The book on: LB Brandon Watts
Georgia (Tech) Institute of Technology Yellow Jackets
Washington County High School
It is still puzzling how a talent with incredible athleticism that Watts possesses was left home in late February, watching the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine unfold, wishing that he would have been one of the 35 linebackers that were invited to attend. Perhaps the other linebackers were lucky that the Tech speedster was not there, for they all would have looked meek in comparison when teams pulled out their stopwatches to time everyone in the 40-yard dash and watch them perform in all of the agility tests.
Instead, Watts would use Georgia Tech's Pro Day on March 28th to show teams what they had missed in Indianapolis. Perhaps no linebacker in college football had "flown under the radar" on draft ratings charts than the senior, who boasted 143 tackles, 4.5 sacks and 12 stops behind the line of scrimmage in his last 26 appearances.
Watts got his share of eyeballs as he performed linebacker drills for the teams. Those in attendance were still buzzing over his numbers from the other agility tests. "I feel like I did great. I did everything like I expected to," said Watts. "I wanted to bench a little heavier but I was a little tired at the end, so I didn't do as many as I thought I would. Other than that, everything went great. I set a personal record on my vertical, and my broad jump. I guess that was a personal record on my 40 (4.4s) because I never time myself."
The official 40-yard dash time of 4.41 seconds came as little surprise to those that knew Watts, and predicted such success for him prior to the start of the day's events.
A solid contributor for four seasons and a two-year starter, Watts played in 49 career games with 29 starts. He finished his career with 179 tackles and 16 tackles for loss, but as many opposing ball carriers will tell you - there's no escaping speedy linebacker Brandon Watts. To put his 40-yard dash in perspective, his 4.41 clocking would have "blown away" the other 35 linebackers at the Combine, where none ran better than 4.52.
Just ten of the 330-plus player, all receivers or defensive backs, had better times. Looking back into the last 10 years, the only linebacker to run faster among the close to 400 that participated was Stanford's Jon Alston, who just inched past Watts with a 4.40 timing during the 2006 Combine session. Watts also recorded a 37½-inch vertical jump, sixth-best in the 2014 linebacker class.
Watts' 10'02" broad jump would have ranked fifth, while his 20-yard shuttle of 4.21 fell behind eight others. In the three-cone drill, he torched the track at 6.89 seconds, which would have been fourth-best in the 2014 Indianapolis group.
In 48 games at Georgia Tech, Watts started 29 contests, recording 179 tackles (104 solos) with 7.5 sacks for minus 52 yards and sixteen stops for losses of 71 yards…Intercepted one pass and deflected three others…Caused four fumbles and credited with one fumble recovery.
Dave-Te' Thomas has more than 40 years of experience scouting for the NFL. With the NFL Draft Report, Thomas handles a staff that evaluates and tests college players before the draft and prepares the NFL's official Draft Packet, which is distributed to all 32 teams prior to the draft. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
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