2009 NFP Scouting Series: Florida

Dale ThortonCorrespondent IJuly 16, 2009

MIAMI - JANUARY 08:  Quarterback Tim Tebow of the Florida Gators passes against the Oklahoma Sooners in the FedEx BCS National Championship Game at Dolphin Stadium on January 8, 2009 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

For the rest of the summer, the National Football Post will break down every team in the Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly known as Division I-A) to identify players who might warrant interest from NFL teams in the 2010 draft.

The Florida Gators have a wealth of speed and talent on both sides of the ball and should have a number of potential first-round prospects in next year’s draft.

Click HERE to check out the rest of the NFP’s college breakdowns.

Here’s our first look at the Gators:

Florida Offense

Tim Tebow: No. 15, QB, 6'3", 245lbs

A natural leader who’s comfortable with the ball in his hands and is the guy everyone seems to rally around. A powerful in-line runner who does a nice job lowering his pad level and driving his legs at the line of scrimmage. Consistently keeps plays alive and is a bear to bring down in the open field with his combination of athleticism and strength.

Isn’t a natural passer and lacks timing and feel, especially in the short/intermediate passing game. Has a strong arm and possesses the ability to make all the throws, but exhibits an elongated throwing motion that needs to be shortened before he reaches the next level.

Struggles recognizing defenses and fails to notice underneath coverages when anticipating throws. Is more accurate than given credit for and can fit the ball into tight areas. Showcases rare improvisational skills and does a great job deciphering information on the move and making plays from an assortment of body angles.

Impression: The kind of guy you hate to bet against; he’ll find a way to be successful. But he will also need significant time to develop as a pocket passer at the next level.

Brandon James: No. 25, RB, 5'7", 186lbs

An explosive scatback, but he struggles breaking tackles and is tripped up too easily in the open field. Displays an electric second gear with the quickness to consistently make the first man miss.

Is natural in the pass game and catches the ball well, but isn’t real physical and can be bullied off the line and into his routes. Is an impressive stop-and-start athlete who gets up to full speed instantly.

Impression: An intriguing third-down back at the next level who can help out on special teams.

Riley Cooper: No. 11, WR, 6'3", 215lbs

A big target with natural hands; does a nice job adjusting to the football. Uses his body well to shield defenders from the play and make the catch in traffic. Is a natural route runner who does a good job getting out of his breaks and cleanly, gaining an initial step underneath.

He lacks a burst off the line and struggles beating press coverage but can adapt to making plays with corners draped over him. 

Impression: A coordinated receiver who runs clean routes but will struggle on the outside at the next level.

Carl Moore: No. 16, WR, 6'3", 225lbs

A big, physical target who gets too leggy in an out of his routes. Struggles changing directions cleanly when asked to break down and doesn’t get back up to speed quickly.

Is at his best simply sticking his foot in the ground, using his fist-step burst and shielding defenders from the play. Is a natural receiver with good hands and is a load to bring down after the catch.

Impression: A big, possession-type wideout who uses his body well but struggles when asked to break down and get out of his breaks.

David Nelson: No. 83, WR, 6'5", 215lbs

Lacks a burst off the ball and doesn’t eat up the cushion quickly. Builds up speed as he goes, but isn’t explosive enough to get behind corners. Showcases good body control and does a nice job using his big frame to shield defenders from the ball.

Is physical in the pass game and can fight for inside position, but struggles finding the football and doesn’t possess natural hands.

Impression: A physical wideout, but is slow out of his breaks and never consistently separates.

Aaron Hernandez: No. 81, TE, 6'2", 250lbs

A gifted athlete who is very sharp and sudden out of his breaks. Has the ability to snap off routes on a dime and separate on all levels of the field. Showcases the speed to get down the seam and threaten defenses deep.

A natural receiver who plucks the ball away from his frame and can create yards after the catch. Is a better blocker than given credit for and uses his quickness and balance to get around defenders and seal them off the edge.

Impression: He might lack the height to be an every down TE at the next level, but certainly has the ability to create mismatches in the pass game.

Michael Pouncey: No. 55, OG, 6'5", 320lbs

Displays impressive flexibility for his size and does a nice job firing out of his stance low and gaining initial leverage on opponents. Drives his legs through contact and clearly has the base to consistently create movement in the run game.

Displays a powerful upper body and does a nice job extending his arms in pass protection and shuffling his feet on contact. However, he isn’t real fluid in space and consistently has trouble reaching and hitting a moving target. 

Impression: A powerful interior lineman who looks like an ideal fit in a power run scheme.


Carlos Dunlap: No. 8, DE, 6'6", 290lbs

A tall, strong defensive end who can really bully offensive linemen at the point of attack and shed blocks in all facets of the game. Displays natural bend and knows how to gain initial leverage off the snap.

Does a nice job getting under offensive linemen despite his size and consistently is able to walk them into the backfield. Showcases good body control and uses his length to avoid cut blocks off the snap.

A coordinated pass rusher who lacks the first step to consistently reach the corner, but uses his quickness, length and power to disengage and close on the QB. He needs to improve his instincts as he bites too often on play fakes and has a tendency to work himself out of plays.

Impression: A really impressive physical specimen who has all the tools to become an upper-echelon defensive lineman at the next level.

Jermaine Cunningham: No. 49, DE, 6'3", 252lbs

A fluid defensive end prospect who has the burst to get down the line and close on the football. Does a nice job keeping his base low and can hold the point of attack in the run game when taking on blocks in-line. However, he struggles when linemen get their hands on him and gets washed out of plays easily when he isn’t set.

Displays impressive body control and athleticism on his pass rush. Has a good first step off the edge, but it’s his combination of agility, quickness and closing speed that allows him to be such a factor vs. the pass. Works very hard and does a nice job fighting through the double-team on the outside and making his way toward the ball. 

Impression: I love his motor, quickness and natural leverage; has the makings of a very good pass rusher at the next level.

Brandon Spikes: No. 51, ILB, 6'3", 256lbs

A powerful inside linebacker with stack-and-shed ability in the hole. Does a nice job taking on opposing linemen and working his way off blocks. Plays with a mean streak and has a real passion for the game.

He’s a rangy athlete who possesses good closing speed and an impressive first step out of his breaks. However, he plays out of control at times, will overrun plays and struggles breaking down in space.

Will bite on play fakes and has a tendency to freelance when searching for the ball. Struggles keeping himself clean when running sideline to sideline and lacks some awareness inside the tackles.

Impression: He needs to mature in some of the mental aspects of the game, but plays with a passion and has the tools to develop into a starting MLB in the NFL.

Joe Haden: No. 5, CB, 5'11", 190lbs

An athletically gifted corner who displays natural body control and consistently keeps his feet under him, which allows him to stay balanced. Is fluid when he flips his hips and does a nice job getting up to full speed and running with receivers down the field. Uses the sideline as an extra defender and narrows the receiver’s route on the outside.

Is at his best near the line of scrimmage, where he can be physical off the snap and use his quickness to stay in the receiver’s back pocket. Isn’t nearly as comfortable in off coverage and has a tendency to get upright and drift in his back-pedal.

Gives up inside position too easily and struggles fighting through receivers for the ball. Isn’t afraid to stick his head in and make a tackle, but gets too high at times and will slip off ball carriers on too many would-be tackles.

Impression: The kid’s got a great athletic skill set, plays with natural balance and has the makings of an NFL cover man.

Be sure to check out the rest of my team breakdowns at Nationalfootballpost.com.


Hit me up on Twitter at: WesBunting


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