Evaluating Florida Gators ahead of 2015 NFL Draft

By Adam Silverstein
April 30, 2015

Despite being incredibly busy during the week of the 2015 NFL Draft, longtime analyst Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net sat down with OnlyGators.com on Sunday afternoon 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 the 22 Florida players available in the draft and even provided projections for each prospect including many who may not be selected from April 30-May 2 but rather picked up as undrafted free agents.

“The talent Florida is showcasing in this draft is a bit top-heavy but there are plenty of players who could make NFL rosters and succeed in the league, which really points to how bad the coaching and quarterback play was in Gainesville,” Pauline said of the overall crop of prospects. “I think the Gators have a solid class, and the fans that wanted the coach fired, this just adds fuel to their argument.”

Defensive end Dante Fowler Jr.
Projection: Round 1, Picks 3-6
Analysis: “He’s a top-six player, likely to Washington, maybe to the Jets, possibly to Jacksonville. He’s a great pass rusher; he’s a terrific athlete. He’s an intense, very explosive and sudden player. I like the fact that even though he is undersized, he was never overwhelmed at the point of attack. He struggled against the run at times but when you’re a shorter, smaller defensive end, that’s going to happen. I think he’ll be fine as a 3-4 outside linebacker, maybe a one-gap end, although he’s going to have to learn to protect himself better and to defend the run at the next level. I love his intensity. He’s not just a guy who is a natural-ability guy. He got by on natural ability but also never stopped coming.”

Offensive tackle D.J. Humphries
Projection: Round 1, Picks 22-32
Analysis: “He’s one of the most natural left tackles in the draft and left tackle is a priority position on draft day, which is why Humphries is being projected to go in the first round. Humphries is a pass blocking left tackle and has the potential to be a good one. He’s long, he’s athletic, he’s got good footwork, doesn’t have a big body of work and wasn’t consistent, but right now he’s the type of guy that’s multi-schemed. You can put him in a traditional offense, use him in a Denver Broncos-like offense where they want their tackles to get out in the second level and block on the move. He’s a guy who is a solid prospect right now and could be a very good player two or three years down the road.”

Offensive lineman Max Garcia
Projection: Round 4
Analysis: “Garcia is an underrated guy who is going to go much higher than people expect. I could see him going in the fourth round as a center or guard. Not really big, not really athletic, not really dominant but just smart and tough and does everything very well. He’s good at the line of scrimmage, a solid position blocker, squares up the defenders and seals them from the action, can get out to the second level and knock linebackers from the play.”

Running back Matt Jones
Projection: Rounds 4-5
Analysis: “I like him a lot. I think he’s underrated. I think he’s going to be a steal in the fourth or fifth round. He’s a bigger back with good short-area quickness. He doesn’t just run over people; he can basically side step them and make them miss, avoid piles. He doesn’t have great perimeter speed, but he can get around the tackle. Jones is also a terrific pass catcher out of the backfield. I like his total game. He’s probably a little bit slower than I hoped to see at the combine, but at 220 pounds or more, he’s going to be one of those running backs in a strong running back draft that is going to surprise people at the next level. If there was a bigger body of work – or if there weren’t as many good backs in the draft – he would probably go a round or two higher.”

Offensive lineman Chaz Green
Projection: Rounds 4-7
Analysis: “I like Chaz Green. He’s versatile. I watched him as a sophomore and saw that he had something special to his game. He’s athletic, he’s explosive, he’s good at the line of scrimmage, he’s terrific in pass protection, he’s outstanding blocking in motion and quick out to the second level. I think he’s going to be a guard at the next level. Obviously durability and consistency are concerns because he was not able to stay fully healthy, and when he did stay healthy, he wasn’t able to consistently play at a high level. If he’s able to iron that out and get that figured out, I think he’s got starting potential as a guard in a zone scheme. I’ve heard third or fourth round for Green, but I think he’s more of a sixth rounder.”

Linebacker Neiron Ball
Projection: Rounds 5-6
Analysis: “He’ll be a late-round pick. He’s your prototypical weakside, 4-3 outside linebacker. He’s not big, not forceful but very effective in space. Ball can get out in the flat and make plays on the screen, can cover running backs and tight ends on passing downs. The problem is, as the tight ends become 6-foot-4 and 6-foot-5, all of a sudden they become a mismatch against these smaller linebackers. I like Ball. The fact that he ran so well six months after microfracture surgery says a lot about him. He’s an athletic guy, it’s just that he’s scheme specific.”

Defensive tackle Leon Orr
Projection: Rounds 6-7
Analysis: “I like Leon Orr … when he’s on the field and on his game. He’s explosive, he’s a solid interior player, potentially a three-technique tackle. But, you know, teams are going to be concerned about how he left in a cloud of uncertainty with a temper tantrum for not being handed a starting job back. That’s not good, no matter what he tries to say after the fact.”

Defensive tackle Darious Cummings
Projection: Round 7 or undrafted free agent
Analysis: “I like Cummings, he’s definitely underrated. I don’t think he’s going to be drafted though he is worthy of a draft pick. He’s a guy that could be a very good fourth defensive tackle, rotational guy in a four-man front.”

Offensive lineman Trenton Brown
Projection: Round 7 or undrafted free agent
Analysis: “He’s a size prospect. I know people say, ‘Well, he can windmill dunk.’ Big f—ing deal. That doesn’t happen on the football field. He’s got great size and he can overwhelm opponents once he gets his hands on them, but he shows a lot of stiffness and doesn’t have great footwork. He’s going to have to get in better shape. If he does get drafted, it will be in the seventh round. I don’t know if he can make an active roster; he’s more of a practice squad player who you try to slowly bring along and turn into a capable right tackle down the road.”

Wide receiver Andre Debose
Projection: Round 7 or undrafted free agent
Analysis: “He’s a better athlete than he is a football player. I kept expecting to see something from him, but he never really stepped it up. He’s not going to get drafted but will probably get brought into a training camp as a slot receiver and return specialist.”

Fullback Hunter Joyer
Projection: Round 7 or undrafted free agent
Analysis: “Florida changing its offense was really a disservice to him because Joyer is an athletic, capable fullback. I had him draftable up until the last minute. Ultimately, I do not think he gets drafted, but he’s one of those guys who could definitely surprise in camp and make a 53-man roster. Early in his career, he showed that he has legitimate NFL skill at the position – he can catch the ball, he’s a good blocker and a good athlete.”

Punter Kyle Christy
Projection: Undrafted free agent
Analysis: “I don’t have Christy as a draftable guy. Of course, there are only a few kickers and punters that ever go in any given draft, so that’s not a huge knock on him. He should be able to find a spot in a camp and compete for a job. The key will be finding the best opportunity.”

Linebacker Michael Taylor
Projection: Undrafted free agent
Analysis: “He will not get drafted, but he’s definitely a training camp guy. You stick him in the middle of a 3-4 defense, allow him to run to the football and defend the run. That’s what he does best.”

Wide receiver Quinton Dunbar
Projection: Undrafted free agent
Analysis: “[He had success at the regional combines] but didn’t do anything on the field last year or really in his career. Dunbar just has not done anything. He’s a good athlete but not someone who has produced on the field. I’m sure he’ll be signed as an undrafted free agent, but he’s going to have to prove his worth and produce to really make it.”

Tight end Tevin Westbrook
Projection: Undrafted free agent
Analysis: “Like Dunbar, Westbrook caught some buzz at the regional combines, but he’s did even less than Dunbar while at Florida. He’s mostly camp fodder and someone that teams will take a look at because of his measurables.”

Offensive lineman Tyler Moore
Projection: Undrafted free agent or unsigned
Analysis: “Moore surprised everybody by entering the draft. When you’re a junior entry from a top-rated school like Florida and you don’t get a combine invite, that just throws up all kind of red flags. There a lot of reasons why a guy would enter early without actually having the prospect of being drafted. They could be beat up and deciding to try and make a living off the sport for a couple years before moving on. Whether Moore even gets signed is not certain.”

Pauline did not evaluate FB FB Gideon Ajagbe, RB Mack Brown, tight end Clay Burton, safety Jabari Gorman or kicker Frankie Velez. In a second conversation with him, he does not believe any will get an extensive look in an NFL camp, though they may be picked up for the start of the proceedings.

Another analyst told OnlyGators.com that he expects long snapper Drew Ferris to receive a camp invite and compete for a job.


Join The

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

WordPress Appliance - Powered by TurnKey Linux