Rainey's on the clock

Will he be only Gator drafted?

Florida running back Chris Rainey catches a pass from quarterback John Brantley during the 2012 Pro Scout Day at UF's Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on March 13.

Doug Finger/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Wednesday, April 25, 2012 at 11:32 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, April 25, 2012 at 11:32 a.m.

LAKELAND — Former Florida Gator Chris Rainey from Lakeland High will not be watching the 2012 NFL Draft after Thursday night.


Researching Rainey

By Robbie Andreu

Chris Rainey
Running back
5-foot-8, 180 pounds

Vital stats
Rainey appeared in 52 games for the Gators, with 19 starts. … He accumulated 2,464 yards rushing (ninth all-time in school history) on 398 attempts (6.2-yard average) and scored 13 touchdowns. … Rainey also caught 69 passes for 795 yards (11.5-yard average) and scored six touchdowns. … He holds the school and SEC record for career blocked punts with six.

Workout numbers
At the NFL Combine, Rainey ran the 40-yard dash in 4.45 seconds, bench-pressed 225 pounds 16 times, had a vertical jump of 36.5 inches, a broad jump of 120.0 inches, ran the three-cone drill in 6.50 seconds, the 20-yard shuttle in 3.93 seconds and the 60-yard shuttle in 11.06 seconds.

Rainey has explosive speed and great quickness. He's a home-run threat as a runner, receiver and return man on punts and kickoffs. He's a solid route runner with good hands who could be a threat as a receiver out of the backfield or in the slot due to his speed advantage on linebackers and strong safeties. He has a chance to help a team immediately on special teams.

The lack of size and strength is a major detriment. At only 180 pounds, Rainey does not figure to be much or a runner between the tackles in the NFL, and he is not likely to gain much yardage after initial contact. His ability to take on much bigger and stronger linebackers in pass protection is also a major concern.

Projected round: Third or fourth

Rainey on the draft
“I just want to confuse the scouts. Then they can decide (whether I'm a running back or a slot receiver). It doesn't matter. I just want a chance to show I can play.” - Chris Rainey

UF draft fact
Since 2000, the Gators have had only two running backs drafted — Ciatrick Fason in 2005 (Minnesota in the fourth round) and DeShawn Wynn in 2007 (Green Bay in the seventh round). The last time a UF running back was taken in the first round was Fred Taylor in 1998 by the Jacksonville Jaguars.

What they're saying
“Rainey is multi-talented. He can do a lot of things. You want to get the ball in his hands and let him do his thing. He's a little bit like Percy (Harvin). He's a guy who can hurt you in many ways.” — Jacksonville Jaguars coach Mike Mularkey

"When you look at Rainey, the speed and the versatility (stand out). He gives you the ability to do some things with him in this game. This is today's football. Today's NFL is different. When you get a kid that you can move around like Rainey, can be moved around in an offense, it presents real match-up issues with his speed. He can help you in special teams as well. I think he's a third- or fourth-rounder; I've thought that all along.” — ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr.

Oh, the TV will be on, he said. You just won't find him attached to it and agonizing each time his name isn't called.

The NFL Draft is a three-day event now, but for the guys after the first round, it is anything but. This is where Rainey falls in.

He is projected to be drafted anywhere from late in the second day (second or third round) or somewhere in the third day.

For the 5-foot-8, 180-pound Rainey, he just wants to get that phone call.

“I'm ready,” Rainey said. “I'm excited. This is what I've wanted forever. I've waited all my life for this moment.”

But he's just not going to watch it.

“Nah, I've been watching the draft all my life,” he said. “I know what it's like. I'm just going to be chilling with my family. I'm not going to be upset.”

Ahmad Black, a former UF and LHS teammate, thinks that's a good move by Rainey.

Black said he was projected to go as high as the third round and watched the draft. But as the second day ended and he wasn't selected, he was fuming. By the time the fifth round started, he was ready to explode.

“After the second day, it was a little bit upsetting,” Black recalled. “Some guys who went ahead of me, I was like ‘Wow!' I was in a little bit of denial. I couldn't believe my 40 time dropped me from the third round to the third day.”

After the Bucs made Black their pick and he had a chance to calm down, Black said he felt blessed.

“You've got to thank God for giving you the opportunity from the jump anyway,” he said. “There are a lot of guys that may not get drafted. You have to thank God for giving you the talent to be in that situation.”

The one criticism that comes up about Rainey is his size. He's not the biggest but his speed (4.45 at the combine) is what everyone loves.

Scouts see Rainey as a third-down, pass-catching back and kick returner. He just wants to hear his name, eventually.

“It doesn't matter where,” said Rainey, who did have a workout with the New England Patriots. “I just want to know what team and where I have to go.”

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