Posted: 4:47 pm Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Draft expert: Attaochu needs to run 4.6 

By Ken Sugiura

Former Georgia Tech stars Jeremiah Attaochu and Jemea Thomas both have something to prove in the 40-yard dash at this weekend’s NFL draft combine, draft expert Tony Pauline said.

A good time for Attaochu, Pauline said, would be 4.6 seconds. Over 4.8 would be damaging to his draft stock.

Thomas will need to run a 4.4 to show he has the speed necessary to stay with the receivers he’ll be trying to cover in the NFL.

“Anything in the 4.5’s is going to hurt him because of his size,” Pauline said.

Thomas measured in at 5-foot-9 ½ at the Senior Bowl and 190 pounds. By comparison, the first five safeties drafted last year were 6-0, 6-1, 5-10, 6-0 and 6-1, and the 5-10 player weighed 210 pounds. As such, Pauline projects him at cornerback. Last year, 16 cornerbacks ran 4.8 or lower, including former Tech corner Rod Sweeting, among the 35 who put down times at the combine. (Unrelated, but Thomas’ wingspan was measured at 74 1/4 inches. There were players at the Senior Bowl 2 and 3 inches taller with similar wingspans.)

Further, Pauline said, “he’s got to do well in the drills to prove that he’s got the ability to be used as more of a nickel or dime corner than safety, because he doesn’t have safety size.”

Among outside linebackers – Attaochu’s projected position – nine players ran 4.65 or faster among the 23 who ran. As with Thomas, Pauline said, it will be imperative for Attaochu to do well in position drills to protect or raise his draft standing. Pauline said that Attaochu played well at the Senior Bowl, but needs to show again he can play well in space.

The other speed and quickness drills are of less importance, Pauline said, because both players have demonstrated their agility. The straight-line speed is the bigger question.

Pauline projects Attaochu as a third- or fourth-round selection, while Thomas looks to him like a seventh-rounder.

For what it’s worth, former Tech B-back David Sims, who has been training with Thomas in Kissimmee, Fla., with speed coach Tom Shaw, said Thomas can run a 4.4.

“I do think he has it in him,” Sims said. “Whether he runs it or not, I’m not sure, but I think he’ll be pretty close to it if he doesn’t.”

Sims himself gave a positive report on his own training, saying he had lost about seven pounds to 228. He felt like he was learning better running technique to prepare him for the drills he’ll perform at Tech’s pro day March 28.

“I don’t know specific times or whatever, but I’ve been moving a lot faster than I had been, so I hope that’s a dramatic improvement in timing,” he said.

Note: I wrote Monday that I would have the defensive depth chart Tuesday. My apologies for the delay. I will post it Thursday.

29 comments
D-Sheets
D-Sheets

Glad to see our resident "expert" is on the boards today.

Birmingham__Jacket
Birmingham__Jacket

I'm not worried about Attaochu.  He will be a fine player at the next level.

J. Thomas had some tough games against Clemson, BYU and Miami this year.  Difficult to ask a 5'9 corner to cover receivers (especially Pros) that are 6'3-6-6'.

I wish both the best.  Enjoyed watching their college careers at GT.

AugustaJacket
AugustaJacket

Attaochu was clocked at 4.61 in the 40 out of HS, according to Rivals.  I think low 4.6's is extremely realistic for him.  

JacketMan
JacketMan

They haven't taken into account that Thomas has a wingspan that is greater than most guys that are 6'6" and his hands are bigger than guys that big, too, so the fact his physical height might be a few inches under 6', when you add in his added reach, Thomas will actually play taller than guys measuring in at 6'2" when you add in their wingspan and the size of their hands in some cases.


This is precisely why Jemea was able to shut down the Draft's consensus #1 TE Ebron from Carolina when he was put one-on-one with him the second half of their game. Ebron is 6'4 and Thomas shut him down the 2nd half of the game.

billybuzz65
billybuzz65

Good info, Ken.


I am pulling for both players to make it. They were our best defensive players last year.


David Sims' remarks were interesting.  Why doesn't our strength & conditioning people use these techniques, etc. to achieve better results?  Are they aware of the processes used by these NFL prep gurus?  Do you think that it is because the player has 24/7 to focus on conditioning?


CPJ commented during the season that Attaochu had matured over the years about taking care of his body. His diet was healthy; he was strict on his conditioning and his rest. Perhaps only the guys that think they can compete at the next level put forth the effort needed.


Is it strictly a personal decision or do we need changes in S&C to compete?



CT_Jacket
CT_Jacket

I'll be watching this weekend.  I wish them all the best.  It's a great watching a player work hard to achieve a lifelong dream.  When it's over, they'll have a GT degree for the next phase of their lives.

JacketMan
JacketMan

Watch the ACC Championship game where Thomas basically shut down FSU's WR's, including their projected 6'5" 1st Round Draft Choice Benjamin as well as how he shut down Carolina's probable 1st Round Draft TE Ebron the second half of last year.

In particular, not "covering" Clemson's receivers last season, don't forget that few defenders did so, and also don't forget that last season, Thomas was basically the only DB with any experience as the rest were injured, so he was scrambling trying to protect the field instead of just one position, and he was also responsible for run support as well.

As far as all of the schools you mentioned, add in the fact Thomas was also playing special teams both ways (kicking and receiving), and well, one might say that he was on the field about 80% of the game so one should give him some leeway if he got a bit tired towards the end of the game because Clemson, Miami, and BYU, do play a hurry-up style of offense.

I liken Jemea Thomas to Asante Samuel who played over 10 years in the NFL. Size-wise they're very similar, however, Jemea likes to play more physical than Samuel and is also known for his special team prowess and ability to play corner, nickel, and safety instead of just corner (because Thomas has such a large wingspan, he plays much taller than his measured height).

Right now, some of the most successful corners in the League aren't 6' tall (Revis)

AugustaJacket
AugustaJacket

According to Rivals, Jamea was clocked at 4.5 in the 40 out of high school.  Both guys look like they should be able to deliver solid 40 times.

GeorgeStein
GeorgeStein

@billybuzz65  Not really sure, but it might have something to do with the idea that they're not getting them ready to play football; they are getting them ready to play pretend football.


Either way, I hope they both perform well and get the chance to play on Sundays (if that's what they want).

GeorgeStein
GeorgeStein

@MikeBanning This fails to explain why Renner was finding him constantly in the first half.   Try again.

SupersizeThatOrder-mutt
SupersizeThatOrder-mutt

@MikeBanning @GeorgeStein 

Crit's problems erupted long after he left Tech.  The athletes we mention at other schools demonstrate their thuggish behavior while they are attending the schools in question.  What's so difficult about that for you to understand?

GeorgeStein
GeorgeStein

@MikeBanning Do you understand the difference between an isolated incident that happened years after a player was on campus and a pattern of behavior that occurs while the individual(s) is on campus?   Are you really this dense?

GeorgeStein
GeorgeStein

@MikeBanning Who?   Who is saying these things?   Show me.   And if you want to accuse me of hypocrisy (not that that's a substantive charge) you better show me where I said one thing - ONE THING - about anyone who smoked weed.    I defy you to find that.

MikeBanning
MikeBanning

@GeorgeStein @MikeBanning  

If Crit has nothing to do with GT's reputation, then players at Miami that got free drinks and table dances from Nevin Shapiro don't impact that school's reputation, or guys at SEC schools that smoke weed or have suspended licenses don't impact those school's reputations either.

We all know that many GT fans from these blogs have made comments that are counter to what you claim about and are constantly other schools Thug-U and other names.

So which side of your mouth are you talking out of today?

Lots of hypocrisy from many GT fans, you included.

GeorgeStein
GeorgeStein

@MikeBanning Which is why I said "other such nonsense."   Crittenton has nothing to do with the school's reputation (unless you're an idiot, in which case you wouldn't be admitted anyway) and he's certainly not a football player, so I'm unclear as to the relevance of your comment.

MikeBanning
MikeBanning

@GeorgeStein @MikeBanning  

Crit plays BASKETBALL!

Maybe I did mention him, he has been in the news hurting the Institute's reputation.

My point might have been don't talk about other school's bad apples when we have our own bad apples.

GeorgeStein
GeorgeStein

@MikeBanning No, I don't have you confused with anyone else.  I am trying to paste a comment from a few weeks ago where you brought up Jarvaris Crittenton for no particular reason, but it keeps blocking it.

GeorgeStein
GeorgeStein

@MikeBanning You troll constantly.   It's the only reason you post things about baseball players getting in trouble or other such nonsense that has nothing to do with football.


You don't stay within facts; you make them up.


As for whether or not others are abusing the system, maybe they are, maybe they're not.   But surely you can agree that they're playing by the rules.   The system provided the flag button to quell clowns like you, and now you're getting hit back and you don't like it.   I understand your frustration, because your primary purpose isn't to have a back and forth, it's simply to troll.   Sorry you're getting what you deserve.

GeorgeStein
GeorgeStein

@MikeBanning I'd say I generally oppose that.   The issue is that your posts rarely fit within those boundaries, and even when they do, you've marginalized yourself to such an extent that people simply want them removed regardless of their content.  See, that's what happens when you're a troll.   


Don't like it?   Shape up, be restricted by facts, and grow the eff up already.   Otherwise, keep getting your posts deleted.   Must suck to get trolled back, huh?

GeorgeStein
GeorgeStein

@MikeBanning The two are totally unrelated.   A book on reasoning skills would serve you well.

GeorgeStein
GeorgeStein

@MikeBanning In your brain comparing him to a former Tech player means you're not trolling?   WTF.

MikeBanning
MikeBanning

@GeorgeStein @MikeBanning  

If he were Ryan Stewart's size, then yeah he'd be a 2nd round draft choice or higher.

See how I compared him to a former GT player.

Are you gonna claim that is trolling also?

GeorgeStein
GeorgeStein

@MikeBanning Because the NFL draft is not about performance.   It's about tools.   They want players to fit a certain mold, and if you don't, you get docked for it.   That doesn't mean he won't make it as a player, but it does mean he was never going to be particularly high draft pick.


This also begs the question, though: Are you suggesting that but for his height, he'd be a higher pick?

GeorgeStein
GeorgeStein

@MikeBanning Would GT benefit from LBs who can run fast in a straight line?   Probably not, because in roughly 40 snaps a game, a LB will do that precisely zero times.