Florida Gators at 2015 NFL Combine: Weekend

By Adam Silverstein
February 22, 2015

For the sixth-straight year, OnlyGators.com concludes our coverage of the nine former Florida Gators participating in the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine (National Invitational Camp) at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The event, which is held over a week from Feb. 17-23, consists of more than 300 players being put through a series of drills, tests and interviews while more than 600 NFL personnel in attendance (including coaching staffs, executives, player personnel and medical staffs) look on and evaluate each of them. It amounts to a major job interview for these athletes to participate in ahead of the start of the 2015 NFL Draft on April 30.

Running back Matt Jones (Group: 6 | Camp: RB25), linebacker Neiron Ball (Group: 9 | Camp: LB03), defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. (Group: 7 | Camp: DL20) and defensive tackle Leon Orr (Group: 8, Camp: DL36) were all scheduled to complete the combine workout over the weekend

Running back Matt Jones^ (Group: 6 | Camp: RB25)
Height: 6’2″ | Weight: 231 lbs.
Arm length: 32″ | Hand size: 8 5/8″

Bench press: 20 reps of 225 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.61 seconds
Three-cone drill: Did not participate
20-yard shuttle: 4.20 seconds
60-yard shuttle: Did not participate
Vertical jump: 31.5 inches
Broad jump: 112.0 inches

Overview: Jones is not expected to be drafted before day three, but he brings plenty to the table with size, strength and some quickness for his body type. The type of player who can be used on short-yardage and goal line packages as his floor in the NFL, Jones also has soft hands and would be a solid back-up at the next level. Though Jones never reached his full potential with the Gators, in large part due to injury, he did a very good – possibly overlooked – job in pass protection that should show up when scouts view his film.

Linebacker Neiron Ball (Group: 9 | Camp: LB03)
Height: 6’2″ | Weight: 236 lbs.
Arm length: 33 5/8″ | Hand size: 9 3/8″

Bench press: 22 reps of 225 pounds
Combine workout: Did not participate

Overview: Deciding not to participate in the workout in order to maximize his time recovering from microfracture surgery he had in November, Ball was unable to showcase himself physically to those in attendance at the combine. Where he likely succeeded was in the interview room, which comes as no surprise to those that follow Florida football. Ball’s athleticism, toughness, resiliency and coverage ability are all pluses that not only make him a solid linebacker but also a great special teams competitor. He rebounded from a rare hereditary condition that required brain surgery and forced him to miss a full season and got better and better before getting injured again. Chances are Ball will go undrafted, but he could sneak onto a team in the latter two rounds.

Defensive end Dante Fowler Jr.* (Group: 7 | Camp: DL20)
Height: 6’3″ | Weight: 261 lbs.
Arm length: 33 3/4″ | Hand size: 9 1/2″

Bench press: 19 reps of 225 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.60 seconds
Three-cone drill: 7.30 seconds
20-yard shuttle: 4.32 seconds
60-yard shuttle: 11.89 seconds
Vertical jump: 32.5 inches
Broad jump: 112.0 inches

Overview: Fowler impressed on the field. Fowler impressed off the field. In fact, he did everything one could do at the combine to improve his stock, which was already soaring prior to the event. Flashing tremendous athleticism, NFL size, speed, strength, character and smarts, Fowler is also extremely versatile. He can stand up or play with his hand in the dirt, rush off the end or tackle in the open field. His feet and hips are top-tier, and he also has great length to shed blockers and make his way to the quarterback. What Fowler needs to do is continue his development, which could make him one of the best players in the league after a few years if he fulfills his full potential. Fowler will definitely been drafted in the top half of the first round, maybe in the top 10 and potentially in the top five (perhaps even the top defender).

Extras: Fowler ran his 40-yard dash in a gold watch and leopard cleats.



Notes: “I want to be that kind of guy that can play in this league that I can turn a team and a defense around,” Fowler said during his media availability. “At the same time, just try to be that guy who can help out in the community and try to be the face of that team one day. … I play anywhere – I can play some linebacker to D-end to edge rusher. I can do a lot for team. I create a lot of problems for the offense and really just stressing coordinators out.” As far as his pitch to those evaluating him? “I want them to know one, I’m a coach-able guy,” Fowler said. “Two, I’m a team player. Three, they know I’m going to fit for their team. I want to be that type of guy that can come in and play, that can turn the team around and turn the defense around at the same time.” He also added that his film speaks for itself, now all he needs to do is get to know those interested in potentially drafting him.

Defensive tackle Leon Orr (Group: 8 | Camp: DL36)
Height: 6’5″ | Weight: 323 lbs.
Arm length: 34 1/8″ | Hand size: 9 3/8″

Bench press: Did not participate
40-yard dash: 5.16 seconds
Three-cone drill: 8.26 seconds
20-yard shuttle: 4.90 seconds
60-yard shuttle: Did not participate
Vertical jump: 28.0 inches
Broad jump: 100.0 inches

Overview: Character was a concern for Orr entering the combine, and anonymous scouts have told outlets that he was less than direct when answering why he decided to quit on Florida ahead of the Vanderbilt game. On the field, inconsistency was a huge issue for Orr; he never truly locked down a starting job with the Gators despite being in the program for four years. All that being said, he still received a combine invite in large part due to his athleticism and ability to play multiple roles as an interior defensive lineman. He is quick and relatively strong, too. Whether he gets drafted remains to be seen, but the multiple concerns will likely keep it from being ahead of the fifth round.

Extras: Orr really struggled with his 40-yard dash (Watch) but at least it was not as bad as Trenton Brown’s vertical jump (Watch).

Notes: Orr is glad his dismissal from the Gators did not affect his being invited to the NFL Combine, telling reporters including Justin Felder of FOX 11 that the way that incident transpired was “a big regret” for him. “The biggest thing for me is to try to move on, try to make success out of my mistakes. You live life to make mistakes and I made a big mistake. I’m just trying to make up by becoming a better person and a better man,” he said. “It was a big miscommunication between me and the coaching staff. It kind of ended the way it ended, the wrong way. Just trying to move on from it, become a better player from it and learn more about professionalism and accountability.”

DEPARTED PARTICIPANTS

Click here for measurements, workout results, notes and quotes on: guard Trenton Brown (Group: 1 | Camp: OL104), punter Kyle Christy (Group: 1 | Camp: PK03), center Max Garcia (Group: 1 | Camp: OL20) and tackles Chaz Green (Group: 2 | Camp: OL25) and D.J. Humphries* (Group: 2 | Camp: OL31).

^ Redshirt junior | * Junior

2 Comments

  1. Michael Jones says:

    Dante Fowler ran a faster 40 than Matt Jones, even though he is 30 pounds and 1 gold watch (wth?) heavier. What a beast.

  2. Gatoralum88 says:

    Orr preparing to run his 40 was bizarre…as if he’d never seen anyone run one before.

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