Florida Gators' Combine Performances (Mostly) Less Than Stellar

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Florida Gators' Combine Performances (Mostly) Less Than Stellar
Scott Boehm/Getty Images

The NFL Combine is finally over and Todd McShay has retreated to his cave, where he will put homeless men through cone drills and deflate Taylor Mays' draft stock.

The Florida Gators had ten participants at the Combine this year: Tim Tebow, Riley Cooper, Maurkice Pouncey, Brandon James, Aaron Hernandez, Carlos Dunlap, Jermaine Cunningham, Joe Haden, Brandon Spikes, and Major Wright.

Six of the ten could be considered high-profile prospects, guys who should go in the top three rounds.

High-profile guys are the guys who get talked about by highly paid guessers like McShay and his pal Mel Kiper. They're also the guys who have to live up to expectations at the Combine.

For the most part, the Florida players underwhelmed.

Joe Haden was the only former Gator to complete his full battery of tests. He showed good strength and pretty good jumping ability, but was much slower than expected. His 4.57 40-yard dash time was the fifth-slowest time within the cornerbacks group.

Carlos Dunlap's physical tests were ok–to-good, a little weak with his bench press but pretty fast, but his interview process could only be described as wholly disappointing.  Scouts commented on his total lack of maturity raising additional character issue flags.

Brandon Spikes opted to not run a 40-yard dash, was the slowest through the cones, and the weakest jumper of the inside linebackers group. He also didn't bench press. 

Spikes' biggest negatives were measurables prior to the Combine, and by opting out of the 40 and bench press, he puts a lot of pressure on himself for Pro Day. A bad day could drop him out of the first round.

Aaron Hernandez didn't have a showing as he was nursing an injury. Whatever he's going to show, he'll have to show on Pro Day.

A few of the smaller names didn't impress either. Brandon James and Jermaine Cunningham both opted out of workouts. Riley Cooper ran a respectable 4.52 40, but saved the rest of his workouts for March 17. 

It wasn't all bad though.

Tebow proved that he was at least an option at a non–QB position with an incredible vert, good 40 and broad jumps, and great shuttle times.

Any questions of his actual athleticism were firmly put to rest.

He still needs to prove he can throw and make reads at an NFL level, but for now he has a football fallback plan.

Maurkice Pouncey had a nice showing as well. He didn't jump off the page in his speed and agility drills, but he's far and away the best center prospect in the draft.

Major Wright was a big surprise. He ran a 4.48, putting him in ninth overall for defensive backs and second behind Mays in free safeties.

Wright was not known for his speed at Florida; then again, Haden was never known as slow. 

As always, the combine is horribly overrated. Haden is the best corner in the draft. I said fairly frequently that he was the best player on the team, even over Tebow. 

His time doesn't mean squat (except that he won't be an Oakland Raider). He never had problems keeping up with receivers, and he was always covering the opponent's best receiving option.

In two weeks the Gators will go through more tests, which will probably negate anything that was actually learned over the last 5 days anyway. Hey, we did learn that Tebow can dunk, though.

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