Chaz Sutton knew he had one shot to impress NFL scouts.
He hopes he did Wednesday during South Carolina’s pro day. Sutton, a former Gamecocks defensive linemen, was one of 10 former Gamecocks working out, and while almost all of the attention was on Jadeveon Clowney, Sutton hopes he turned a head or two.
Asked to convey his nervousness on a scale of one to 10, Sutton said, “20.”
“I didn’t really get any sleep last night because I thought about it so much,” he said.
Sutton was not invited to any postseason all-star games or the NFL Combine and doesn’t have any visits scheduled with teams
“I just wanted to come out here and put myself out there in front of everybody and show them I am here to work,” he said. “I feel like I had a good day, but I could have done some things better.”
Sutton has not heard any predictions about where, or if, he will be drafted but said “a lot of people are interested.”
Sutton, Clowney, defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles, quarterback Connor Shaw, wide receivers Bruce Ellington, David Wilkins and DeAngelo Smith, offensive lineman Ronald Patrick and cornerback Victor Hampton participated Wednesday.
Several hundred South Carolina fans attended the event, cheering for the players during drills.
“It was good to be in front of the fans,” Quarles said. “I don’t think many of them knew what was going on. They were just yelling because they saw us going full speed.”
Former Philadelphia quarterback Donovan McNabb attended Wednesday’s event as an analyst for FoxSports1, and gave Clowney and his work ethic a vote of confidence.
“That work ethic deal, it is garbage to me,” McNabb said. “It’s just a smokescreen. If you’re a good coach, you won’t have to worry about that.”
Tedy Bruschi has played outside linebacker for Romeo Crennel, and he thinks Clowney can do the same. Bruschi attended pro day as an analyst for ESPN and interviewed Clowney after his workout.
“He’s a natural,” said Bruschi, a former New England Patriot. “We asked him if he prepared for those linebacker drills, and he said, ‘Eh, not really.’ And then to go out there and make those drops. What more do you want? He can play outside linebacker.”
Clowney said he would enjoy moving to linebacker in the NFL.
“I always told my teammates, if I could get a running start off the edge, it’d be easier to pass rush,” he said. “I can play any position on the field. I’m an athlete. Whatever you want me to play, I can be good at it. I have no problem dropping back and moving.”
If Clowney is selected No. 1 by the Houston Texans, he will know some other professional athletes in town. Clowney attended the Charlotte Bobcats game against the Houston Rockets in Charlotte last week and joined the Rockets in their locker room after the game.
“I always said I wanted to meet James Harden and Dwight Howard,” he said. “They have a great time in the locker room, and I was having a great time.”
Hampton and Quarles tried to improve the 40-yard dash times they posted at the NFL Combine, but the Gamecocks other combine participants – Clowney, Shaw and Ellington – skipped Wednesday’s 40 because they were satisfied with their time in Indianapolis.
“Had a great day,” Hampton said. “Just came out and did the best I could, try to work on my technique and get my 40 down, but I did everything I wanted to. Killed the drills, caught all the balls, did everything I wanted to and just enjoyed the experience.”
Former Gamecocks now in the NFL, such as Stephon Gilmore, Devin Taylor, D.J. Swearinger and Bryon Jerdieau, attended Wednesday’s workout.