The SEC has been a breeding ground for future NFL talent in recent years, and the 2013 Florida Gators draft class is no exception. This class is headlined by juniors Sharrif Floyd and Matt Elam, who possess first round potential, and also includes 10 seniors and two other underclassmen. Florida held its Pro Day Tuesday morning, despite rainy conditions, and all 32 NFL teams had scouts in attendance. Even though the NFL Scouting Combine helped a lot of Gators get noticed, their pro day was better, even in the weather.
Jon Bostic (ILB, 6'1", 245 pounds)
Bostic didn't have much left to prove at Florida's Pro Day after a very good combine a month ago. He was timed at 4.50 in the 40-yard dash in Indianapolis, but only participated in on-the-field drills after that. Bostic did a nice job of demonstrating the control of power he has in his lower body. Most scouts expected him to run a 4.8, which is something he chuckled at in post-workout interviews. He was also able to show lateral quickness as well as good hands during position drills. Though Jenkins showed he is the more physically gifted linebacker of the two, Bostic has the skills and football intelligence to play inside or outside. He's a projected second- or third-round pick, but some NFL folks are thinking he'll go before one of the biggest names in the draft pool.
Couple of NFL people at UF Pro Day expect ILB Jon Bostic to get drafted ahead of Manti Te'o— Jason Cole (@JasonColeYahoo) March 13, 2013
Jelani Jenkins (OLB, 6'0", 245 pounds)
Jenkins had the most to prove going into Florida's Pro Day, and prove is exactly what he did. His talent to date was unclear due to an injury-plagued season. In 2012, he missed games due to a broken thumb, a hamstring injury, and, finally, a broken foot in the last regular season game that kept him out of the Sugar Bowl. With all of that said, I think Jenkins was the most impressive participant. He ran a disappointing 4.78 in the 40-yard dash, but quickly showed his talents don't rely on straightaway speed in the position drills that followed. Jenkins looked physically impressive and demonstrated it with quick change-of-direction speed. He received a lot of extra attention after his workout and has private workouts set up with Kansas City, Miami and Carolina. Right now he's projected as a fourth or fifth round pick, but I expect his stock to rise.
Omar Hunter (DT, 6'0", 313 pounds)
Hunter was not invited to the Scouting Combine last month, so this was his first chance to stand out. He was clocked in the low 5.0 range in the 40-yard dash, but put up good numbers in the cone drills. He displayed very quick feet and hands during the lineman exercises, and matched that quickness with strength by benching 28 reps. He's faster than his body looks, and I think that got a lot of attention from some scouts who weren't planning on looking at him. He's set up interviews with Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Washington, Houston, and New Orleans. At the moment, he's projected to go in the sixth round or to go undrafted, but I think he gets some late round attention after a decent Pro Day.
Earl Okine (DE, 6'6", 287 pounds)
Okine is definitely an under-the-radar guy from the current Florida draft class. He was able to run a sub-5.0 40-time and stayed step-for-step in quickness with Hunter. He is very unknown by most scouts, but I think he had an encouraging workout. His frame is what will lure NFL teams to take a chance on him, but for now I don't see him getting drafted.
Matt Elam (SS, 5'9", 189 pounds)
Elam stood on his combine 40 time of 4.54, but fully participated in on-the-field drills. A lot of scouts like to punish Elam for his lack of size, but I really think he uses it to his advantage. He displayed a quick back pedal, incredible change-of-direction acceleration, and didn't drop a single pass throughout the drills. I thought he was a late first round choice going into today, but he might be the best safety in the draft.
Josh Evans (FS, 6'1", 207 pounds)
Evans is a sleeper pick around the league. Not a lot of people talk about him, but I think that's because no one wants to hype him up so they can get him at a great price. He improved his 40-time from a 4.58 at the combine to a 4.48 today. Unfortunately for Evans, there are no tackling drills during the Combine or Pro Day, and that's where he thrives, having led the Gators in tackles in 2012. Safety comes very naturally to him, and he displayed that with his pursuit angles during drills; I just wish he were faster. I'm higher on Evans than most, but I think scouts will come around to agree with me by draft time. He's worth a late third or fourth round pick, but fourth or fifth is more realistic.
Mike Gillislee (RB, 5'11", 208 pounds)
Gillislee didn't stand out as much as scouts would have hoped, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Those who watched him thrive this year know that his game isn't about straight-line speed. He was able to show scouts his pass-catching ability in the backfield and that's something that will separate him from the rest of the RB class. He's not an every-down back, but he'll be a great second running back in the NFL if a team can utilize his skills. So far, Gilly has private workouts set up with Atlanta and St. Louis. At this point, his ceiling is the third round, but I see him getting picked in the early-to-mid fourth round.
Jordan Reed (TE, 6'2", 235 pounds)
Reed's action was limited today because of a bruised bone in his knee. He didn't participate in any timed drills, but he did take part in receiving drills, where he made the most of his field time with a couple of pretty one-handed grabs and a good sense for the ball in the air. He still has to prove he can consistently block to be a full-time TE at the next level. He'll finish his workout March 22, and based off his performance today, he won't do anything to hinder his third round projection.
Xavier Nixon (OT, 6'6", 320 pounds)
Nixon's shoulder injury didn't allow him to fully participate. He was able to perform in some agility drills but didn't really do anything to raise his stock. He's an athletic tackle, but he didn't show a lot of consistency in-season in 2012. He'll finish out the group to workout March 22, where he needs to try and show he can block upright on a consistent basis. I've got him listed as a fourth or fifth round player.
Frankie Hammond (WR, 6'0", 185 pounds)
Hammond has to overcome his smaller frame by improving his acceleration and becoming a more reliable receiver. He was able to run a 4.45 40-yard dash on his second attempt, which was key for him. He dropped a few easy passes in the early drills, but showed poise as he became comfortable on his home field. Unfortunately, I don't see Hammond moving up the board in a deep WR class, especially with his limited numbers this season (22 catches all year, never more than three in one game). I can see a team taking a chance on him with a very late round pick, but it wouldn't surprise me if he goes undrafted.
Omarius Hines (WR/TE, 6'0", 215 pounds)
Hines is another prospect who isn't high on many lists from NFL scouts, but I think he did a lot to get noticed during his drills. Hines has the receiving, running, and blocking ability to play TE, RB or WR. He was clocked around a 4.55 40-time and looked quicker than expected in the cone drills. He also showed a lot of lower body explosiveness. Hines' low statistics were the victim of a diverse Florida offense. That's not his fault, and I think he used pro day to prove he should have been used more. If nothing else, he'll be a fantastic special teams player. Before today, not many mock drafts had Hines getting selected, but I see a fifth or sixth round pick in his future.
Did Not Participate
Sharrif Floyd (DT, 6'3", 297 pounds)
Floyd sat out on Tuesday, as he is recovering from an ankle injury that he suffered at the combine. He says that he rolled it during a drill, but it's nothing serious. He, along with a few others, will participate in a private workout in Gainesville on March 22. He's still a top pick, likely to come off the board in the first five selections.
Lerentee McCray (OLB, 6'2", 250 pounds)
McCray did not participate in any workouts today because of a shoulder injury. He will join Floyd in a private workout March 22. Depending on his workout, McCray could go anywhere from the fourth to seventh round.