It's been a while since a Georgia Tech Pro Day had so few draft-worthy players to offer, if you believe the pundits that is. Being a fan and alum of the Jackets myself I've seen all their draft-eligible players over their Tech careers and I think they have a couple diamonds in the rough. I'll discuss my thoughts on each later but first let's talk about one of the stars of the combine, WR Stephen Hill.
Hill of course didn't disappoint, though he stood on his excellent combine numbers in many areas including his sub 4.3 40-yd dash. The word now is Hill will not get past pick #26 (Texans). So here's what Mike Mayock has to say:
Georgia Tech pro day notes | Georgia Tech
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.
Tech fans remember a couple wide open TDs he dropped is why he has the rep.
Though Hill's college coach Paul Johnson thought Hill would benefit from another season in the flats he admits now that Hill made the right decision:
Hill has strong showing at Georgia Tech’s Pro Day | Atlanta Falcons
"I don’t think he’s surprised me physically at all," Johnson said. "I knew that he was a physical talent. I think where he’s really made the most progress within the last year and half is his maturity. There are a lot of things that go into it. "Another year would have helped. He would have been closer to graduation, but it looks like he’s made the right decision. It looks like it’s going to work for him. I’m extremely happy for him and his family that it has worked out the way that it has."
Well let's see where he lands first CPJ...oh and I can forgive you for trying to keep Hill in the fold another year!
So how did Hill make so much progress so quickly. Some might like to credit time spent with this former Falcon nemesis:
NFL.com Blogs " Blog Archive Hill works out in front of three NFL coaches at Ga. Tech pro day "
I didn’t include Hill on my first "Hot 100″ list, but he rose to No. 44 on my second list and he was No. 32 on my third. The best thing Hill did was work out with former NFL WR Terance Mathis at the IMG Academy. Mathis taught Hill how to run routes and took him from a person who was a straight-line streak WR to a guy who can really throttle down and catch the ball.
I still expect it to take two or three seasons before Hill cracks a starting line up. Hill isn't without his negatives. Though the Texan fan base seems to like him at #26 on blogger is keeping it real:
A Texans fan inquiry about Stephen Hill. - From The Rumble Seat
Now the negatives. A lot will be made about SH’s dropped passes. In games against UNC and Clemson, he dropped sure TD catches where he was either wide open or has several steps on the defender. He had several drops in 2010 as well. It seems he has that flaw of losing concentration when degree of difficulty drops. Obviously, in GT’s offense, we generally don’t have a sophisticated passing system with endless route trees, route break-offs, zone reads, etc., so this is a part of the game he will have to learn (Kubiak and Dennison would be great coaches to learn that from). Finally, I think it’s worth noting that he had a very difficult time adjusting from 2009 (when Demaryius Thomas played opposite him) to 2010 when he became the main threat, and his concentration and his work ethic were questioned somewhat. I think that might be a thing of the past because since then he has dedicated himself at GT and once he declared for the NFL draft. He might be a guy that you have to actively motivate.
So I think Hill is one hell of a prospect but don't expect too much from him early in his career. By the way, the Panthers were one of 31 teams in attendance.
Here are the teams that were certainly on hand: Falcons, Saints, Raiders, Eagles, Bills, Bears, Bengals, Browns, Cardinals, Rams, Panthers, Vikings, Colts, Dolphins, Titans, Broncos, Lions, and Texans.
Now to the others guys not named Hill:
RB RODDY JONES
*14 bench press reps
*4.53 40-yard dash
Jones was an excellent A-back for the Rambling Wreck who runs in the mold of some other well known short, stocky RBs:
More from Tech pro day | Georgia Tech
"I feel like the way Maurice Jones-Drew and Ray Rice run, I feel I could be that type of back," he said. "They’re a little bit thicker than I am, but there’s certainly a lot of backs that I pull stuff from in the NFL and try to incorporate in my game, as well. I think that the style of running in the NFL suits me very well as opposed to a lot of the outside running we did here."
The big question mark about Jones is whether he can catch the ball out of the backfield, a play the Jackets rarely if ever ran. Jones did catch some ball down field in the passing game at times, more of a wheel route type of play. So his bread and butter in the NFL will be a 3rd down situational substitute who could also return kick offs.
FB LUCAS COX
*26 bench press reps (225 pounds).
*4.83 40-yard dash
Cox is the younger brother of NFL player Mike Cox, who also wore the gold and white. Like his brother he could be a UDFA that makes a roster simply through grit and a high motor. Unlike his brother, Cox has better hands and is a better runner with the ball.
WR TYLER MELTON
*4.59 40-yard dash
*16 bench press reps
Melton is a 6' 205 lb wide receiver who was a good blocker in the Jackets run option offense. His career stats would barely be considered a good season (33 rec 261 yds, 1 TD). 'Nuff said...
DT JASON PETERS
*4.83 40-yard dash
*28 bench press reps
Peters, a Baton Rouge (La.) native, recently concluded a consistent four-year career at Georgia Tech. He played in 49 career games, started 30 times, recorded 109 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks. He also had two career fumble recoveries, one forced fumble and one interception.
CB RASHAAD REID
*4.56 40-yard dash
*11 3/4 bench press reps
A versatile CB who played every position int he backfield. At 5'10" and 190 lbs he is average all around.
LB STEVEN SYLVESTER
*4.75 40-yard dash
*23 bench press reps
DT LOGAN WALLS
*5.35 40-yard dash
*24 bench press reps
WR EMBRY PEEPLES
*4.50 40-yard dash
*14 bench press reps