ATHENS – Former Georgia tight end Orson Charles, who caught nearly 100 passes in three seasons for the Bulldogs, had a rough performance at UGA’s Pro Day on Monday.
Charles had hoped to solidify a spot in the first round of the NFL draft and show the crowd of 46 NFL representatives that he’s the best tight end prospect in the nation. But that issue will be up for debate now after he ran a slow 40-yard dash in difficult conditions at the Woodruff Practice Fields.
With the wind gusting to 20 mph, Charles covered the 40 yards in 4.9 seconds while running into the wind and 4.75 with the wind.
“Running against the wind was kind of discouraging,” Charles said. “I heard a couple of my times and I feel like I can do a little better. If I had to take anything back, I’d like to take that 40back and prove that I am like a 4.5 or 4.6 guy.”
Charles didn’t run the 40-yard dash at the NFL scouting combine, saying he got started late in training.
Charles’ trainer and agent recommended that he wait until UGA's Pro Day to run. But with the unimpressive times, he’ll likely have to run again for teams at personal workouts.
“We just felt like we’d be ready today,” said Charles, who met with 23 teams at the NFL scouting combine and has a private workout with the Philadelphia Eagles scheduled.
Charles, Stanford’s Coby Fleener and Clemson’s Dwayne Allen are considered the top tight ends in the draft and Charles hopes to be the first tight end selected. The draft will be held April 26-28 in New York City.
“To tell you the truth, it would mean a great deal [to go first],” Charles said. “But you never know how the draft is going to work out. Two tight ends could go in the first round. Two tight ends could go in the second round. I just want a job.”
Charles looked fluid while running pass routes and in blocking drills. Former West Virginia quarterback Jarrett Brown threw passes to Charles and tight end Aron White.
“I train with him,” said Charles of Brown. “It came down to D.J. Shockley or him. We came in here yesterday and walked through the route tree. I felt comfortable with his passing and he looked great.”
But Charles kept returning to his 40-yard dash performance.
“The wind kind of killed me,” he said. “I hope they take that into consideration.”
UGA offensive linemen Ben Jones and Cordy Glenn participated in position drills but let their combines stats stand.
Other UGA players taking part were: defensive lineman Justin Anderson, kicker Brandon Bogotay, punter Drew Butler, cornerback Brandon Boykin, tight end Bruce Figgins, defensive lineman DeAngelo Tyson and kicker Blair Walsh. Safety John Knox, who transferred from Georgia, also participated.
Boykin, who’s recovering from a fracture in his lower right leg, is hoping to run for scouts on April 9.
Falcons head coach Mike Smith was on hand and 30 of the league’s 32 teams were represented. The Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears were the only no-shows.
“It was a little windy, but we got an opportunity to watch some of the guys that weren’t at the combine,” Smith said. “Then we’re going to have the opportunity to visit with these guys once their workouts are over.”
Smith has made UGA's Pro Day one of his regular stops on the scouting trail. He also plans be at Georgia Tech’s Pro Day on Tuesday.
“It’s part of the evaluation,” Smith said. “You want to get an opportunity to meet these guys and have an opportunity to learn more about them. Obviously, we spend the majority of our time watching tape and evaluating them. This gives us an opportunity to learn more about how they grew up, what they’ve done and what their make-up is.”
The Falcons traded their first- and fourth-round picks in this draft to Cleveland last year. They have picks in the second, third, fifth, sixth and seventh round. The Falcons second-round pick in the 55th overall selection.
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