Although the worst conditions held off until the afternoon, Greene and some of his former teammates at Georgia had to conduct their pro day workouts in cold, windy and sometimes rainy weater in front of almost 100 NFL scouts at the team’s practice facility.
For most of the participants, it was a nuisance. For David Greene, it was an opportunity. College football’s all-time winningest quarterback is trying to answer as many questions as he can for professional evaluators, and one of those questions was how he would perform while fighting the elements.
“I was glad it was a windy day really because I think that was a question a lot of guys had,” Greene said. “I had a team say today they were wondering if I could throw in the weather.”
He answered the question mostly positively during a 20-minute session in which he threw to former teammates, including Reggie Brown and Fred Gibson. Brown said Greene threw the ball “unbelievably” and an Atlanta Falcons scout said Greene did nothing to hurt himself.
“Every ball was pretty much on the money,” Brown said. “I was thinking, ‘He’s on it today.’”
Greene was one of more than a dozen players to work out Tuesday. All six of Georgia’s scholarship seniors from the 2004 team – Greene, Gibson, Brown, defensive end David Pollack, linebacker Arnold Harrison and fullback Jeremy Thomas – along with early entrants Odell Thurman (linebacker) and Thomas Davis (safety) participated, as did former Bulldogs such as tight end Robert Brannon and defensive back Kenny Bailey.
“They all (helped themselves), I’m really being honest,” said Jeremiah Davis, a scout for the New York Giants. “The (drill) times were good. The athleticism was good. The morale was good.”
Brown and Gibson each had very good days, running strong 40-yard dash times and catching almost every ball thrown their way. Brown was the fastest Bulldog. After running a for-him disappointing 4.5-second 40-yard dash at last month’s NFL Combine, he ran two 40s at the UGA track and each was timed at sub-4.4 on more than one stop watch.
“I’m still a little disappointed, but it’s better (than at the Combine),” he said. “I just wanted to come out here and do what I normally do, run good routes, make great catches and run fast. I didn’t want the wind. If I ran something real good, I didn’t want anybody to say, ‘Well, it was a little windy.’”
Gibson was timed at between 4.40 and 4.45 on his two runs.
“I just wanted to show people I could catch with my hands, which I did today and, after the catch, I ran to the end zone every time,” Gibson said. “That’s what wide receiver coaches love. That’s what all coaches love to see. Today, overall, was a great day. I’m pleased with it.”
Georgia’s defenders had a good day, too. In fact, most of the scouts in attendance were there to see defensive players since Pollack, Davis and Thurman are expected to be the first three Bulldogs taken in the draft. All three worked out in linebacker drills Tuesday, which were conducted by former Georgia defensive coordinator and current Jacksonville Jaguars linebackers coach Brian VanGorder.
Thurman is a true linebacker and some teams project Pollack, who is small for a defensive end, and Davis, who is big for a safety, at the position as well. Pollack only competed in position drills Tuesday and skipped the 40-yard dash and agility drills. He ran a 4.75 40-yard dash and bench pressed 225 pounds 25 times at the Combine.
His drill work was impressive, VanGorder said.
“I think he did really good,” VanGorder said. “He’s got really good hand, eye coordination.”
Pollack may play at both defensive end and linebacker in some NFL schemes, VanGorder said.
“I think that’s one of the things that appeals to people about me,” Pollack said.
Davis is expected to be drafted in the first round along with Pollack, and Thurman is quickly moving into that range as well.
“That’s the main goal, but I’ll feel blessed whatever round I’m in,” Thurman said.
Thurman ran a 4.56 and a 4.60 and bench pressed 225 pounds 24 times Tuesday. Those numbers were slight improvements over his Combine numbers, but Thurman said he thinks he’s made most of his progress in interviews. The Monticello native felt like he had a bad reputation when he left Georgia after being kicked off the team once and suspended on another occasion.
“They don’t really know me so it’s just the stuff they read and hear about,” he said. “I felt I helped myself just talking to them, and selling my side of the story.”
Davis helped himself with two 40s between 4.40 and 4.45, which was much better than the 4.60 he ran at the Combine.
“I was very relieved to see that,” said Davis, who may have hurt himself a couple hours later when he seemed distracted and only managed 12 reps of 225-pound bench.
NOTE: Natives of the state who live within a certain geographic distance of Athens were also allowed to attend, which is how Tavarus Morgan got invited. Morgan was briefly a wide receiver for the Bulldogs before finishing his career at South Carolina State. Former Georgia walk-ons Evan Wells and Brandon Carley also participated.
UGA’s Big Six
Six members of Georgia’s 2004 are expected to be taken in April’s NFL Draft. Below is a quick look at how Mel Kiper Jr. and Scouts.com rank the Bulldogs:
WR Reggie Brown
Scouts: Second- or third-round pick
Kiper: Not yet ranked
S Thomas Davis
Scouts: No. 16 overall pick, New Orleans Saints
Kiper: No. 24 overall pick, Green Bay Packers
WR Fred Gibson
Scouts: Second round
Kiper: Not yet ranked
QB David Greene
Scouts: Third round
Kiper: Not yet ranked
DE David Pollack
Scouts: No. 23 overall pick, Seattle Seahawks
Kiper: No. 19 overall pick, St. Louis Rams
LB Odell Thurman
Scouts: No. 2 inside linebacker in draft
Kiper: Possible first-round selection