Gators shine at NFL Combine

Florida defensive back Duke Dawson runs the 40-yard dash at the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine on Monday in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Gregory Payan)

The six former UF football players who took part at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis had productive results.

Some analysis and numbers from the event:

Wide receiver Antonio Callaway, a projected 7th-round pick or free agent, is listed as 5-foot-11, 200 pounds. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.41 seconds, his vertical jump was 34 inches and his broad jump 121 inches.

His analysis by Lance Zierlein on “Make no mistake about it, if Callaway had put together a trouble-free 2017 with even average production, he would be one, big Combine performance away from being one of the more buzzed about talents at the receiver position in this draft. However, his character concerns are at a point where they could derail any opportunity for a career. His talent and explosiveness gives him a good shot at making a roster at some point, but being able to stay on track and reach his potential is starting to feel unlikely. If he pulls it together, he could become a dangerous NFL talent.”

Defensive tackle Taven Bryan, a projected 1-2 round pick, is listed at 6-4, 291 pounds. He bench pressed 225 pounds 30 times. He ran the 40 in 4.90

His analysis by Zierlein: “Talented defender with rare athletic ability and play traits. Bryan’s lack of production is due to a lack of instincts and feel for the position and he’s still in a developmental phase as a prospect. Bryan played inside at Florida but has the size and talent to play inside or outside. His instincts and feel are below average so his development could take time, but when he is a finished product, Bryan has the ability to become a disruptive, highly productive talent with a very high ceiling.”

Defensive back Duke Dawson, a projected 3-4th rounder, is listed as 5-10, 208 pounds. He ran the 40 in 4.46 seconds.

His analysis by Zierlein: “Compact, strong slot corner who can beat up finesse receivers when he’s allowed to crowd and disrupt the route release. Dawson can match and blanket underneath, but hip tightness shows up when he’s forced to turn and run from a backpedal. Dawson can handle himself in man or zone coverage and is ready to work when run support calls. He has some length and speed limitations, but he has the instincts and cover talent to become a starting nickel cornerback.”

Safety Marcell Harris, who missed last season after he suffered an Achilles injury before fall camp, just bench pressed (16 reps) and is listed as 6-foot, 208 pounds. NFL folks have him as a priority free agent.

His analysis by Zierlein: “Harris has made just nine starts during his career and is coming off one of the more troubling injuries a football player can suffer with a torn Achilles. While the deck is stacked against him, he does have NFL size and he’s proven to be a productive special teams contributor while at Florida. Harris isn’t a bad football player and may have a shot at making a team down the line as a core special teamer and backup box safety, but it could take time on a practice squad making sure he’s physically ready to go.”

Punter Johnny Townsend is projected as a pick in the seventh round or a free agent, while kicker Eddy Pineiro is projected as a fifth or sixth-round selection.



  1. Kickers, with the notable exception of the Bucs drafting that FSU guy in the 2nd round, usually are picked in the later rounds or are taken as free agents. Nothing for Pinero to worry about. He’ll make somebody’s roster as the field goal and kick-off specialist and, I predict, will have a long career in the league. He can make all those 50-plus yardage kicks needed to win games. And he’s better than Roberto Aguayo ever was. Aguayo is still getting paid by Tampa Bay, even though he’s no longer in the NFL. He should have been arrested for stealing money! The Bucs have a history of making poor draft choices in the early rounds. And after that fiasco, NFL teams are just not going to draft a kicker in the early rounds. Yes, kickers are a dime-a-dozen. Kickers who can hit a 77-yard field goal (Yes, I know it was in practice) are special. And that missed XP against LSU was NOT his fault. Townsend dropped the ball while he was spinning it in place.

    • Tough to predict kicker success in the NFL. Aguayo is considered one of the best kickers in college football history and fizzled out in the NFL. Janikowsi, on the other hand, was good in college, but became one of the best ever in the NFL. The mental demands of the position are brutal.