Attaochu and Brandon Watts. Attaochu also worked out in the defensive lineman group along with Cummings and Emmanuel Dieke. Jemea Thomas and Louis Young worked out as defensive backs.
On the offensive side, Ray Beno, Jay Finch, Will Jackson and Omoregie Uzzi worked out as offensive lineman. Running backs David Sims and Robert Godhigh also participated, and punter Sean Poole was the lone special team’s member. Uzzi, who graduated in 2013, was participating for the second year in a row with the hopes of getting another chance to make the NFL.
Attaochu and Thomas were invited to the 2014 NFL Combine in Indianapolis, but Attaochu was unable to work out in drills due to a torn hamstring he suffered at the senior bowl. Thomas looked to improve on his 40 time from the NFL Combine. He did.
Because Attaochu was hurt for the NFL Scouting Combine, 40 NFL scouts from all 32 teams showed up to Tech’s Pro Day, including two from the hometown Atlanta Falcons and three from the New Orleans Saints. A scout from the Canadian Football League also attended. Attaochu’s injury allowed Tech’s other players to get the extra attention they needed to impress the scouts.
The day started off with the players weighing in and collecting their measurables like height, arm length, hand size and wingspan. After this, the players were tested for their vertical jump and broad jump. Top performers for their position were Attaochu, Watts, Sims and Finch. Watts recorded a 37.5” vertical jump, which would be sixth at the NFL Combine for linebackers. Watt’s broad jump was 10’2”, which would be fifth best at the NFL Combine. Attaochu recorded a 36.5” vertical, which would have been eighth best for his position.
The players then left the locker room and walked over to the indoor facility where they were tested in the 40 yard dash, three cone drill, shuttle runs and the bench press.
Watts stole the show in the 40 yard dash. If Watts wasn’t on NFL team’s radar, he definitely will be now as he put up unofficial times of 4.40 in both runs. Some scouts had him as low as 4.38. Watts would have been first in the NFL Combine for all outside linebackers by a tenth of a second and in the top eight out of all combine participants. 4.40 would have been fastest by linebacker in eight years. It is very rare to find an outside linebacker who is 6’2 230 pounds with that kind of speed.
“I was pretty happy about my 40 time,” Watts said. “I had good jumps in the locker room to start my day off well and it carried over here. The lowest I heard was 4.38 and 4.39 [on the 40 yard dash time]. I had never timed myself. I didn’t want to time myself until today, I just wanted to come run and see whatever the time was.”
Attaochu also ran an impressive 40. He was clocked by scouts around 4.55. However, his 1.55 10 yard split was far more impressive as it would be the best time for any defensive end or outside linebacker in the Combine. That was the first time Attaochu had run the 40 at full speed since tearing his hamstring.
“Brandon is a really good athlete. He’s a fast guy. We said all along that he might be one of the fastest guys on the team and certainly he ran well today,” said Tech Head Coach Paul Johnson. “Jeremiah [Attaochu] is an awfully good football player. He’s a tremendous pass rusher—was for us. He was the all-time leader in sacks. He’s a great person and he brings the total package. Not only is he a good player, but he’ll be a great representative off the field as well.”
Currently, Attaochu is projected by NFL scouts and draft insiders to go from the late first round to early third round. The only other Tech player who has been getting draft buzz before the pro day was Thomas. Thomas is projected to be a late round pick in the 2014 NFL draft.
The player who helped his draft stock the most was Watts. Watts performance at pro day could push him into a late round pick.
In the bench press workout, Ray Beno had the highest total as he completed 30 reps at 225 pounds. Godhigh outperformed his career best by three reps, completing 23 reps. Godhigh proved to scouts that he is very strong despite his height.
Godhigh worked out with a team from the Canadian Football League following his pro day.
“I did pretty well. I had certain numbers I was trying to get and I feel like accomplished all of them,” Godhigh said. “I was shooting for 20 on the bench and I got 23 so I’m pretty happy about that.”
Attaochu works out the next two weeks with the Patriots, Colts and Eagles. He says his injury is fully healed and he was very surprised and happy with his 40 time.
“I think I did great. I surprised myself a little bit. I pushed through, worked hard and that’s all they want to see,” Attaochu said.
Most people are projecting Attaochu to play outside linebacker in the 3-4 defense, but this past season at Tech, he excelled as a defensive end. He played both positions in college and has no preference to which one he will play in the NFL. He described himself as a football player and will make plays no matter what defense he plays in.
“I’m getting a lot of great feedback,” Attaochu said. “The league is split half and half between the 3-4 and 4-3 defense. Being a pass rusher who can cover and rush the passer very well, that plays to both types of defenses. The league is becoming more versatile and they need guys like me who can stand up and rush the passer or put their hand on the ground and do it.”
Attaochu is represented by agent Pat Dye Jr. He has never had a favorite team—only favorite players, which are Denver Broncos linebackers Von Miller and Demarcus Ware.
Dye Jr. also represents Demarcus Ware and there is going to be a meeting set up for Attaochu to meet his idol.