Scouts from all 32 teams were represented in Gainesville, Fla. Tuesday for Florida’s annual Pro Day, an event to help 15 Gators and three former team members improve their draft stock.
Florida’s former players turning pro span a wide variety of likely draft slots … from cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III solid first-round perch to running back Kelvin Taylor’s Day 3 spot to a couple of unknowns in players like Alex McAlister and Antonio Morrison, who are returning from injury.
But who helped themselves the most at Tuesday’s workout? Who might have moved in the other direction?
Here are the winners and losers from Florida’s Pro Day:
Keanu Neal, Safety
There might not be a player in the 2016 draft whose trajectory has shot high I the previous months than Neal, who was looked at as a mid-Day 3 pick a few months ago but now may flirt with the first round.
#Florida pro day today. Vernon Hargreaves will go first round, safety Keanu Neal has a shot too. Love Jonathan Bullard in Round 2.
— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) March 22, 2016
Neal’s known as an enforcer in the middle, a huge-hitting safety. But he’s also got coverage skills too. He showed that dramatic potential in positional drills and shaved a couple hundredths of a second off his 40-yard dash time and short shuttle as well (he moved from 4.62 to 4.59 in the 40, and from 4.38 to 4.32 in the shuttle).
Jonathan Bullard, Defensive Tackle
Bullard finished third in the Southeastern Conference last season with 17.5 tackles for loss. Not only are the skills that provide that kind of disruptive force on film, they were shown on the field Tuesday. He didn’t run or jump, choosing to stand on his times from the combine, but Bullard’s positional drills were beautiful.
What his incredibly athletic showing proves is that Bullard is more than a lane-clogger or occupier of offensive linemen. He should be able to shoot gaps in the NFL and offer pass-rush help up the middle.
While widely considered a second-round play in the draft, there’s now talk of his name being called on Day 1.
Vernon Hargreaves III, Cornerback
The one constant for his past two seasons at Florida was that Hargreaves was always considered the top cover corner in college football. That reputation hasn’t left him, and even though he’s still considered a first-round pick, he’s not always predicted in the top 10. Defensive backs Jalen Ramsey from Florida State and Notre Dame’s Eli Apple have been leap-frogging him on multiple big-board predictions.
— Zach Abolverdi (@ZachAbolverdi) March 22, 2016
After Tuesday’s show of speed and quickness, Hargreaves should be etched in ink among the top 10 picks of the draft. He offered proof of elite change-of-direction skills and his quick-twitch skills are second to none.
Demarcus Robinson, Wide Receiver
No player needed a fantastic showing at Florida’s Pro Day more than Robinson, who’s known for his skill on the field and poor decision making off. It was imperative for him to improve on his combine numbers to offer some sort of growth for the scouts.
The problem: Robinson didn’t improve on his 40 time of 4.59 seconds. He also got slower (4.19 to 4.21) in the short shuttle and didn’t jump as high in the vertical (34 ½ at the combine, 33 ½ in Gainesville).
That wasn’t the kind of day Robinson could afford.
On top of the average numbers, Robinson dropped a number of passes. When a receiver is on his own turf in a comfortable setting, dropped passes have to be avoided. Elite receivers make it through an event like this without a ball hitting the ground. It’s looking more and more like Robinson isn’t elite.argreaves was always considered the ‘s