Gators at the 2010 NFL Scouting Combine – Day 3

ONLY GATORS Get Out Alive will be covering the 10 former Florida Gators players who have been officially invited to participate in the 2010 NFL Scouting Combine (National Invitational Camp) in Indianapolis, IN, at Lucas Oil Stadium each day.

Day three of the 2010 NFL Scouting Combine featured the arrival of Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow and wide receivers Riley Cooper and Brandon James. Each was measured, completed exams, met with the media, underwent psychological tests and continued their team interviews. All three players arrived Thursday for registration, pre-exams, x-rays, orientation and the first round of interviews.

Tebow, Cooper and James, who will remain on the same schedule throughout the week, have a meeting with the NFLPA on Saturday along with more psychological tests and interviews. Sunday, they will complete the combine workout (timing, stations, skill drills).

Quarterback Tim Tebow (Group 05, QB19)
Height: 6’3″
Weight: 236 lbs.
Arm Length: 31 3/4 in.
Hand Size: 10 1/8 in.

Pre-Combine Overview: Probably the best college quarterback of all-time, Tebow comes into the combine with questions about his mechanics and ability to succeed in the NFL. He has undergone extensive work to change his throwing motion and footwork and has chosen not to throw over the weekend (though he will compete in other drills and exercises). Tebow has a strong arm, is quick in and out of the pocket and has a great football mind.
Strengths: Size, speed, athleticism, intelligence, competitive, productive, high-character
Weaknesses: Accuracy, release, mechanics

Wide receiver Riley Cooper (Group 04, WO12)
Height: 6’3″
Weight: 222 lbs.
Arm Length: 32 5/8 in.
Hand Size: 10 3/8 in.

Pre-Combine Overview: The top receiver on the Gators in 2009, Cooper was Tebow’s favorite target and wowed scouts with his size and skills at the 2010 Under Armour Senior Bowl. Has work to do in order to be an NFL WR, but scouts believe he has the capability of being molded to fit a system.
Strengths: Size, strength, athleticism, leaping ability, hands, intelligence, high-character
Weaknesses: Speed, explosion, separation, blocking

Wide receiver Brandon James (Group 04, WO19)
Height: 5’6″
Weight: 176 lbs.
Arm Length: 29 3/4 in.
Hand Size: 8 3/4 in.

Pre-Combine Overview: Excelling as a return specialist at Florida, James also played a little running back and wide receiver but is at a disadvantage because of his size. He has numerous qualities that may allow him to continue returning on the professional level.
Strengths: Speed, acceleration, vision, judgment, body control, elusiveness
Weaknesses: Height, strength, unpolished

Touching down in Indianapolis, IN, Friday were linebacker Brandon Spikes (Group 09, LB30) and defensive ends Carlos Dunlap (Group 07, DL13) and Jermaine Cunningham (Group 07, DL09). Cornerback Joe Haden (Group 10, DB20) and safety Major Wright (Group 11, DB58) will check in at Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday.

Read about each player’s day-to-day schedule in Indianapolis after the jump!
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Gators at the 2010 NFL Scouting Combine – Day 2

ONLY GATORS Get Out Alive will be covering the 10 former Florida Gators players who have been officially invited to participate in the 2010 NFL Scouting Combine (National Invitational Camp) in Indianapolis, IN, at Lucas Oil Stadium each day.

Day two of the 2010 NFL Scouting Combine was lackluster overall, as it featured only two Florida Gators – center Maurkice Pouncey and tight end Aaron Hernandez – getting measured, completing exams, meeting with the media, undergoing psychological tests and continuing their team interviews. Both players had arrived Wednesday for registration, pre-exams, x-rays, orientation and the first round of interviews.

Pouncey and Hernandez, who will remain on the same schedule throughout the week, have a meeting with the NFLPA on Friday along with additional psychological tests and interviews. Saturday, they will complete the combine workout (timing, stations, skill drills).

Center Maurkice Pouncey (Group 02, OL33)
Height: 6’4″
Weight: 304 lbs.
Arm Length: 32 1/2 in.
Hand Size: 10 in.

Pre-Combine Overview: Able to play both center and guard, Pouncey is one of the most versatile players at the combine. Expected to be the top center picked in the 2010 NFL Draft, he is big enough to take on nose tackles yet quick enough to face 4-3 defensive tackles, too.
Strengths: Size, quickness, versatility, awareness, balance, leverage
Weaknesses: Durability due to torn labrum surgery, finishing blocks

Tight end Aaron Hernandez (Group 03, TE13)
Height: 6’2″
Weight: 245 lbs.
Arm Length: 32 1/4 in.
Hand Size: 9 3/4 in.

Pre-Combine Overview: Considered undersized for his position, Hernandez is projected as a combo TE/H-back. He is athletic enough to catch passes and turn them into big gains but may experience problems against more physical defenders or while run-blocking.
Strengths: Athleticism, speed, hands, leaping ability
Weaknesses: Size, strength

Touching down in Indianapolis, IN, Thursday were quarterback Tim Tebow (Group 05, QB19) and wide receivers Riley Cooper (Group 04, WO12) and Brandon James (Group 04, WO19). Linebacker Brandon Spikes (Group 09, LB30), defensive end Carlos Dunlap (Group 07, DL13) and DE Jermaine Cunningham (Group 07, DL09) will check in at Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday, while cornerback Joe Haden (Group 10, DB20) and safety Major Wright (Group 11, DB58) will begin the process Sunday.

Read about each player’s day-to-day schedule in Indianapolis after the jump!
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TWO BITS: Tebow hurts recruiting, Dunlap update

1 » As OGGOA wrote earlier today, former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow has adjusted his throwing motion and will put it on display for NFL front offices at Florida’s Pro Day on March 17. In the Paul Finebaum model, Ray Melick of The Birmingham News cautions high school recruits that Tebow’s struggles should have big-time QB prospects shying away from the Gators. “There is a lesson here, however, for young quarterbacks who envision themselves having the chance to play in the NFL one day,” Melick contends. “Look around for a coach who runs an NFL-style offense, and coaches quarterbacks to play with NFL-style mechanics. […] If you were a young quarterback with NFL potential, would you want to play for [head coach Urban] Meyer right now?”

2 » The Orlando Sentinel’s Jeremy Fowler caught up with former Florida defensive end Carlos Dunlap’s father and asked him how his son has been progressing in workouts leading up to the 2010 NFL Scouting Combine. Asked if Dunlap, Jr. was ready to prove everyone wrong, his father replied emphatically. “That’s putting It mildly,” he said. “He knows that all his training has led to this moment, this week. He’ll be ready.” Fowler tells us Dunlap’s goals are to do 25 reps of 225-pounds on the bench press and run a 4.6-second 40-yard dash.

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Former pro scout on Gators in 2010 NFL Draft

With the 2010 NFL Scouting Combine coming up on Feb. 24 and the NFL Draft just over two months away, OGGOA sat down with former NFL scout Daniel Jeremiah of Move The Sticks to pick his brain about departed Florida Gators players participating in the combine and eligible to be selected from April 22-24. Jeremiah was completely candid in our discussion, pointing out qualities he liked in each player while explaining why certain Gators might fall further than some may expect. In addition to his Web site, Jeremiah also offers comprehensive NFL scouting coverage on Twitter (@MoveTheSticks) as well as with his brand new podcast (also available on iTunes).

ADAM SILVERSTEIN: Obviously scouting is about hitting and not missing on prospects. What qualities separate a successful NFL scout from the rest of the pack?
DANIEL JEREMIAH: Successful NFL scouts know what they are looking for. If you go into a school knowing what makes a good player and what fits your team, you are way ahead of the curve.

AS: Is there one player in particular who you were dead-right on over your six years in the league? Perhaps one you overrated going into the draft?
DJ: Several of both instances. I really felt that Reggie Bush would become the biggest playmaker in the NFL. He has been very good but not up to the level I thought he would be performing. I felt very strongly about Roddy White and DeMarcus Ware, even though they came out of lesser known programs. Both should have been top five picks.

AS: Let’s get this out of the way: I know you were able to get a good look at Tim Tebow both through your extensive tape watching as well as in-person at the Senior Bowl. Assuming for a second he is able to correct his release, what else do you believe will eventually hold him back from being a successful starting quarterback in the NFL?
DJ: He needs to improve his downfield accuracy. He is much better on lob throws (fades, corner routes, deep posts) than he is on drive throws. That is my second biggest concern after improving his release.

Read more of his thoughts on Tebow and the rest of the Gators after the break!
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Gator Bites for Wednesday, February 17

From time to time, OGGOA will come across a plethora of news and notes that we wish to share with our readers. In those instances, we present a special post: Gator Bites. Enjoy.

» Florida Gators associate athletics director Steve McClain spoke with The Florida Times-Union about head coach Urban Meyer’s leave of absence. He had this to say: “If you compare [what Meyer is doing now] to what he was usually doing, it was very different. He [has] made a lot of changes.”

» In a meeting with the media today, running backs coach Stan Drayton told reporters that redshirt sophomore Chris Rainey will be both a rusher and slot receiver next season. While this may seem like big news to some, it is important to realize that former kick returner Brandon James technically held this job last season and amassed a grand total of 24 catches for 215 yards. Obviously Rainey is more talented offensively, but the “change” in position is less important than an increase in production would be.

  • Expect redshirt junior RB Emmanuel Moody to see a big increase in carries.
  • Freshman RB Mike Gillislee could see more game action, too.

Plenty of additional news and notes are available after the break! Keep reading…
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Ten Gators invited to 2010 NFL Scouting Combine

ONLY GATORS Get Out Alive has learned that 10 former Florida Gators players have been officially invited to participate in the 2010 NFL Scouting Combine (National Invitational Camp) in Indianapolis, IN, at Lucas Oil Stadium.

The event, which is held for six days from Feb. 24 to March 2, 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 staff look on and evaluate each of them. It amounts to the final job interview these athletes will participate in before the 2010 NFL Draft commences on April 22.

The 10 former Gators student-athletes participating in the combine include:

Seniors
Quarterback Tim Tebow – Group: 05; Camp: QB19
Wide receiver Riley Cooper – Group: 04; Camp: WO12
Wide receiver Brandon James – Group: 04; Camp: WO19
Linebacker Brandon Spikes = Group: 09; Camp: LB30
Defensive end Jermaine Cunningham – Group: 07; Camp: DL09

Juniors
Cornerback Joe Haden – Group: 10; Camp: DB20
Defensive end Carlos Dunlap – Group: 07; Camp: DL13
Safety Major Wright – Group 11; Camp DB58
Tight end Aaron Hernandez – Group: 03; Camp: TE13
Center Maurkice Pouncey – Group: 02; Camp: OL33

Read about each player’s day-to-day schedule in Indianapolis after the jump!
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Dunlap pleads guilty to DUI, receives probation

Former Florida Gators defensive end Carlos Dunlap entered a plea of no contest to driving under the influence in a Gainesville courthouse Friday. Dunlap, who was arrested in the early morning of Dec. 1, was given the minimum mandatory sentence for a first-time DUI offender.

His license was suspended for six months, he must complete 50 hours of community service, serve a year of probation, pay approximately $1,000 in fines and court fees and participate in a victim’s impact panel, Spencer Mann with the State Attorney’s Office told The Gainesville Sun.

Dunlap, who was found asleep at the wheel of his vehicle while it was in-gear and stopped at a traffic light, was suspended by head coach Urban Meyer for the 2009 SEC Championship. Meyer, athletic director Jeremy Foley and University of Florida president Bernie Machen mutually agreed to reinstate him for the 2010 Sugar Bowl.

After the conclusion of the season, Dunlap, 20, decided to forgo his final year of college eligibility and declare for the 2010 NFL Draft. He is projected to be a first-round pick.

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FOUR BITS: NFL Combine, Strong poaches recruit

1 » Former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow, linebacker Ryan Stamper, defensive end Jermaine Cunningham and kick returner Brandon James have received invites to the 2010 NFL Combine. Juniors who have declared for the 2010 NFL Draft have yet to receive invitations, but fans can expect DE Carlos Dunlap, cornerback Joe Haden, tight end Aaron Hernandez and safety Major Wright to participate in the event from Feb. 24 to March 2 in Indianapolis, IN.

2 » Three-star athlete Marcus Smith (Columbus, GA) had an outstanding scholarship offer from Florida and was prepared to take it…that is until Louisville Cardinals head coach Charlie Strong came calling. “If Louisville would have never been in the mix, I would have probably went to Florida,” Smith told the Courier-Journal. “But I’m glad Louisville came into the mix. I like coach Strong a lot, and I really wanted to play for coach Strong. Louisville is a great program. He wants me to play quarterback, he established that during our talk this morning. To tell you the truth, I just want to play, so I am good wherever he wants me.” Upon taking his position with the Cardinals, Strong said he would not poach recruits the Gators were interested in unless they initiated contact.

3 » The Gators hosted their biggest remaining recruiting weekend the past few days and a number of both committed and undecided prospects came away impressed. Four-star running back Mack Brown (Lithonia, GA), who at one point was wavering after head coach Urban Meyer announced his leave of absence, solidified his recruitment after getting extensive time with new running backs coach Stan Drayton. Brown also told Adam Gorney of Rivals that Meyer may return as soon as March. “He looked pretty fine to me,” Brown said. “He looked healthy. I know he wants to coach, so I know he’s going to be there. He’s going to take a couple weeks off in February, but he’ll be back.” Fellow four-star recruits offensive tackle Chaz Green (Tampa, FL) and wide receiver Christian Green (Tampa, FL) raved to numerous sources about their respective experiences.

4 » Coming off of a heartbreaking loss to the No. 4 Tennessee Volunteers with just two seconds remaining in the game, the Florida women’s basketball team gained a bit of revenge by taking down the Mississippi State Bulldogs 55-52 on the road on Sunday afternoon at Humphrey Coliseum. Sophomore guard Trumae Lucas scored seven points off of the bench in the waning minutes while senior forward Sharielle Smith led the Gators with 13 points on 4-of-6 shooting while also grabbing seven boards.

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