GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida’s Pro Day this week served as an opportunity for former Gators to showcase their skills with personnel from every NFL team watching.
For some, such as defensive back Brian Poole, it was their first chance to work out for league scouts and coaches. For others like running back Kelvin Taylor, it was a day to improve on their NFL combine numbers from Indianapolis.
“Some of the guys that weren’t satisfied with something that they didn’t do at the combine were able to come here and put it in front of all 32 again,” UF coach Jim McElwain said. “That’s something that’s really important and that was great.”
Taylor dropped passes during the combine’s position drills and ran a 4.6 in the 40-yard dash, the sixth-slowest time among tailbacks. Taylor had the fourth-fewest bench press reps (15) at his position as well.
“I didn’t do well in the 40 in Indy. I caught the ball poorly,” Taylor said after pro day. “I just wanted to improve on catching the ball and I felt like I did great in that aspect.”
The 5-foot-10, 212-pounder caught every ball in Florida’s indoor practice facility. He also ran a 4.57, and increased his bench press reps to 17.
“I showed everyone I have great hands,” Taylor said. “I can catch the ball out of the backfield. I ran a better 40, so I’m just very thankful and honored to be here.”
Part of the concern with Taylor’s dropped passes was the measurement that revealed he had the smallest hands (8 ¼ inches) among running backs at the combine. He may have negated that with his pass-catching display at pro day, and teams should have little concern about his ball security.
“I never fumbled in college,” Taylor said. “You got guys with humongous hands with six fumbles. I never had a fumble in college and I had a high amount of carries. That’s one thing my father (NFL and UF great Fred Taylor) always preached. We don’t put the rock on the ground.”
As a junior, Taylor scored the most touchdowns (13) by a Gators running back since his father’s last season (1997) and became only Florida’s second 1,000-yard rusher since 2004. McElwain thinks Taylor’s 2015 production, along with his pro-day performance will help his draft stock.
“Here’s a guy that obviously had a great season for us with a very young offensive line, put up really good numbers,” Taylor said. “I think you had opportunity to see him catch the ball a little bit too, which is something that will really help him because he has good hands out of the backfield. For him it’s just a matter again of going and proving himself.”
Though he tested better this week, Taylor feels his film is what’s going to attract NFL teams.
“No doubt,” he said. “All of this is wonderful, but at the end of the day I feel like I’m a great football player. I’m just ready to get into camp and start making plays. I know what I’m capable of doing.”