Jaylen Watkins: Path to the 2014 NFL Draft – Showing out at the NFL Combine (Part I)

Through the 2014 NFL Draft, which will be held in New York, NY from May 8-10, Florida Gators defensive back Jaylen Watkins will be keeping you up-to-date on his Path to the Draft with exclusive blog entries here at OnlyGators.com.

Florida’s third-leading tackler with 52 takedowns last season, Watkins played safety for the Gators after being primarily used as a cornerback – the position he will play as a professional – during his first three years. Watkins started 28 of the 48 games in which he participated but saw the field for starter’s minutes in many of those other contests.

His sixth entry was submitted on Wednesday, one day after he returned to South Florida from Indianapolis, IN, where he participated in the 2014 NFL Combine. Watkins continued to impress and came away with some of the most noteworthy scores in the events in which he was physically able to participate.

Part II: 40-yard dash, free swag, departure

We flew out of here on Saturday morning and had a two-hour layover in Atlanta before we could make it to Indianapolis. A bunch of us met up in Atlanta – Marcus Roberson and I were both working out in South Florida but flew out at different times for some reason. Also on the flight with us was Dontae Johnson (North Carolina State), Tre Boston (North Carolina) and Jabari Price (North Carolina), who wound up being my roommate for the entire four-days at the combine.

Once we got there, the second you get there, you have a bunch of forms to sign and then you go to your room, put things down and go straight for medical testing. You get your blood checked, have a urine drug test and take a bunch of X-rays and MRIs if you have or had injuries. Because there are so many players and MRIs especially take a long time, there can be a lot of waiting around.

By the time we got out of there, we went to dinner and were able to relax for a little while. Afterward there are informal interviews with teams from 8-11 p.m., which was very similar to how they did it at the start of the Senior Bowl.

The next morning was an early wake-up because of the second drug test, which they start taking people at 4:15 a.m. But I got up at 3:30 a.m. so I could be the first in line and they let me take it at 4:05 a.m., so I was able to go back to my room afterward and get some sleep.

Continue Reading » Jaylen Watkins: Path to the 2014 NFL Draft – Showing out at the NFL Combine (Part I)

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Eagles ink Riley Cooper to five-year, $25M deal

Former Florida Gators wide receiver Riley Cooper agreed to a five-year, $25 million contract with the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday, locking up the team’s second-leading pass catcher before he was eligible to hit free agency.

Cooper, who was paid $2.11 million over the four years of his rookie deal, will earn $10 million guaranteed with the fifth year serving as a team option.

After reeling in 46 receptions for 680 yards and four scores during his first three NFL seasons, Cooper bested all those numbers in 2013 alone with 47 catches for 835 yards and eight touchdowns.

He was heavily featured in head coach Chip Kelly’s high-octane offense and was obviously an important piece that Philadelphia was worried about losing.

Just seven months ago, Cooper was embroiled in controversy when a video of him yelling an obscene racial slur at a bouncer who was working at a Kenny Chesney concert leaked online. He took full responsibility and apologized profusely but had the incident hanging over him throughout the offseason.

Thanks to support from his teammates, Cooper was able to overcome the obstacle and have a career year. Many believed the incident would keep another team from bringing him into their locker room, but the Eagles obviously believed there was enough interest to pay Cooper, the No. 159 overall pick in the fifth round of the 2010 NFL Draft, well in order to keep him from reaching free agency.

Photo Credit: Joe Camporeale, USA TODAY Sports

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Florida Gators at 2014 NFL Combine: Tuesday

For the fifth-straight year, OnlyGators.com continues our coverage of the eight former Florida Gators participating in the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine (National Invitational Camp) at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN.

The event, which is held for six days from Feb. 19-25, 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 2014 NFL Draft on May 8.

Defensive backs Loucheiz Purifoy* (Group: 11 | Camp: DB44), Marcus Roberson* (Group: 11 | Camp: DB48) and Jaylen Watkins (Group: 11 | Camp: DB58) concluded their combine experience on Tuesday with the full workout, though Watkins only participated in one event.

* Junior

Check out Tuesday’s results from the 2014 NFL Combine…after the break!
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Florida Gators at 2014 NFL Combine: Monday

For the fifth-straight year, OnlyGators.com continues our coverage of the eight former Florida Gators participating in the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine (National Invitational Camp) at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN.

The event, which is held for six days from Feb. 19-25, 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 2014 NFL Draft on May 8.

Defensive tackle Dominique Easley (Group: 7 | Camp: DL09) and linebacker Ronald Powell* (Group: 9 | Camp: LB23) concluded their combine experience on Monday with the full workout, though Powell is the only one who participated as Easley is still rehabilitating from his ACL injury.

Defensive backs Loucheiz Purifoy* (Group: 11 | Camp: DB44), Marcus Roberson* (Group: 11 | Camp: DB48) and Jaylen Watkins (Group: 11 | Camp: DB58) competed in the bench press on Monday while also undergoing psychological testing, attending an NFLPA meeting and doing team interviews. They will complete the combine with the full workout on Tuesday; all three players are expected to participate.

* Junior

Check out Monday’s results from the 2014 NFL Combine…after the break!
Continue Reading » Florida Gators at 2014 NFL Combine: Monday

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Jaylen Watkins – Path to NFL Draft: Improving

Through the 2014 NFL Draft, which will be held in New York, NY from May 8-10, Florida Gators defensive back Jaylen Watkins will be keeping you up-to-date on his Path to the Draft with exclusive blog entries here at OnlyGators.com.

Florida’s third-leading tackler with 52 takedowns last season, Watkins played safety for the Gators after being primarily used as a cornerback – the position he will play as a professional – during his first three years. Watkins started 28 of the 48 games in which he participated but saw the field for starter’s minutes in many of those other contests.

His fifth entry was submitted on Friday, one day before he flew out to Indianapolis, IN to compete in the 2014 NFL Combine. Watkins has been rehabilitating a sprained Achilles he suffered during practice for the 2014 Senior Bowl and hopes to be able to compete in the full combine workout on Tuesday.

Over the last week I’ve continued to spend a lot of time rehabbing from my Achilles sprain at the Senior Bowl. I’d say I’m probably about 90-95 percent right now. I’m completely over the pain, but the Achilles is still tight sometimes, so I’m working on stretching and getting the flexibility back in the ankle. The doctors have been working on it, getting it back to normal, so I’m confident that I’ll be OK.

I’ve seen a little more of [Dominique] Easley recently as he spends most of his days rehabbing and is still unable to do many of the workouts. He is progressively getting better and doing some work in the gym, making his upper body stronger while doing whatever the trainers will allow him to do. He’s taking everything pretty well, knows it’s a long process and that he’ll eventually be able to show off on the field.

We’re in final preparations for the combine now. I know that I will be running the 40-yard dash for sure, but I have not yet decided about all the other events.

I’m going to mostly be rehabbing the next couple days and while I’m there, so I’ll be able to figure out what else I’m going to do. My trainer [Tony Villani] and his staff are already there, so it will be nice that the people helping me out will be giving me the same treatment I’ve had the last few weeks. Like I said, running the 40 is a definite but everything else I probably won’t decide until Tuesday when I’m out on the field.

Continue Reading » Jaylen Watkins – Path to NFL Draft: Improving

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Florida Gators at 2014 NFL Combine: Saturday

For the fifth-straight year, OnlyGators.com continues our coverage of the eight former Florida Gators participating in the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine (National Invitational Camp) at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN.

The event, which is held for six days from Feb. 19-25, 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 2014 NFL Draft on May 8.

Offensive lineman Jon Halapio (Group: 1 | Camp: OL12), OL Jonotthan Harrison (Group: 1 | Camp: OL13) and tight end Trey Burton (Group: 3 | Camp: TE03) concluded their four days at the combine on Saturday by competing in the full workout (results below).

Defensive tackle Dominique Easley* (Group: 7 | Camp: DL09) and linebacker Ronald Powell** (Group: 9 | Camp: LB23), who both arrived at the combine on Friday, were officially measured, completed medical exams, met with the media and continued the interview process they began the previous day.

Check out Saturday’s results from the 2014 NFL Combine…after the break!
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Florida Gators at 2014 NFL Combine: Thursday

For the fifth-straight year, OnlyGators.com begins our coverage of the eight former Florida Gators participating in the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine (National Invitational Camp) at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN.

The event, which is held for six days from Feb. 19-25, 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 2014 NFL Draft on May 8.

Players began arriving on Wednesday but action did not begin until Thursday when offensive lineman Jon Halapio (Group: 1 | Camp: OL12), OL Jonotthan Harrison (Group: 1 | Camp: OL13) and tight end Trey Burton (Group: 3 | Camp: TE03) were officially measured, completed medical exams, met with the media and continued the interview process they began the previous day.

Halapio, Harrison and Burton will remain on mostly the same schedule throughout the week. The trio will continue interviews on Friday, take the Wonderlic and other psychological tests, and perform on the bench press. On Saturday, they will participate in the on-field workout before departing Indianapolis.

Check out Thursday’s results from the 2014 NFL Combine…after the break!
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FOUR BITS: Powell, Yeguete, gymnastics, Prather

1 » Florida Gators linebacker Ronald Powell has been listed as one of the “most controversial prospects” in the 2014 NFL Draft by new NFL Media draft analyst Nolan Nawrocki. “Had his tires pumped since high school — entitlement was an issue as a young player and his personality could rub some people the wrong way,” writes Nawrocki. “Has developmental value as a stand-up rush linebacker, but must dedicate himself to the craft and realize he’s no longer the big man on campus.” Deadspin.com points out that Nawrocki is a former Pro Football Weekly senior editor who is notoriously known as the analyst that said Cam Newton had a “fake smile” and considers himself a “straight shooter” by delivering harsh criticisms that may not always be accurate. In the case of Powell, he admitted at times over the last two seasons that he felt entitled as a freshman, but his Florida teammates and coaches have done nothing but rave about him since.

2 » Well-known is the relationship between Gators senior basketball forwards Will Yeguete and Patric Young with four-year-old Kaedyn Ballew, a cancer patient the two met in the hospital last year. Inside Gator Basketball, a weekly show hosted by Mick Hubert with head coach Billy Donovan as a guest, aired this package over the weekend. It takes a closer look at Yeguete’s relationship with Ballew.

Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Powell, Yeguete, gymnastics, Prather

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