March 18, 2010
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Armed with stopwatches and clipboards, approximately 30 representatives from NFL and CFL teams, highlighted by San Francisco 49ers head coach Mike Singletary, took over the Florida State practice field for Thursday’s Pro Day.
Fourteen former Seminoles, hoping to impress the scouts and bolster their professional stock, were tested in the 40-yard dash, vertical jump, standing broad jump, bench press and agility drills over an intense, two-hour session that is essentially a job interview.
Among the participants were cornerback Patrick Robinson and linebacker Dekoda Watson, who were trying to improve on their strong performances at the recent NFL Combine in Indianapolis, Ind. Each did, at least in the 40, where they laid down the two fastest times of the day at 4.38 and 4.40, respectively.
Other standout efforts included safety Jamie Robinson’s 10-foot, 2-inch standing broad jump, which narrowly eclipsed receiver Rod Owens’ 10-foot, 1 ½-inch effort. Owens also registered a 34 ½-inch vertical jump. Defensive tackle Budd Thacker led the way in the bench press with 31 repetitions at 225 pounds.
Beyond the specific testing, players were put through position-specific individual drills.
Additional participants included: deep snapper Zack Aronson, receiver Louis Givens, receiver Richard Goodman, defensive tackle Justin Mincey, tight end Caz Piurowski, defensive tackle Kendrick Stewart and linebacker Recardo Wright. One-time FSU linebacker Jae Thaxton and receiver Preston Parker also took part.
“I feel like a lot of us out here are blessed and fortunate. A lot of these guys who weren’t invited and didn’t have a chance to go to the Combine had a chance to show their talents and that they can play football.”
“I felt like I was a lot more comfortable here than what I was at the Combine, where I didn’t know anybody. Now I’m home with a lot of guys I played with and I’m used to seeing, like Mickey Andrews. It’s a good feeling to come out here and perform.”
“I was definitely interested in posting a better number, because I didn’t feel like I ran like I was supposed to at the Combine. I wasn’t comfortable with the surroundings and the setting and looking at the film from the Combine, I noticed that my knee lift wasn’t where it was supposed to be and knocked my 40 time down at the Combine. That’s what I worked on and it really helped me out. … As long as it was in that 4.4 range, I can’t be mad.”
DANNY MCMANUS, Hamilton (CFL) Tigercats scout
“Florida State has always had talented players and this is no different at this workout. A couple of these guys are going to make some noise in the NFL. That’s what Florida State does. We produce good athletes. I think the scouts here today saw some guys run around here that are going to be interesting when it comes to draft time and are going to be able to make ballclubs.”
“[For Dekoda Watson] to move that amount of weight so fast, I’m glad I’m not playing anymore. Those guys will hurt you. Those are the type of players that the NFL looks for; guys that can move and get places. To come out here and show his skills as impressively as he did is a compliment to the whole athletic department and to him as well, with the dedication and work that he put into it.”
On CFL presence at Pro Day – “It’s big. It’s probably bigger for me to get eyeballs on them and to see that they can do with the different drills that the NFL guys have them doing. Then getting the information is the bigger thing for me – the contact information – if they have an interest coming to Canada or if we have an interest in them. … Football up north of the border is not bad. It’s pretty good ball.”
“This is just like a professional interview. At your interview you want to be in tip-top shape and at your best. It’s just like any other interview. I just wanted to present myself the best I can, because you know you only get one chance and if you’re fortunate enough, you can get into camp and prove yourself.”
“I did know what to expect. When I did come and watch as a player I’d say, `I can’t wait.’ When the time finally comes (to participate) you get butterflies. I was really nervous, but I finally warmed up and did what I was supposed to do.”
“I thought it was easier for me to be more relaxed out there. I was just trying to be me; just trying to do the things I’ve been doing. I was pretty satisfied with how I did.”
“That would mean a lot to me, to be a first-rounder. The last first-rounder we had was Lawrence Timmons in 2006 or 2007. I’m trying to end that drought and be another Florida State first-rounder.”
“I was definitely trying to get under a 4.4. I did 4.38 and I’m satisfied with what I ran today.”
“Coming back to Florida State was more relaxing for me. I think that was part of the reason for doing well on the field.”