The University of Georgia’s football team held its annual pro day workout session Wednesday, and representatives from NFL teams across the nation, ranging from Miami to Seattle to Buffalo to San Diego, came to watch and see what the Bulldogs have to offer.
The main attraction of the day came in the form of former Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, who is training for his foray into the professional league despite a torn anterior cruciate ligament he suffered in November against Kentucky.
Murray did what was expected of him during his pro day, completing 57-of-62 passes to various receivers, with half of those incompletions coming in the form of dropped passes. However, Murray did not participate in any field drills like the 40-yard dash or the vertical jump as he is still rehabbing from his injury.
The fastest man of the day was former Georgia cornerback Blake Sailors, who timed in at a 4.45 second 40-yard dash time. That mark would have tied him for eighth-best among all defensive backs invited to the NFL Scouting Combine back in February.
On the bench press, the strongest man of the day was former guard Dallas Lee, who led all Bulldogs with 29 repetitions of 225 pounds. Had Lee attended the combine, his mark of 29 repetitions would have tied him for 11th among offensive linemen, tied with first-round prospects Taylor Lewan of Michigan, Zack Martin and Chris Watt of Notre Dame.
In a day so inherently engineered to be about personal achievement, Chris Burnette managed to be more than just a guard trying to impress some NFL scouts at pro day.
In addition to working out for himself and his personal gains, Burnette worked out as a teammate.
The former Georgia guard lined up as a center throughout the entirety of the passing drills which included Murray, tailback Brandon Harton, receivers Rantavious Wooten and Rhett McGowan and tight end Arthur Lynch despite never having played the position in college.
“I definitely wanted to do what I could to serve Aaron and make sure he was getting the best snaps that he could, and he felt comfortable with me so I decided to do it,” Burnette said.
That being said, Burnette said he understands that this concern for his former teammate actually could aid in his own draft stock.
“Also, I did it just for the prospects of being able to do it at the next level,” Burnette said. “I’m doing whatever I can to get on the field. So I think it was good for me to be able to do that.”
Playing center wasn’t the only aspect of his game Burnette showcased Wednesday morning. In his individual drills, Burnette ran a 5.47 40-yard dash and bench pressed 225 pounds for 24 repetitions, the bench press mark being good for second among Bulldogs who worked out.
However, Burnette doesn’t believe that the measurables of his day were what the scouts were looking at.
“I think the biggest stuff is making sure that you have good footwork,” Burnette said. “That’s something they really look at when you’re a lineman. Good balance, flexibility, stuff like that. Stuff that you could showcase without necessarily showing how strong or powerful you are since you can’t hit anybody.”
Although Burnette said he didn’t necessarily believe the markers of speed and strength were too vital to his evaluation, their recording was necessary as he, as well as fellow offensive linemen Lee and Kenarious Gates were not invited to the NFL Scouting Combine to measure these skills for a national audience. This is something with which Burnette was a little angry.
“I feel like all three of us should’ve got invited [to the combine],” Burnette said. “But at the same time we don’t decide that. We’re a little miffed about that, but hey, I’m glad I got to do pro day at Georgia.”
Wooten was put in plenty of roles as a receiver for the Georgia Bulldogs. He was a reserve, a role player, a speedy slot guy and a surprising starter throughout his time as a Bulldog.
Wednesday, Wooten was able to show off a new role that had been hidden inside all of those other roles: Wednesday, Wooten was an athlete.
Wooten ran a 4.57 second 40-yard dash, second on the team to Sailors, and out-jumped every one of his former teammates with a 9 foot, 10 inches mark on the broad jump and a 35-inch lead on the vertical jump. Both were top marks on the day.
Despite these strong scores, Wooten said he feels he could have done better.
“I was thinking 4.3, but I felt kind of tight,” Wooten said. “I couldn’t get loose. But you know, that’s not an excuse. You’ve just go to run. I was happy just to be out here, to perform in front of these coaches, just to be able to run and put the work in. I’m fine with that.”
One factor that Wooten said he believed contributed to his tightness was the weather, as the unseasonably cold and windy conditions made it tough for him to sufficiently warm up as he would have liked to. However, Wooten doesn’t want to complain about the conditions, but rather use them as a learning experience.
“I don’t think that it hurt us, because at the next level you have to play in any sort of conditions that it is,” Wooten said. “I feel like it helped us in any way it could.”
Regardless of his scores at Pro Day, Wooten said he is not concerned with how the rest of the NFL Draft season will pan out for him. Rather, Wooten said he just wants everything to happen as it will.
“I’ve done everything that I can do,” Wooten said. “I’m just gonna sit back and whatever happens, happens. I’m not going to stress about the draft. If I get drafted, great. Free agent, whatever I have to do, I’m fine with it and I’m proud of myself for making it this far.”
That being said, one thing Wooten is extremely flippant toward is which NFL teams are looking at him.
“Actually, I let my agent handle all of that and I told him I don’t want to know anything,” Wooten said. “I just want to let it happen, just let it play out.”