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Can Ahmad Black make heads turn at the NFL Combine?

There are certain Gators that I will do anything to defend; Billy Donovan, Matt LaPorta, Percy Harvin and Brandon Spikes are a few of those guys.

I include Ahmad Black on that list. Not only is he my little sister's favorite non-Tebow Gator, but he is an example of the type of man it takes to be a great player. Without him, Florida would have been vastly different the past few seasons. He is an instinctive athlete, the difference between that dude in the gym who is jacked and the guys who actually play ball. Black played like a linebacker in 2010, plugging holes that his undersized and inexperienced front seven left open. 

But none of that will matter to NFL guys who will be measuring the distance between Black's pinky and thumb or if Black really is 5-foot-9. Black has his stats and game film, but as much as we hype the SEC, it is no match for the rigors of a 16 game season, even in the NFC West.

Unfortunately for Black, his height is his biggest weakness and it is the only thing he cannot change. Black is fast enough, giving him an advantage over other safeties. In coverage, he won't be able to matchup with a 6-footer in one-on-one coverage, but how often does a safety get locked up like that? In the right system, Black can be a cold-blooded killer, running full speed into running backs who think they are in the clear and knocking out receivers over the middle.

Speaking as a Bucs fan, I will happily take Black over Cody Grimm (who broke his leg against Baltimore; the silver lining being that back-up and Gruden's boy Sabby Piscitelli sucked in that game and was immediately cut) and any retreads from the Cleveland Browns. (That was the solution at SS. It is amazing the Bucs won 10 games last season). 

Consider the success of The Major Wright. It took until week 11 for Wright to become a contributor for the Chicago Bears, but in the NFC Championship Game, there he was with six tackles. If The Major can become a 5th or 6th defensive back for the 4th best scoring defense in the NFL, Black could probably start for an average team.

Black is being projected as a third round guy. With a good combine, he might move up. If Black is available in day two, someone is going to get a significant value pick.

Watch NFL Scouting Combine Feb 24 - Mar 1