Scouts and coaches take notice at Georgia Tech's pro day
ATLANTA -- While Georgia Tech doesn't have any top NFL Draft prospects this year, a few players caught NFL coaches and scouts' attention during the program's pro day on Friday.
Nine former players participated in the event Friday morning. Most NFL teams were represented, and the Atlanta Falcons sent a large crowd that included head coach Dan Quinn and General Manager Thomas Dimitroff.
The highlight of the day was Justin Thomas' 40-yard dash time unofficially between 4.32-4.37. While Thomas is not sure where coaches and scouts want him to play on the field, whether it's at quarterback, slot receiver or defensive back, Thomas thinks his time is beneficial.
"It certainly helps. But I still have to go in and compete and show that I can play another position if I go in for that," Thomas said.
It was the first time Thomas ran a timed 40, he said. Thomas did the most of anyone on Friday, passing, catching and receiving.
Kicker Harrison Butker also impressed on Friday at Mary R. & John F. Brock Indoor Football Facility. The program's all-time leading scorer kicked field goals from several distances and angles. His longest was from 58 yards. He was also put under high-pressure situations, such as getting iced and kicking game-winners.
"That's what I would want to see," Butker said. "There's got to be some switch ups and you've got to be able to handle that or you can't play."
Butker said several coaches and scouts told him they liked what they saw and that a few teams expressed wanting him to work out privately with them.
Linebacker P.J. Davis caught the eyes of several coaches. One coach told 11Alive after watching the inside drills that Davis was the guy that stood out.
The Atlanta Falcons pulled Davis aside and had him do fullback drills, attracting a lot of the coaches and scouts from teams such as the Detriot Lions, Chicago Bears and Los Angeles Rams who were passing by.
"They were showing a lot of interest in me," Davis said about the Falcons. "I told them, 'I'll play anything. Anything you need me to do. I'm open to anything. Anything to get me on the team. I'll play any position.' "
Davis played running back while at Cairo High School, so he said he knows some of the mechanics when it comes to things like blocking.
Head coach Paul Johnson did not stay for the entire pro day. He said he gets a little nervous for his former players when this day comes around every year.
"You're nervous for them because you know this is one of their goals and aspirations, and you just hope they come out and perform to their capabilities," Johnson said.
Ultimately, Johnson told his guys that while pro day is important, it's "what you lay on the film that matters."
Offensive lineman Freddie Burden did not participate in many of the drills because he is still rehabbing an ankle injury he suffered during the TaxSlayer Bowl.
Defensive lineman Patrick Gamble also did not fully participate because he is still recovering from a hip injury that he played through most of last season.
Other participants included Emmanuel Dieke, Francis Kallon, Tyler Marcordes and Ryan Rodwell.