Ex-pro scout on Gators in 2010 NFL Draft (Part II)

With just under a week to go before the 2010 NFL Draft, OGGOA sat down with former NFL scout Daniel Jeremiah of Move The Sticks for a second time pick his brain about departed Florida Gators players eligible to be selected from April 22-24. Jeremiah first spoke with us before the 2010 NFL Scouting Combine on Feb. 24 and 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 website, Jeremiah also offers comprehensive NFL scouting coverage on Twitter.

ADAM SILVERSTEIN: Thanks again for taking the time to speak with us. Things certainly seem to have been going fast for you over the last month or so. Tell us about what you will be doing with ESPN during the draft.
DANIEL JEREMIAH: I’m going to be in Bristol [ESPN’s headquarters] for the entire draft week. I will be helping provide analysis for both First Take and ESPNews.

AS: OK…let’s get into the Gators. In our first conversation, you had cornerback Joe Haden as a top ten pick who many would consider to be top three if he was 6’1” because of his speed, toughness and instincts. He ran slow at the combine but improved at Florida’s Pro Day. Some now see the Cleveland Browns passing on him at No. 7 overall (especially if they trade up) and him falling potentially as low as No. 14 to the Seattle Seahawks. What happened?
DJ: I think this is a very good draft class. When you have so many talented players to choose from, need becomes more of a factor. I can’t see him sliding past 14.

Read more of his thoughts the rest of the Florida Gators after the break!
Continue Reading » Ex-pro scout on Gators in 2010 NFL Draft (Part II)

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Spikes, Cunningham, James, DBs at Pro Day

Former Florida Gators defensive end Jermaine Cunningham, kick returner Brandon James and defensive backs Wondy Pierre-Louis and Markihe Anderson all participated in the team’s second Pro Day on Wednesday as linebacker Brandon Spikes looked on and showed his support. The Gainesville Sun‘s Robbie Andreu caught up with each player after their workout was completed though, as per usual, Spikes declined an interview request. Check out some notes and quotes (after the jump):
Continue Reading » Spikes, Cunningham, James, DBs at Pro Day

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Joe Haden has suitors lining up behind Browns

In all likelihood, the Cleveland Browns will have the first crack at selecting former Florida Gators cornerback Joe Haden in the 2010 NFL Draft. Positioned with the No. 7 overall pick, the Browns have been high on Haden for quite some time. The organization attended his Pro Day at Florida, met him afterward for a private workout and even flew up to Maryland to meet with him again in his home.

Haden, who is in Cleveland today visiting with the Browns according to the National Football Post, will likely have a few more trips to take before all is said and done on April 22.

Among his suitors are the Oakland Raiders (No. 8 overall), Jacksonville Jaguars (No. 10 overall), San Francisco 49ers (No. 13 overall) and Tennessee Titans (No. 16 overall). “Jaguars defensive coordinator Mel Tucker has talked at length with Haden and 49ers personnel had a meeting with Haden following the Gators’ Pro Day workout,” Aaron Wilson wrote.

Since running a lackluster 40-yard dash at the 2010 NFL Scouting Combine, some league scouts and draft analysts have questioned whether or not Haden will be selected as high as initially projected. However, Haden proved that his slow times were a fluke at Pro Day, sending his stock back up.

Haden will be in attendance at Radio City Music Hall in New York, NY for the NFL Draft.

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FOUR BITS: Cunningham, Pouncey, Wright, Tebow

1 » As OGGOA has reported twice previously, former Florida Gators defensive end Jermaine Cunningham hopes to turn some heads at the team’s second Pro Scout Day on Wed., April 7 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Speaking with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Cunningham said he feels “100 percent” and is optimistic about his future. “To me, [playing DE or linebacker] is all the same,” Cunningham said. “I see myself as a football player. As long as I get on the field, when the ball is snapped, I’m going for the person with the ball. I’m very comfortable with both [positions].” As far as his decision to attend Florida (being a Georgia native)? “I felt it went pretty good,” he said. “Coming out with two National Championship rings, two SEC championship rings and a college degree. It was more than I expected.” He has received interest from nearly 20 teams in the league and has a private workout scheduled with the St. Louis Rams.

2 » The Denver Post reports that former Gators center Maurkice Pouncey could very well end up a member of the Denver Broncos if head coach Josh McDaniels decides to address its shallow offensive line in the first round. “He’s one of the youngest players on the board – he won’t be 21 until July – so the upside is still plenty big,” Jeff Legwold writes. “It’s just a matter of whether the Broncos would want to use the 11th pick of the draft on a center, even one of Pouncey’s skill level.”

3 » Former Florida safety Major Wright has accepted an invitation to work out for the Miami Dolphins in South Florida on Friday. Wright, who has been steadily climbing draft boards after his respective performances at the 2010 NFL Scouting Combine and Pro Day, could be picked as high as the third round according to some scouts.

4 » Two more teams talking about quarterback Tim Tebow are the Minnesota Vikings and Philadelphia Eagles, both of whom plan to take a closer look at the former Heisman Trophy winner. Mike Wobschall, on the Vikings’ official Web site, believes the team would draft him with their second-round pick if he was still available. Sports Illustrated’s Peter King reports that the Eagles will “join the parade of teams working [Tebow] out and spending time with him” leading up to the 2010 NFL Draft.

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Cunningham the focus at second Florida Pro Day

The Florida Gators will host their second Pro Scout Day for football players who have decided to enter the 2010 NFL Draft on Wed., April 7 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Though more than 15 players – including quarterback Tim Tebow, linebacker Brandon Spikes, cornerback Joe Haden, defensive end Carlos Dunlap, center Maurkice Pouncey and tight end Aaron Hernandez – participated in the first Pro Day on March 17, only a handful will be present to work out for NFL team representatives this time.

Among those who will make themselves available for evaluation are defensive end Jermaine Cunningham, cornerback Wondy Pierre-Louis, kick returner Brandon James and linebacker Ryan Stamper.

Cunningham was unable to participate the first time around due to an injured shoulder, but teams are interested in taking a look at him in order to determine whether he would fit best as a 4-3 DE or an outside linebacker in the 3-4. At 6’3″ and 266 lbs., most teams seem to be leaning toward the latter.

FOX Sports reports that the New Orleans Saints, New York Jets, Detroit Lions and St. Louis Rams (among others) will be in attendance specifically to watch Cunningham’s workout. Cunningham’s shoulder “hasn’t dimmed the enthusiasm of teams who have seen the three-year starter’s film,” the report states.

The Swamp will once again be open and fans can enter through Gate 2. However, unless the University of Florida states otherwise, do not expect concession stands (or perhaps even restrooms) to be open or any other special things to be done on-site.

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FOUR BITS: Transfers, Shelley, Haden, Thompson

1 » Over the weekend, Jeremy Fowler of the Orlando Sentinel and OGGOA went back-and-forth about the potential transfers of Florida Gators basketball bench players guard Ray Shipman and center Kenny Kadji. Fowler caught up with their former AAU coach, Matt Ramker, who informed him that the duo is expected to remain with Florida. “They are happy at UF and are looking forward to next season,” Ramker said.

2 » Speaking with The Salt Lake Tribune, Shelley Meyer said her husband and Gators head coach Urban Meyer is “150 percent better.” Now that he is back at work, Meyer’s wife is keeping tabs on him in the same respect he stays on top of recruits. Sending him multiple texts ensuring that he is eating, exercising and resting, Shelley claims it is “part of my plan. I’m keeping an eye on him and I’m looking for signs. What happened to Urban was a huge wake-up call that he couldn’t go on like he was.”

3 » In a question-and-answer session with The Gainesville Sun, former Florida cornerback Joe Haden said he felt the pressure of running an improved 40-yard dash at Pro Day last week. Asked how important 40 times actually were, Haden agreed that they were overrated. “They don’t really measure how you run on the field during a game,” he said. “You may be running with someone who runs a 4.2, and you might not be able to run a 4.2, but if you can run with him and cover him, you’re OK. But it’s part of the process and I respect that.” Haden also admitted that he did not do much to help Meyer’s heart issues, playing an April Fool’s joke on him last season when he and former Gators safety Major Wright told their coach they planned to transfer.

4 » One of the biggest disappointments of the 2009 Florida football season was the lack of development of now-redshirt junior wide receiver Deonte Thompson. Though he failed to make much of an impact throughout the season, Thompson is confident he can turn it on in 2010 with new quarterback John Brantley. “I feel I had a good Sugar Bowl,” Thompson told the Sun. “I know now I’ve got to come out hard every day because I pretty much should be the No. 1 guy.”

Photo Credit: Willie J. Allen, Jr./St. Petersburg Times

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FOUR BITS: …on Gators set to enter the NFL Draft

1 » Numerous NFL analysts are questioning former Florida Gators defensive end Carlos Dunlap – not his athleticism or talent, simply his desire and leadership. “Bottom line is if you can get him to play hard every snap,” Mike Mayock of NFL Network told The Gainesville Sun. “You compound that by giving him a lot of money if you take him in the first round, which makes it even harder to get a kid to play every snap. I still think a team will take him in the first round, but trust me, there are a bunch of teams right now saying that they just don’t feel confident enough that his motor runs strong enough.”

ESPN’s Todd McShay, on the other hand, questions Dunlap’s leadership. “There’s a perception in the league right now that he’s more of a follower than a leader,” McShay said. “Ultimately, I still think he goes in the first round because he’s too athletic and too gifted physically. I hope he realizes what he has and that the light comes on and he surrounds himself with the right people, because he has a chance to be special. He can be a super player in the NFL if he dedicates himself to it.”

2 » Explaining why the league invited quarterback Tim Tebow to the 2010 NFL Draft is ESPN’s Adam Schefter, who calls the league “smart and shrewd.” “It’s inviting Tebow on the merits of what he has done and the merits of what he can do – for TV ratings,” Schefter explained. “The NFL has a ratings magnet built in for the second night of the draft, during Friday night prime time. Fans will be tuning in all Thursday night, all Friday night and even Saturday if he is still on the board, just to see where Tebow is going to go. Where Tebow will go, and when he will go, will be one of the biggest stories.”

More from Chad Henne on Tim Tebow and press conference videos of Joe Haden and Carlos Dunlap from Pro Day after the break!
Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: …on Gators set to enter the NFL Draft

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Pats, Browns, ‘Skins taking closer look at Tebow

Having now competed in the 2010 Senior Bowl, 2010 NFL Scouting Combine and his school’s Pro Day, the only things left on former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow’s plate before the 2010 NFL Draft are workouts and interviews with individual teams.

As of March 8, only the Buffalo Bills and Seattle Seahawks had arranged individual workouts with Tebow. However, the New England Patriots, Cleveland Browns and Washington Redskins can now be added to that list, according to SportingNews.

The Browns, which had their president, general manager and head coach in Gainesville for Florida’s Pro Day, are expected to draft Gators cornerback Joe Haden with their No. 7 overall selection on April 22. The team is also in need of a quarterback of the future with 35-year-old Jake Delhomme as their only legitimate starting option and possesses an early second-round pick.

One of the first teams to work out Florida players after their Pro Day every year, the Patriots – especially head coach Bill Belichick and team owner Robert Kraft – hold Gators head coach Urban Meyer and his players in high regard. In fact, the team also took a close look at tight end Aaron Hernandez and linebacker Brandon Spikes on Thursday. (Spikes has reportedly also met with the Pittsburgh Steelers and head coach Mike Tomlin.) Tebow would fit well in New England as a back-up who could sit comfortably behind Tom Brady for a few years.

The Redskins, which recently signed former Florida quarterback Rex Grossman to a free agent contract, are still looking for a starter with incumbent Jason Cambell seemingly always on the hot seat. Head coach Mike Shanahan is a former Gators offensive coordinator, and his son Kyle holds that same position under his father.

Photo Credit: Jimmy DeFlippo/Sports Illustrated

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