The former Georgia tight end was one of 14 former Bulldogs to work out of professional scouts at the team’s practice facility. At least one representative from every NFL team, including Green Bay head coach Mike Sherman and Cleveland head coach Butch Davis, showed up to watch the players work out, and nobody wowed them more than Watson.
The 6-foot-5, 255-pounder ran a 40-yard dash that was timed at sub-4.4 by several scouts. The highest time on the stopwatches was 4.44, Georgia strength coach Dave Van Halanger said, and Watson’s time was faster than any of Georgia’s wide receivers or defensive backs.
“He’s a freak,” said a scout from the Baltimore Ravens.
The pro scouts measured and weighed each player, including determining arm length and hand size. Then the players who were physically able did the bench press, broad jump, vertical jump, 40-yard dash, shuttle drill and ‘L’ drill.
“They do all these silly drills, but the 40 time is the most important,” Van Halanger said. “The biggest things are the 40 time and game film.”
Watson competed in the NFL Combine last month and only ran the 40 on Thursday. He let the rest of his marks from the Combine, including bench pressing 225 pounds 34 consecutive times, stand.
“I just wanted to let the coaches see my do something,” Watson said. “They came a long way.”
Watson, who ran a 4.5 40 at the Combine, was hopeful his new sprint time would improve his professional stock. He expects to be picked between the late first round and early third round in April’s draft. “It’s still all about football but every little bit can help,” he said.
Another Bulldog who helped himself was defensive tackle Ken Veal, who benched 225 pounds 31 straight times.
“You break 30, and that’s an awesome lift,” Van Halanger said. “One of the Green Bay coaches said that this was the best lifting group they had seen.”
Safeties Kentrell Curry and Sean Jones, cornerback Bruce Thornton and Kenny Bailey, wide receivers Michael Johnson and Damien Gary and defensive end Robert Geathers were the most recent former players to perform. Columbus native Jasper Sanks, who was kicked off the team two years ago, also worked out (4.61 40-yard dash).
Jones, timed between the mid-4.4s and 4.5s in the 40, impressed scouts with his ball awareness and hands in drills.
Geathers, who surprised Georgia’s coaches by skipping his senior season to enter the draft this year, thought he helped his status, he said. He ran a 4.75 40 and said later he doesn’t regret his decision to leave early despite being told he probably won’t be picked in the first three rounds.
“This is what my heart wanted to do,” the 6-3, 270-pounder said. “There’s no turning back now. It’s full steam ahead.”
UGA’s notable 40-yard dash times:
Kenny Bailey 4.6
Kentrell Curry 4.53
Damien Gary 4.73
Robert Geathers 4.75
Michael Johnson 4.62
Sean Jones 4.54
Jasper Sanks 4.66
Bruce Thornton 4.42
Ben Watson 4.41