2011 NFL Draft: Top Five Florida Players Who Surprised in the Combine

Allen Levin@@TheNBAllenCorrespondent IIMarch 1, 2011

2011 NFL Draft: Top Five Florida Players Who Surprised in the Combine

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    The 2011 NFL Draft is less than two months away and the excitement has started to heat up with today's completion of the combine.

    The top college players from around the nation endured a week long challenge that tested their skills, toughness and NFL readiness.

    As expected, Cam Newton, Julio Jones and Nick Fairley were all impressive in the combine, making bids to be top picks at their respective positions.

    However, it wasn't only the big guns that had successful combine trips as there were quite a few surprises from the week-long scouting venture.

    The state of Florida produces great talent with the likes of Florida, Florida State, Miami and Central Florida all boasting some of the best athletes in the nation.

    This year's players from Florida aren't as high profile as other states. But, some relatively unknown players made a case for themselves to get drafted higher than expected.

    With that being said, here are the top five surprise performances from the state of Florida in the NFL combine last week.

5. Jah Reid, OT, UCF

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    Reid was one of three Central Florida players to make a splash at the combine. He is a four-year player that broke out during his senior year with First Team All-Conference honors.

    Reid used his great size and length to have one of the top performances in the broad jump. His 6'7", 327-pound frame is good for blocking and launching off the line.

    He has a lot of experience and is a good presence in the locker room. He can be valuable to a team needing size on their offensive line.

4. Jamar Newsome, WR, UCF

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    Newsome was an unexpected combine invite in the first place being that he went to a mid-major program in UCF.

    The 6'1" receiver didn't have eye-opening stats in his time at Central Florida, but impressed scouts with his speed and work ethic, which ultimately sparked an invite to the combine.

    He didn't let the opportunity go to waste and performed very well at the combine.

    Newsome was a top performer in both the broad jump and the 60-yard shuttle.

    In the broad jump, he tied for the fifth best mark, jumping 10'9", with Julio Jones achieving the best jump.

    In the 60-yard shuttle, he notched the eighth best performance with a time of 11.06.

    His speed is his biggest asset and he could be a nice late round draft pick.

3. Bruce Miller, DL, UCF

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    Yes, this is another Central Florida player, but this article is about surprises from the state of Florida—Miller was another solid surprise for the three Knights that attended the combine.

    For as undersized as Miller is, he is an absolute fearless beast. He was the nation's leader in sacks overall the last four years and was the 2009 Conference-USA Defensive Player of the Year.

    He is ferocious when it comes to taking down quarterbacks and getting past the offensive line.

    While he might be criticized for his size, he made up for it in his strength. Miller had the third most bench press reps in the combine, finishing with 35.

    His excellent combine performance got him some notice and he is projected to be a 3-4 outside linebacker in the pros.

2. Ahmad Black, SS, Florida

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    For as gifted as Black is, he seems to be continually hurt by his lack of size at 5'10". Most scouts don't think he has the size to be a starting NFL safety.

    Still, Black balled out in the combine, posting stellar performances in the bench press, vertical jump, broad jump, three-cone drill and 60-yard shuttle. His work ethic and leadership are unquestionable, which will help his draft status.

    He is a very solid athlete that can make the big play with his fearless attitude. He has great football instincts and could be a very reliable backup safety with the potential to improve greatly.

1. Leonard Hankerson, WR, Miami

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    Hankerson is probably the biggest surprise in the state. His draft stock wasn't high coming into the draft with the likes of Jones and A.J. Green in front of him. Scouts also looked to his size and lack of explosiveness as downfalls to his game.

    But, the former Miami receiver turned heads with his faster than expected 40-yard dash. He had one of the top times, running a 4.43, as well as a solid vertical jump.

    His strong combine performance could earn him a second of third round draft selection.