TALLAHASSEE -- There was plenty of joking and catching up off to the sides at Florida State University’s Pro Day when more than 30 players and dozens of scouts and coaches convened on Tuesday afternoon, but once the whistles blew and the drills started there was little doubt as to the mindset of the players.
It was business time.
“This is a multi-million dollar interview. You can be a millionaire real soon,” former Miami Norland standout Xavier Rhodes said. “You’ve got to present yourself real well. It’s like a real interview. So that’s why I take it real serious.”
Rhodes, a redshirt junior cornerback, is among a number of Seminoles vying to be picked in the NFL Draft on April 25-27.
On Tuesday, the 6-2 220-pound corner continued to make his case to be a first round selection, Rhodes displayed excellent athleticism and solid ball skills during his workout.
About 30 yards from Rhodes, Dolphins offensive line coach Jim Turner spent nearly half an hour working one-on-one with junior Menelik Watson. The 6-6 320-pound Manchester, England-born right tackle is one of the more intriguing prospects in the draft.
Watson is among the most athletic tackles in this year’s class. Originally a basketball player at Marist, he made the switch to football, played one season in junior college and then started all last year for the Seminoles.
Despite having played in fewer than 20 football games in his entire life, many draft pundits have him sneaking into the back half of the first round.
But as a former amateur boxer, it was the brutality of Watson’s initial punch off the snap that had most coaches and scouts chattering.
Asked after his workout if Turner had spoken to him about replacing Jake Long, Watson laughed it off before admitting it had been a good conversation between the two.
Florida State’s trio of defensive ends had mixed showings. While at points all three have been considered first-rounders, injuries sustained during the 2012 season have dropped the stocks of Brandon Jenkins and Tank Carradine.
Jenkins continued to struggle Tuesday as he fights back from his Lisfranc injury. Carradine on the other hand, recovering from a torn ACL, did not run but did put up an impressive 32 reps on the bench press. He could be a second-day selection (rounds 2-3).
Consensus first-rounder Bjoern Werner made a solid showing, even displaying some impressive agility in linebacker drills.
Perhaps the surprise of the day was Vince Williams. The 6-1 235-pound inside linebacker made an excellent showing during drills and ran a solid 40 time.
After stringing together productive appearances at the Senior Bowl, the Combine and Florida State’s Pro Day, Williams stock is trending upward as the draft approaches.
As Pro Day was ending scouts and coaches swarmed the players one last time, asking final questions and trying to set up interviews and workouts in the lead-up to the draft.
“From now on out it’s kind of more relaxed,” Werner said. “Now’s kind of the period where a lot of NFL teams give you a visit, come down, train you again, do the same stuff we did today.
It’s just an exciting process, just like, man, I’m going to be in the NFL soon. It’s just a good feeling knowing that.”