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Former Tiger offensive stars perform at NFL Combine, look to impress teams

Emily Lady, staff

Tight end Jordan Leggett (16) did not perform well at the NFL Combine this weekend. He only completed 18 bench press reps and did not run the 40-yard dash.

The Clemson Tigers sent multiple players  to Indianapolis over the weekend to compete in the NFL Combine — a gauntlet of physical and mental tests that attempt to shed light on a player’s potential to compete at the highest level of play. 

Deshaun Watson, Mike Williams, Artavis Scott, Wayne Gallman and Jordan Leggett have all gone through their tests and are on the way back home. Cordrea Tankersley, Ben Boulware and Carlos Watkins are set to work out later in the week to end the Combine. 

Gallman was the first one to show off his chops on Friday, bench pressing 225 pounds 21 times and just missing the cutoff as a top performer. Rival running back Dalvin Cook out of Florida State benched the same weight just one

more time. 

The “Wayne Train” is not projected to be a very high pick this spring, but he is projected to be a balanced runner with a chance to start in the NFL given the right system and a couple of years. 

The other four offensive players performed with mixed results on Saturday. In the morning, Watson and the other quarterbacks threw in some practice drills to test accuracy and mechanics. Just as he did during his collegiate career, Watson glided smoothly through his mechanics on his way to some beautiful-looking throws. 

Outside of his throwing, Watson performed better than expected in the 40-yard dash, vertical jump and broad jump. He placed as a top-five performer in all but one of the events he participated in. The media interview was fairly typical for Watson, with one

slight hiccup. 

When Watson accepted his second Davey O’Brien Award, he made a comment about how he kept his end of the deal by being the nation’s best quarterback two years in a row. In order to keep up their end of the deal, the Cowboys would have to draft Watson in April. 

This was seen as a bit of a slight toward the Cleveland Browns, who own the first and twelfth overall picks and have the opportunity and need to draft a quarterback. 

Watson assured the media that he would be happy to play for any team, and that the comment was nothing but a joke between him and the Cowboys’ owner, Jerry Jones. 

Williams and Scott both provided an up-and-down performance. Scott ran a 4.61 second 40-yard dash. Normally, this isn’t a terrible time, but it isn’t very good, either. Granted, the record for the 40-yard dash was broken by a wide receiver, but Scott is not a big-bodied wide receiver. He will need to rely on speed and route-running to make an impact on an NFL team.

Williams is the opposite of Scott and can play physically, taking up space and going for the possession catch. 

Williams’ vertical jump was far from the best and he did not run the 40. Williams’ bench press (15 reps) was also fairly low when compared to other receivers in this class. The Combine probably won’t greatly impact Williams’ stock, but he does need to perform better at Clemson’s Pro Day to solidify his status as the top wide receiver in the class. 

Jordan Leggett underperformed in the bench press and vertical jump, and has probably fallen further down draft boards. 

Game tape is always the biggest factor in determining how good a player really is, but if any teams are on the fence between him and another player, these results might come back to bite him. 

Although he is a balanced tight end, Leggett doesn’t really stand

out in any one particular skill. 

The draft is just 52 days away from Monday, but NFL free agency starts in three days. 

After that brief period of frantic money-throwing, teams will have a much better idea of which potential rookies can fill the rest of their needs. 

A successful draft night for these young, gifted players could help to

further cement Clemson’s position as a national powerhouse. 

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