Round 5 – No. 159
Chris Rainey, RB
Height: 5’8″ – Weight: 180 lbs.
Age: 24 – Class: Senior
Arguably the Florida Gators’ most valuable offensive starter in 2011 and one of the most naturally explosive players in team history, running back Chris Rainey was selected Friday afternoon by the Pittsburgh Steelers with the 24th pick in the fifth round (No. 159 overall) of the 2012 NFL Draft.
Chosen later in the process due to concerns about his size (5’8” 180 lbs.) and durability, Rainey has proven over his five-year college career that he can be a major playmaker when used correctly and provided with an opportunity.
He posted the fastest 20-yard shuttle (3.93 seconds), 60-yard shuttle (11.06) and three-cone drill (6.50) times out of the entire field at the 2012 NFL Scouting Combine and also finished with the second-fastest time in the 40-yard dash at 4.45 seconds.
“Chris Rainey is an exciting player,” general manager Kevin Colbert said after making the selection. “He is a small guy but when you watch him run against SEC competition, he was really impressive. He doesn’t run people over but week-in and week-out the kid showed up in probably one of the toughest conferences in the country as a running back. In addition to that, he can do punt returns and kick returns.”
“Chris is a guy that we’re real excited to bring into the mix,” offensive coordinator Todd Haley added. “I think he is a very versatile player that is obviously fast and explosive. He can catch the ball, he can run with it and he can return it. That’s a commodity and we’re really excited to bring him aboard and work with him and put him into the mix.”
Rainey is the first Florida running back to be drafted since DeShawn Wynn was picked with the No. 228 overall selection in the seventh round by Green Bay in 2007. He is the third Gators player to be selected by Pittsburgh in as many years following in the footsteps of center Maurkice Pouncey (2010) and tackle Marcus Gilbert (2011).
He will now join his two former teammates on the Steelers and is the 24th Florida player selected all-time by the franchise (most of any team in the league.
The Gators have had multiple players picked in the draft 32 years in a row.
ADDITIONAL DRAFT CONTENT
» Rainey Conference Call (audio)
» Haley Press Conference on Rainey (video)
» Colbert on if there were any character concerns with Rainey: “Chris Rainey, everybody knows about the texting situation and we were well aware of it as well. We had some unique background on this kid because of his relationship with the Pouncey family. Knowing Maurkice’s mother and father, for them to take a kid in and provide him a home in high school said a lot to us. Those people are great folks they provided a great home for their own children. For them to endorse this kid by letting him live with them for part of his high school career while he went to Lakeland High School as the Pouncey brothers did. It said something to us. Of course Maurkice spoke highly of him as well, but he is a teammate and a friend, so we took that with a grain-of-salt even though we trust his opinion. When his family reached out to provide this kid with an opportunity and he takes that opportunity to go on and graduate, that says something to us.”