Pro Day Insider: Just another Thursday for Watson

by - Senior Writer -
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Mike Williams runs the 40 at Pro Day

CLEMSON – Home court advantage. Just another Thursday.

Welcome to Pro Day at Clemson University.

Clemson’s pro hopefuls ran through a series of tests and drills as part of pro day festivities Thursday morning inside the Poe Indoor Practice Facility, and most of them appeared to help their cause in front of assembled NFL coaches, scouts and executives.

Both Mike Williams and Artavis Scott appeared to help themselves with their 40 times. Williams didn’t run the 40 at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis last month, so all eyes were on him as he ran. He turned in unofficial times of 4.50 and 4.49. For a bigger receiver, those times are outstanding. As one group of scouts passed us in the hallway, there were still “wowed” by Williams’ time.

Scott, who we’ve heard has to prove to NFL scouts that he can run a variety of routes, also had a good day. He turned in the same times as Williams and looked crisp on all of this routes.

Of course, everybody in the facility took notice when quarterback Deshaun Watson threw, and he didn’t disappoint. Under the watchful eye of quarterback guru Jordan Palmer, Watson overcame a slightly inaccurate start to post a solid day.

Of interest: The Chicago Bears brought in a bevy of team personnel to watch Watson, and Watson huddled with head coach John Fox and team executives before pro day started. Once the workouts were finished, several members of the Chicago media grilled Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney about what makes Watson special.

The Bears recently released quarterback Jay Cutler and signed veteran Mike Glennon. They have the third overall pick in the draft, and they aren’t expected to take a quarterback, but you have to wonder if the Bears are considering trading and moving down, hoping to pick up Watson a few picks later, or perhaps taking Watson third overall and letting him sit a year behind Glennon.

I spoke to one scout who said Watson needed to show accuracy on the deep ball in the workout, and he was accurate on all but just a few deep throws.

Watson said he was pleased with the workout, and commented on how the national championship helped prepare him for this moment.

“It showed I can deal with adversity. I can manage the situations I need to manage. I'm a winner. I'm a champion,” Watson told TigerNet. “I just go out there throw the ball and do what I've got to do and whatever the coaches ask me to do, no matter who the receiver is. It's cool to get out there with my guys and do it one more time.”

Palmer told TigerNet after the workout that Watson shines most when the lights are brighter.

“I’ve had Drew Brees out to see me, and Norv Turner,” Palmer said. “Those were Deshaun’s best days. He’s a winner, and he doesn’t let anything get in his way. He’s a tremendous competitor, and he’s a winner. Today was just another Thursday to him.”

Center Jay Guillermo, who wasn’t invited to the Combine, took the opportunity to showcase his talents.

“I came in and wanted to do really well in the 225 (bench press) and was able to knock out 33. That was a big goal for me,” Guillermo said. “I felt confident. I felt good. I felt like I moved well. I weighed in at 298 - a good weight. If anything, I can gain a little more weight. I think everyone was very happy.”

Guillermo said not being invited to Indy made him want to show the scouts what they were missing.

“(It irked him) A little bit. Control what you can control. I can control how hard I work, and I take pride in how hard I work,” he said. “Being able to come out and have a good day, I was really happy about that. It played a little part in it, and it did put a little chip on my shoulder, but once again I couldn't control it and I don't need to worry about it. I had guys coming up and talking to me. I even had a couple of guys ask me to do some impressions of Coach Swinney and Coach (Woody) McCorvey, so that was pretty neat and pretty funny.”

Punter Andy Teasdall also took time out from his new job in Clemson’s recruiting office to kick, with a little help from current 49er Bradley Pinion.

Artavis Scott in action Thursday

“It's just a good time to show what you can do and whether to move on in the real world or continue to try this,” Teasdall said. “You never know what can happen. I never thought I'd be able to start for two years and be on the team. To have all of the scouts, I'm just thankful we've got some studs on the team that brought in some scouts. It was good to see all of the guys and catch up a little bit.”

Tight end Jordan Leggett said the players showed out because they were in comfortable surroundings.

“It's a little less stressful being in your own indoor. It's almost like a home court advantage. We just made the most out of it,” Leggett said. “Then you have guys that were out there today, we won a national championship together, so we're really close-knit, and we're out there cheering each other on. Just this whole day, made everything easier for everybody. It was our last time really here at Clemson, and then we'll be going off on different paths. It was definitely fun.”

Swinney said it makes him feel good to see guys he recruited try to earn a pay check in the NFL.

“For me it's graduation. That's where it starts for me. And second, it's seeing these guys fulfill a dream and have the opportunity to be a part of pro day,” Swinney said. “It's something we don't spend a lot of time talking about, but it's always looming out there. This is something they all dream about and you want to see them do well. I thought our guys did a good job today. Now, they can get back to being football players. We can get all of the combine stuff and the things that I think are totally irrelevant - like the ACT and SAT. I've been around some people who had unbelievable ACTs and didn't do well in school and some people that did terrible that did great. At the end of the day, it's about who you are on the inside and all of this is being evaluated on the outside. They can get back to being players now.”

40 Times Run No.1 Run No. 2
Ben Boulware4.864.79
Wayne Gallman4.524.58
Jay Guillermo5.385.35
Jadar Johnson4.624.55
Jordan Leggett4.684.69
Grant Radakovich5.035.18
Artavis Scott4.504.49
Robert Smith4.624.62
Carlos Watkins4.985.02
Mike Williams4.504.49
*Unofficial times





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