Gators at the 2010 NFL Scouting Combine – Day 5

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 five of the 2010 NFL Scouting Combine featured the arrivals of Florida Gators cornerback Joe Haden and safety Major Wright. Each was measured, completed exams, met with the media, underwent psychological tests and continued their team interviews. Both players arrived Saturday for registration, pre-exams, x-rays, orientation and the first round of interviews.

Haden and Wright, who will remain on the same schedule throughout the week, have a meeting with the NFLPA on Monday along with more psychological tests and interviews. Tuesday, they will complete the combine workout (timing, stations, skill drills).

Monday, linebacker Brandon Spikes (Group 09, LB30) and defensive ends Carlos Dunlap (Group 07, DL13) and Jermaine Cunningham (Group 07, DL09) will complete the combine workout. Spikes does not plan to participate in the 40-yard dash.

Cornerback Joe Haden (Group 10, DB20)
Height: 5’11″
Weight: 193 lbs.
Arm Length: 32 3/4 in.
Hand Size: 9 1/2 in.

Pre-Combine Overview: One of the best cornerbacks that has ever played for Florida, Haden possesses a great combination of athleticism, size and strength, though most scouts would prefer he be a few inches taller. Agile and quick, he maintains proper body positioning and is balanced no matter where the ball is thrown. Haden is also solid against the run and covers a variety of routes well with top-end ball skills. However, his reaction time has room for improvement.
Strengths: Size, strength, athleticism, speed, competative, productive, durable, instinctive
Weaknesses: Height, reaction time

Safety Major Wright (Group 11, DB58)
Height: 5’11″
Weight: 206 lbs.
Arm Length: 31 in.
Hand Size: 9 3/4 in.

Pre-Combine Overview: Though many scouts believe he came out too early, Wright has solid size and strength and is a ferocious hitter. He is very instinctive and excels at open-field tackling with his physicality and catch-up speed. Wright has shown inconsistencies in zone coverage and struggles with shedding blockers at times.
Strengths: Size, strength, tough, instinctive, productive, durable
Weaknesses: Coverage, agility, blocking

Quarterback Tim Tebow and wide receivers Riley Cooper and Brandon James competed in the workout Sunday; however, Tebow was one of 15 quarterbacks who did not to throw. Instead, he will toss footballs at Florida’s Pro Day on March 17.

Quarterback Tim Tebow (Group 05, QB19)
40-yard dash: 4.72
Vertical jump: 38.5 in.
Broad jump: 9 ft. 7 in.
Three-cone drill: 6.66 sec.
20-yard shuttle: 4.17 sec.
60-yard shuttle: 11.27 sec.
Bench press: N/A
Measurements Day 3

Wide receiver Riley Cooper (Group 04, WO12)
40-yard dash: 4.52
Bench press, Vertical jump, broad jump, three-cone drill: N/A
Measurements Day 3

Wide receiver Brandon James (Group 04, WO19)
40-yard dash, vertical jump, broad jump, three-cone drill: N/A
Bench press: 14 reps of 225 lbs.
Measurements Day 3

All 10 Gators have now touched down in Indianapolis, IN, and checked into Lucas Oil Stadium. The combine ends on Tuesday, though center Maurkice Pouncey and tight end Aaron Hernandez completed their duties 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 4

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 four of the 2010 NFL Scouting Combine featured the arrival of Florida Gators linebacker Brandon Spikes and defensive ends Carlos Dunlap and Jermaine Cunningham. Each was measured, completed exams, met with the media, underwent psychological tests and continued their team interviews. All three players arrived Friday for registration, pre-exams, x-rays, orientation and the first round of interviews.

Spikes, Dunlap and Cunningham, who will remain on the same schedule throughout the week, have a meeting with the NFLPA on Sunday along with more psychological tests and interviews. Monday, they will complete the workout (timing, stations, skill drills).

Sunday, quarterback Tim Tebow (Group 05, QB19) and wide receivers Riley Cooper (Group 04, WO12) and Brandon James (Group 04, WO19) will complete the combine workout. However, Tebow (and many other quarterbacks) will not throw.

Linebacker Brandon Spikes (Group 09, LB30)
Height: 6’3″
Weight: 249 lbs.
Arm Length: 33 3/8 in.
Hand Size: 10 in.

Pre-Combine Overview: The leader of the Gators’ defense the last two seasons, Spikes is bring, strong and physical. He was hampered by a variety of injuries including an Achilles in 2009 and was suspended for one game because of an eye gouge. Spikes is great against the run inside and is quick enough to make open field tackles with his arms, though he is not fast. He is strong enough to get by blockers, uses his instincts to track down the ball but has some difficulties in coverage.
Strengths: Size, strength, tough, competitive, productive, athletic, instinctive
Weaknesses: Character, emotions, speed, coverage, blitzing

Defensive end Carlos Dunlap (Group 07, DL13)
Height: 6’6″
Weight: 277 lbs.
Arm Length: 34 5/8 in.
Hand Size: 10 in.

Pre-Combine Overview: Large and quick enough to play defensive end in a 4-3 or 3-4, Dunlap excels against the run but is also capable of rushing the quarterback. Many point inconsistencies in regards to his motor, footwork and technique, but he is naturally athletic and powerful with long arms and solid awareness of his position on the field.
Strengths: Size, strength, speed, power, hands, penetration
Weaknesses: Character, work ethic, other inconsistencies

Defensive end Jermaine Cunningham (Group 07, DL09)
Height: 6’3″
Weight: 266 lbs.
Arm Length: 33 3/4 in.
Hand Size: 10 3/8 in.

Pre-Combine Overview: Though he did not receive the accolades, Cunningham was one of Florida’s best defenders in 2009. He is quick, agile and athletic but not overtly fast. Cunningham has been projected as both a defensive end and outside linebacker but must develop as a pass-rusher. His motor and work ethic make up for a lack of bulk.
Strengths: Athletic, agile, productive, quick, durable, tough
Weaknesses: Instincts, size, strength, power

Center Maurkice Pouncey and tight end Aaron Hernandez (Group 03, TE13) were scheduled to compete in the workout Saturday; however, each encountered difficulties with injuries. Pouncey skipped the bench press while Hernandez decided to skip the entire combine workout, which he will make up at Florida’s Pro Day on March 17.

Center Maurkice Pouncey (Group 07, DL09)
40-yard dash: 5.23
Broad jump: 7 ft. 11 in.
Vertical jump, 3-cone drill, shuttle run, kick-slide, bench press: N/A
Measurements Day 3

Touching down in Indianapolis, IN, and checking into Lucas Oil Stadium Saturday were cornerback Joe Haden (Group 10, DB20) and safety Major Wright. They will take their measurements Sunday.

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 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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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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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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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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TWO BITS: Traffic issues, Dunkley’s decision

1 » Jeremy Fowler of the Orlando Sentinel put together an excellent investigative piece on traffic citations and arrests accrued by the Florida Gators football team from 2006-09. In total, 251 citations were handed out including 21 misdemeanors/felonies. Twelve different Gators have acquired seven or more tickets with senior defensive end Jermaine Cunningham leading the pack with 14. “The number of tickets per college student is not an exact science,” Fowler contends, “but research indicates UF football players get pulled over at least twice the average amount for college-aged males in the country.” Florida players average 2.61 tickets each over their career while a normal student is given less than one, according to the University Police Department.

2 » Four-star wide receiver recruit Chris Dunkley (Pahokee, FL) has announced plans to make his college commitment official on Jan. 9 at the Under Armour All-American Game. Considered a heavy Florida lean, Dunkley recently cast some doubt on that assumption by saying that the Alabama Crimson Tide remain a contender for his services. Dunkley is believed to be the Gators’ No. 1 offensive recruiting target.

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