The SEC has been a breeding ground for future NFL talent in recent years, and the 2013 Florida Gators draft class is no exception. This class is headlined by juniors Sharrif Floyd and Matt Elam who possess 1st round potential, and it also includes 10 seniors and 2 other underclassmen. Florida held its pro day Tuesday morning despite the rainy conditions, and all 32 NFL teams had scouts in attendance. Even though the NFL scouting combine helped a lot of Gators get noticed, in all kinds of weather, their pro day was better.
Jon Bostic (ILB, 6-foot-1/245 lbs): Bostic didn’t have much left to prove at Florida’s pro day after a very good combine one month ago. He was timed at 4.50 in the 40-yard dash, but he only participated in on-the-field drills after that. Bostic did a nice job of demonstrating the control of power he has in his lower body. Most scouts expected him to run a 4.8, which is something he chuckled at in post-workout interviews. He was also able to show lateral quickness as well as good hands during position drills. Scouts think Bostic has the football intelligence to play inside or outside as he’s projected to for second or third round.
Jelani Jenkins (OLB, 6-feet/245 lbs): Jenkins had the most to prove going into Florida’s pro day, and “prove” is exactly what he did. His talent to date was unclear due to an injury-plagued season. In 2012, he missed games due to a broken thumb, hamstring injury and a broken foot in the last regular season game that kept him out of the Sugar Bowl. He ran a 4.78 in the 40-yard dash, but quickly showed his talents don’t rely on straightaway speed in the position drills that followed. Jenkins looked physically impressive and demonstrated it with quick change-of-direction speed. He received a lot of extra attention after his workout and has private workouts set up with Kansas City, Miami and Carolina. He’s currently projected as a 4th-5th round pick.
Omar Hunter (DT, 6-feet/313 lbs): Hunter was not invited to the scouting combine last month, so this was his first chance to stand out. He was clocked in the low 5s in the 40-yard dash, but put up good numbers in the cone drills. Hunter displayed quick feet and hands during the lineman exercises, and he matched that quickness with strength by benching 28 reps. He’s set up interviews with Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Washington, Houston and New Orleans. At the moment, he’s projected to be 6th round or to go undrafted.
Earl Okine (DE, 6-foot-6/287 lbs): Okine is definitely an “under the radar” guy from the current Florida draft class. He was able to run a sub-5 in the 40-yard dash and stayed step-for-step in quickness with Hunter. He is unknown by most scouts, but it appeared he had an encouraging workout.
Matt Elam (SS, 5-foot-9/189 lbs): Elam stood on his combine 40-time of 4.54, but he fully participated in on-the-field drills. There’s been some criticism by scouts and NFL gurus about Elam’s size, but he hopes to excel in every other area in order to make up for his lack in height. He displayed a quick back pedal, incredible change-of-direction acceleration and didn’t drop a single pass throughout all of the drills. Some projections have him going as early as the first round.
Josh Evans (FS, 6-foot-1/207 lbs): Evans is a sleeper pick around the league since not many NFL draft analysts are talking about him. He improved his 40-time from a 4.58 at the combine to a 4.48 Tuesday. Unfortunately for Evans, there are no tackling drills during the combine or pro day, which is where many would argue is where he thrives as he led the Gators in tackles in 2012. The safety position comes very natural to him, and he displayed that with his pursuit angles during drills. Some projections have him going as early as the third round, but most have Evan projected in the 4th-5th.
Did Not Participate:
Sharrif Floyd (DT, 6-foot-3/297 lbs): Floyd sat out Tuesday morning as he’s recovering from an ankle injury he suffered at the combine. He said that he rolled it during a drill, but it’s nothing serious. Along with a few others, he’ll participate in a private workout in Gainesville on March 22. He’s still a top 3-5 pick.
Lerentee McCray (OLB, 6-foot-2/250 lbs): McCray did not participate in any workouts Tuesday because of a shoulder injury. He will join Floyd in a private workout March 22. Depending on his workout, McCray could go anywhere from 4th-7th round.
Mike Gillislee (RB, 5-foot-11/208 lbs): Gillislee didn’t stand out as much as scouts would have hoped, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Those who watched him thrive this season know his game isn’t about straightaway speed. He was able to show scouts his natural catching ability in the backfield, and that’s something that will separate him from the rest of the RB class. He’s not an every-down back, but he’ll be a great reserve RB in the NFL if a team can utilize his skills. So far, Gilly has private workouts set up with Atlanta and St. Louis. At this point, his ceiling is a 3rd round pick.
Jordan Reed (TE, 6-foot-2/235 lbs): Reed’s action was limited Tuesday because of a bruised bone in his knee. He didn’t participate in any timed drills, but he did in receiving drills. He made the most of his field time with a couple of pretty one-handed grabs as well as a good sense for the ball in the air. He still has to prove he can consistently block to be a full-time TE at the next level. He’ll finish his workout March 22, and based off his performance today, he won’t do anything to hinder his 3rd round projection.
Xavier Nixon (OT, 6-foot-6/320 lbs): Nixon’s shoulder injury didn’t allow him to fully participate but, he was able to preform in some agility drills. He’s an athletic tackle, but he didn’t show a lot of consistency in 2012. He’ll finish out the group to workout March 22, where he needs to show he can block upright on a consistent basis.
Frankie Hammond (WR, 6-foot-0/185 lbs): Hammond was able to run a 4.45 in the 40-yard dash on his second attempt, which was key for him as he dropped a few easy passes in the early drills, but showed poise as he became comfortable on his home field. Unfortunately, many NFL draft gurus don’t see Hammond moving up the board in such a deep WR class, especially with his limited numbers this season (22 catches all year, never catching more than 3 in one game).
Omarius Hines (WR, 6-feet/215 lbs): Hines is another prospect who isn’t high on many lists from NFL scouts, but many feel he did enough to get noticed during his drills. Hines has the receiving, running, and blocking ability to play TE, RB or WR. He was clocked around a 4.55 in the 40-yard dash and looked quicker than expected in the cone drills. He also showed lower body explosiveness. Hines’ low statistics were the victim of a diverse Florida offense.
The NFL Draft for 2013 begins Thursday, April 25, 2013, and ends the following Saturday.