Brandon Watts wasn’t generating much interest from the NFL. Funny what running a 4.4 will do.
After throwing down a blazing 40-yard dash at the Georgia Tech pro day, the former Yellow Jackets linebacker has been receiving phone calls from NFL teams and had two private workouts.
“I knew once I performed well, it was going to kind of get better,” Watts said Friday.
Since the pro day March 28, when he was timed in the 40 in the 4.4 range and even as low as 4.37 seconds, Watts has had private workouts with San Diego and New England, who sent coaches to run him through drills and test him in the video room. He has also had phone interviews with St. Louis, Baltimore, the Falcons and Miami. He also spoke with representatives of the New York Jets, New Orleans and Tennessee at the pro day. He said more teams have been in touch with his agent.
“It’s been looking really up since my pro day,” Watts said.
Watts also had a personal best score of 10’3” in the broad jump and vertical jump (37.5 inches), both of which compared well with scores recorded by linebackers at the NFL draft combine. Watts trained in Florida, but returned to Tech to work with strength and conditioning coach John Sisk leading up to the pro day. He credited Sisk with helping him with his start on the 40.
His overall performance “wasn’t a big surprise,” Watts said. “Maybe my 40 a little bit. I thought I was going to run fast, but I didn’t know if I was going to run that fast.”
In the two workouts, coaches had Watts do position drills at the Tech indoor facility and then watched game video with him and had him explain his role in the Tech defense as well as the assignments of other players.
“It was pretty intense, but I do well at it,” Watts said. “I’m kind of a football nerd, so it kind of came easy to me.”
On phone interviews, Watts said, teams are trying to get to know his background as much or more than his football knowledge. For instance, he said he was asked about his girlfriend, how long they’ve been dating and what the most expensive date they’ve been on.
“Just weird stuff,” he said.
(Watts said he couldn’t recall his most expensive date.)
Watts, who earned his management degree in December, was productive in his two years as a starter, collecting 143 tackles in 26 games. He may be fit best as an outside linebacker in a 4-3, but his experience playing outside linebacker in a 3-4 showed his versatility.
With other former Tech players, he’ll attend a workout Tuesday being held by the Falcons for local players. The draft is pushed back a couple weeks this year, to May 8. In the meantime, Watts is continuing to work out and try to deal with the nerves and uncertainty of what will happen on draft weekend.
“I feel like it’s going to be worth the wait,” he said.