GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Former Florida left tackle David Sharpe is the kind of prospect that needs to capitalize on every workout in front of scouts and every meeting with talent evaluators to maximize his stock for the NFL Draft.
So it certainly didn’t help his case when a report came out of the NFL Scouting Combine earlier this month that Sharpe is legally blind in his right eye — a report Sharpe has steadfastly denied.
The NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah made the statement, attributed to coaches who had met with Sharpe, on the television broadcast of the combine and respected ESPN reporter Chris Mortensen tweeted about it with commentary of his own.
After going through his Pro Day workout at Florida on Tuesday, Sharpe addressed the matter with another strong denial.
“There was no truth. The legally blind thing was wrong. I still have vision and all, so it’s completely wrong,” he said. “I’m not sure where it came from. I guess it was a rumor or something.”
Sharpe was then asked how much that frustrated him?
“Not really, not really frustrated. Just not true,” he said.
Sharpe, who ran a 5.44-second 40-yard dash at the combine while putting up 19 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press, did not retest in those areas during Pro Day. He had his measurements taken again and went through drills with scouts, having to come out of his stance and pick up a tennis ball thrown to different areas on the turf and having to pass protect with his hands tied behind him.
“It went pretty good. A little tired out there, but it went pretty good,” he said afterward.
Sharpe is hard to project. He was inconsistent at Florida, yet he was a two-year starter for back-to-back SEC East title teams at the most important position on the offensive line. At 6-foot-6 and well over 300 pounds, his size alone will attract the interest of NFL teams, and Sharpe has taken a dedicated approach to getting in better shape since since declaring for the draft.
He says he was 355 pounds by the end of the season at Florida and has dropped down to 342 already while seeking to get in the 330-335 range.
“I can move for my size, and I’m losing weight. The more weight I lose, the faster I will be,” he said. “I’m smart in the classroom, I’ll know every play in my playbook, I’m a hard worker, work hard in practice. Just dedicated to the game, motivated and I’m a competitor.”
He said he’s also received positive feedback for his footwork, his length and his power, along with a few critiques.
“I’ve got to work on bend, keeping shoulders square, technique can always be better and just staying low out of the stance,” Sharpe said.
He doesn’t know where he’ll go in the NFL Draft, but he says his decision to make the jump to the NFL at this point was an easy one for him.
“It still hasn’t hit me that it’s coming soon, the draft’s coming soon and I’ll be on a team, but it’s becoming real,” he said.