Former Florida Gators defensive end Carlos Dunlap, a 2010 NFL Draft second-round pick, came to terms Wednesday on a four-year, $3.01 million contract with the Cincinnati Bengals. The deal includes a $1.22 million signing bonus, $1.779 million in guaranteed cash and an additional $649,000 available through incentives.
Dunlap, who the team had hoped to successfully sign before training camp, was selected by the Bengals 54th overall, just one slot after the New England Patriots picked defensive end/linebacker Jermaine Cunningham.
The Gators now have six of nine draft selections under contract with cornerback Joe Haden (Cleveland), center/guard Maurkice Pouncey (Pittsburgh) and quarterback Tim Tebow (Denver) still awaiting deals. Wide receiver David Nelson and running back/kick returner Brandon James have already agreed to undrafted free agent contracts with the Buffalo Bills and Indianapolis Colts, respectively.
1 » Cleveland Browns rookie cornerback Joe Haden wants to get paid, but he refuses to hold out through the start of training camp. According to Haden and his agent, Malik Shareef, the former Florida Gators star will be practicing with Cleveland right way. “We’ve been in contact with the Browns and expect to begin negotiating next week,” Shareef told the Cleveland Plain-Dealer. “Our main objective is to get Joe in camp on time so he can perform to the best of his abilities. A holdout would not be in anyone’s best interests.” Picked No. 7 overall in the 2010 NFL Draft, Haden points out that he could not agree now even if he wanted to. “I can’t sign yet,” he said via Twitter. “[Cleveland] hasn’t even sent an offer. It goes in order of [where you are picked].”
Other former Gators still awaiting NFL contracts include: Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper and New England Patriots linebackers Jermaine Cunningham and Brandon Spikes.
2 » One former Florida player who is already under contract is Buffalo Bills WR David Nelson, who signed with the team as an undrafted free agent back in April. Nelson, who is making strides with Buffalo and may impact the team as soon as the 2010 season, participated in a Christmas in July celebration at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo on Wednesday. “I have a favorite ornament that my grandma made me,” Nelson said. “She made one for all her grandkids. It’s a small figurine of me when I was about 6 years old. The figurine was how she viewed us. Mine has me with curly hair and holding a football. Making ornaments today with all the kids at the hospital was so much fun and really reminded me of my grandma making her ornaments by hand.”
1 » On Tuesday, OGGOAtweeted a picture of former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow handing a football off to a kid that got some of our female followers pretty riled up. It appears that picture was taken from a Broncos Bunch kids club event that Tebow participated in over the weekend. The Denver Broncos rookie threw passes to and took pictures with a bunch of children – not all of whom were Broncos fans. “Gator nation really is everywhere,” Tebow told CBS4 in Denver, CO. “It’s great to be out here and to play with these kids, to meet the parents and just be here in the stadium. It really is humbling to have people supporting me and to have fans. It really does mean a lot. […] It’s just an opportunity to come out here, throw balls, take some pictures, hang out with people, get a chance to make a kid smile or a family smile and – it’s more important than winning games, when you really look at it.”
When I sat down and thought about the best way to preview the 2010 NFL Draft from a Florida Gators perspective for OGGOA‘s readers, I realized trite things like mock drafts, destination predictions and the like are really a bunch of hogwash. At the end of the day, few things are certain when it comes to the NFL Draft – trades can occur at any moment and each team views its most pressing needs and what each player brings to the table differently than analysts and commentators do.
1 » Former Florida Gators cornerback Joe Haden has been announced as one of 12 players selected to be featured on ESPN‘s three-time Emmy Award-winning program Sport Science. All 12 special segments will air throughout the network’s coverage of the 2010 NFL Draft from April 22-24. Other big names who will be featured include Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and South Florida defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul.
2 » Palm Beach Autographs will host another University of Florida-themed signing session this weekend in Jacksonville, FL. Featured at the event will be Haden; center Maurkice Pouncey; wide receivers Riley Cooper, David Nelson and Brandon James; linebackers Brandon Spikes, Dustin Doe and Ryan Stamper; and cornerback Wondy Pierre-Louis. Autograph prices range from $10-$50, or you can buy a combo package for $145. For more information, check out their Web site.
OGGOA NOTE: » As we mentioned on Twitter earlier, redshrit senior wide receiver Carl Moore has returned to practice. More on this later in our spring practice notes post.
1 » ESPN analyst Mel Kiper, Jr. released his top five players by position today for the 2010 NFL Draft. Among 17 positions, Kiper has a Florida Gators player ranked in the top five in four of them with three listed at the top. Cornerback Joe Haden, center Maurkice Pouncey and tight end Aaron Hernandez are all ranked No. 1, respectively, while Kiper has quarterback Tim Tebow listed fifth below Notre Dame’s Jimmy Clausen, Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford, Texas’ Colt McCoy and Central Michigan’s Dan LeFevour. Conspicuous by his absence? Defensive end Carlos Dunlap.
2 » Searching for 10 off-the-radar prospects who have a legitimate shot at making an NFL roster and perhaps even be drafted in the later rounds, Sports Illustrated’s Don Banks lists Gators wide receiver David Nelson as his No. 2 overall player.
“He elevated his draft stock at the Gators pro day, running 4.57 in the 40, with a 38-inch vertical leap and a broad jump of 10 feet, four inches. Though Nelson got overshadowed at times among all of Florida’s playmakers, scouts are enamored with his 6-5 height and ability to use his 217 pounds to block and give his quarterback a big target. ‘He’s a tough kid and a competitive kid,’ one NFL scout told me. ‘He’s got rare height and he catches the ball well. He runs good routes and he’s just crafty. He’ll make someone’s team.’”
OGGOAwill continue updating this thread – last updated 4:45 p.m.
ESPN’s Todd McShay came away impressed with Tim Tebow:
Tim Tebow Version 2.0:
Florida Gators who participated:
» Quarterback Tim Tebow
- Crowd cheered all of his throws, gave him a lot of support. His dropping back improved considerably, as did his throwing motion (though it still has a little hitch according to some). Holding the ball higher. Got it out quick. Hit most passes, a few overthrows. Very accurate and hit receivers in stride. Tossed to Cooper, Hernandez and Nelson.
» Cornerback Joe Haden
– 4.39, 4.44 40-yard dashes (unconfirmed) [also hearing times from 4.42-4.46]
» Wide receiver Riley Cooper
» Defensive end Carlos Dunlap
- 22 reps of 225 lbs.
- 4.58 40-yard dash
- Improved his bench press, broad jump and position drills.
» Linebacker Brandon Spikes
- 5.0, 5.05 40-yard dashes (unconfirmed) [also heard 4.85]
» Center Maurkice Pouncey
- 25 reps of 225 lbs.
» Tight end Aaron Hernandez
– 4.61 40-yard dash (unconfirmed) [also heard 4.56]
- 30 reps of 225 lbs.
» Safety Major Wright
» Linebacker Ryan Stamper
» Linebacker Dustin Doe
» Cornerback Wondy Pierre-Louis
– 4.47 40-yard dash (unconfirmed)
» Wide receiver David Nelson
- [Heard both 4.4 and 4.54 40-yard dashes (unconfirmed)]
» Cornerback Markihe Anderson
» Wide receiver Brandon James (did not work out)
* Scouts may, individually, take 0.05 seconds off each 40-time due to the rain.
Others who participated:
» Former Gators linebacker Earl Everett looking for a job.
» Former Gators punter Eric Wilbur was kicking, hoping to impress.
» Former Gators H-back Eric Rutledge also worked out for scouts.
Current Florida Gators in attendance:
» Head coach Urban Meyer
» Quarterback John Brantley
» Safety Ahmad Black
Former Florida Gators in attendance:
» Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin
» Atlanta Falcons linebacker Mike Peterson
» San Diego Chargers defensive tackle Ian Scott
» Former quarterback Doug Johnson
» Louisville Cardinals head coach Charlie Strong
» Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Greg Mattison
NFL personnel in attendance:
* All 32 NFL teams were represented by 75-100 NFL personnel members.
» Cleveland Browns president Mike Holmgren
» Cleveland Browns general manager Tom Heckert
» Cleveland Browns head coach Eric Mangini
» Pittsburgh Steelers director of football operations Kevin Colbert
» Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin
» Carolina Panthers general manager Marty Hurney
» Carolina Panthers head coach John Fox
» New York Giants general manager Jerry Reese
» New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin
» Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik
» Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Raheim Morris
» Green Bay Packers general Ted Thompson
» Miami Dolphins defensive coordinator Mike Nolan
» Jacksonville Jaguars general manager Gene Smith
» Jacksonville Jaguars offensive line coach Andy Heck