The crowd of NFL executive, scouts and coaches included Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff, assistant general manager Scott Pioli and Patriots coach Bill Belichick. 

“This is a really busy time of the year of course, to have double-digits here both sides, coaching and scouting, means a lot to us,” Dimitroff said. “The athletes in this state and the athletes at this school, we are always going to be really honed in on it. I think today we had a lot of people here and we gleaned a lot of information here. It’s good.”

A total of 21 former Bulldogs participated in drills.

Here are 10 things we learned: 

1. Holyfield is a football player. Running back Elijah Holyfield ran slow again as he did at the NFL scouting combine last month in Indianapolis. He was timed in the high 4.7s and low 4.8s on both of his 40-yard dashes. The target time for running backs is 4.55 seconds.

“Of course, it’s a concern and how high you determine that to be sort of the guiding light,” Dimitroff said. “Obviously, he’s a good football player. We have to keep an eye on that. He’s a good football player and knows how to play this game.”

Former Georgia Bulldogs running back Elijah Holyfield talks about his performance before NFL scouts in Athens. (Video by D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC)

2. Baker had a better showing. Georgia cornerback Deandre Baker improved on his time of 4.51 from the scouting combine. He ran his first 40-yard dash in 4.46 seconds. “I know I’m the best cornerback in the draft,” Baker said.

Dimitroff is hearing that Baker is the top corner in the country, too. 

“Deandre had a really good day today,” Dimitroff said. “He’s quick, fast and explosive. He can run. Cover the field. Very good range that way. He’s being (mentioned) as one of the best in the country in the draft. It will be interesting to see how that plays out.” 


 

3. Falcons on hand. In addition to Dimitroff and Piolo, the Falcons had coaches Raheem Morris (assistant head coach/wide receivers), Mike Mularkey (tight ends), Chris Morgan (offensive line), Bob Kronenberg (assistant offensive line), Jess Simpson (defensive line coach), Travis Jones (assistant defensive line), Chad Walker (defensive assistant, Doug Mallory (defensive backs) and Jerome Henderson (passing game coordinator). 

Also, area scout Tokunbo Abanikanda and scouting assistant Penil Jean were on hand. 

4. Dimitroff and Smart. Dimitroff and Georgia coach Kirby Smart chatted on the field during the defensive linemen drills. 

5. Ledbetter had strong showing. Defensive end Jonathan Ledbetter also went through the outside linebacker drills for the 3-4 teams. 


 

6. Gaillard scouted. Morgan and Kronenberg closely watched former Bulldog center Lamont Gaillard. Dimitroff said that despite signing two guards in free agency the Falcons were not done fixing the offensive line and finding youth and depth. 

7. Baker, Falcons. Baker said that he has not met with the Falcons, who must replace three cornerbacks after getting rid of Robert Alford, Brian Poole and Justin Bethel.

8. Hardman dazzled. Former Georgia wide receiver Mecole Hardman helped himself with a strong showing. He’s ability to change direction and keep rolling at a high rate of speed was impressive. He’s viewed as a returner with some upside as a receiver. 


 

9. Nauta relying on his film. Tight end Issac Nauta, who ran a 4.91 at the combine, was hoping to improve his team. “I bounced back today,” Nauta said. 

10. Ridley reunion. Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley was on hand to provide support for his brother Riley Ridley. 

Also, former Georgia linebacker Jordan Jenkins, who plays for the New York Jets, was on hand for Pro Day. 

Subscribe to “The Bow Tie Chronicles” podcast with the AJC’s D. Orlando Ledbetter on iTunes or on the new AJC sports podcasts page.

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About the Author

D. Orlando Ledbetter
D. Orlando Ledbetter
D. Orlando Ledbetter is the Atlanta Falcons beat writer for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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