Breaking down Florida Gators ahead of 2016 NFL Draft

By Adam Silverstein
April 27, 2016
Breaking down Florida Gators ahead of 2016 NFL Draft

Image Credit: AP (Original)

Despite being incredibly busy during the week of the 2016 NFL Draft, longtime analyst Tony Pauline of sat down with for a wide-ranging look at the Florida Gators who could be selected Thursday-Saturday at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago.

Pauline evaluated most of Florida players available in the draft and even provided projections for each prospect who may be selected from April 28-30.

Cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III
Projection: Round 1, Picks 10-20
Analysis: “I think he’s overrated. I got hammered over the summer when I said he was overrated, and Keanu Neal was the most underrated player in the secondary. Hargreaves could be a mid first-round pick. He’s not 6-foot tall, which a lot of teams want those corners that are 6-foot tall. He’s tremendous in bump-and-run coverage. He’s very explosive. He fights to break up the pass. He’ll stay on a receiver’s hip down the field. Gets his head back around and locates the pass in the air, which is very important. He seems to struggle in zone. He seems to struggle backed off the line of scrimmage. You normally want your bump-and-run coverage guys to be a little bit bigger, your zone corners and backed off the line corners can be a little bit smaller. That may pose a problem for some teams. I don’t think he’s going to Tampa Bay as a lot of people project.”

Safety Keanu Neal
Projection: Round 1-2
Analysis: “I said he was overrated before the season even began. I don’t think he makes great highlight reel-type plays, but the fact is that he plays smart football. He’s a three-down safety. He’s not a guy that has to play in the box or downhill; he can play sideline-to-sideline. He can fit a variety of schemes. He could go late first round, otherwise I think he’s the first safety off the board within the first 10 picks of round two.”

Defensive lineman Jonathan Bullard
Projection: Round 1-2
Analysis: “He’s now entering a draft which is stacked with defensive tackles, so it’s bad timing for Bullard. I think he’s a first-round talent that may slip into the second round. He’s not a real big guy, but he’s explosive and real athletic. He’s a three-down defender, a solid run defender, very good pass rusher. He can make plays in space. You can use him in four-man fronts, you can potentially use him as a two-gap end in three-man fronts. He’s got a lot of versatility. I think he’s going to be underdrafted.”

Linebacker Antonio Morrison
Projection: Round 3-5
Analysis: “I don’t think there are character concerns anymore. He’s a good player, and he was highly rated coming into this season. The problem with him is not only size but growth limitations. I don’t think that Morrison is going to be able to grow into his body, so he’s basically a scheme-specific player. Because it’s a weak inside linebacker class, I think he could go on the second day. If teams don’t like his medicals that would be a big thing, though he did perform well at his Pro Day. Sometimes character concerns are a sign of immaturity, because I hear that this guy has worked really hard in the run up to the draft. He played well as a senior. He played well as a junior. He’s a good player. It’s not like he’s a total goofball. The injuries and the size limitations are the big concerns.”

Wide receiver Demarcus Robinson
Projection: Round 4-5
Analysis: “When you watch the game film and you look at his size … I said this before the combine and a lot of Florida fans, basically their heads exploded: If it wasn’t for character concerns and this guy was able to perform consistently on the field, he potentially could have been the first wide receiver drafted. His film is that good. He’s dominant. He’s strong. He’s quick. He runs faster than his 40 time. He’s got a lot going on, but then you have to factor in the off-the-field issues because he can’t stay away from the ganja, which is a problem. Those are legitimate concerns. He could go in the fourth round. He could go in the seventh round. He could go undrafted. I know he’s been living with his uncle in Chicago, and his uncle was trying to get him back on the straight and narrow. The fact is this: If he grows up and the light goes on between his ears, he has the potential to be a very good NFL receiver.”

Tight end Jake McGee
Projection: Round 6
Analysis: “The massive knee injury hurts. It depends on the medicals. He had a good year last year, also performed well at the Senior Bowl. He had a very good combine, too, performed well there. He’s got good size and has some growth potential. He’s got the ability to be a three-down player. What’s going to happen is teams are going to put the MRI film up on the light and the doctor will make a decision. ‘This guy could run an end route and his knee could basically collapse. He’s a medical fail.’ There are other teams that will say, ‘Hey, look, everything’s going to be alright. We have to watch it, he’s got to rehab properly and take care of it, but we can take a chance on this guy.’ We’re talking about something completely subjective like character concerns. He’s a solid athlete, ran faster than expected at the combine. It’s a matter of teaching him to play to that speed. The variable is the combine medical.”

Running back Kelvin Taylor
Projection: Round 6-7
Analysis: “He’s solid in all areas; he’s not great in any single area. I think he could potentially be a nice third-down back at the next level. The question is whether he gets drafted.”

Defensive back Brian Poole
Projection: Round 7-Undrafted
Analysis: “Very underrated. I like his game. Not a great athlete, but he’s a versatile guy you can line up throughout the secondary. If he gets drafted, it’s going to be late. I do think though, when all is said and done, he makes an NFL roster as a ninth defensive back and special teams player.”

Defensive end Alex McCalister
Projection: Undrafted free agent
Analysis: “He does have some character off the field issues, but I think they’re overshadowed by where he’s going to play at the next level? Is he a defensive end? Is he an outside linebacker? if he lines up at defensive end, he’s probably going to get slaughtered on running downs because of his build – he’s a tall, thin guy. Is he fast enough to be an outside linebacker? Is he just a situational pass rusher at 6-foot-6, 249 pounds, runs in the 4.7s? Very inconsistent in his game. He’s more of a developmental guy that’s got to grow into his body.”

Offensive lineman Trip Thurman
Projection: Undrafted free agent
Analysis: “Basically a camp guy. I don’t see him lasting too long. A marginally athletic, small-area blocker with not a lot of upside. He’ll get signed after the draft, but I’d be surprised to see him make it past the first round of cuts.”

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