Gator NFL Draft Preview

<B>EXCLUSIVE</B><BR>UFI speaks with <B>Buffalo Bills Director of Football Operations, Tom Modrak</B>, about the Gators in this weekend's NFL Draft. UFI gives you the complete breakdown of the potential Florida draftees.

Tom Modrak
Director of Football Operations - Buffalo: Modrak is a long time veteran of the NFL.  He was the former General Manager of the Philadelphia Eagles and he also spent 20 years with the Pittsburgh Steelers as the Director of College Scouting.  Below are his thoughts and ours on the Gators entering the NFL via the draft this weekend. AP Photo - Mike Groll

Alex Brown

6-3.5, 260, 4.7
Defensive End
Hometown - Jasper, Florida

Draft Projection - 2nd Round
AP Photo - Glen Danforth

  • 2001 Stats - 50 tackles, 10. 5 sacks, 13.5 tackles for a loss
  • 2000 Stats - 56 tackles, 7.5 sacks
  • 1999 Stats - 45 tackles, 13 sacks, 18 tackle for a loss
  • 1998 Stats - 10 tackles, 2 sacks
  • Notes - Redshirted at linebacker in 1997 and backed up Jevon Kearse in '98. Started 9-of-12 games at defensive end in '99 and won All-Southeastern Conference honors and was a Lombardi Trophy semifinalist. Started 11-of-12 games in 2000 and won All-SEC honors for the second year in a row. '01 was a consensus All-American, Associated Press SEC Defensive Player of the Year and an Outland and Nagurski finalist.
  • Tom Modrak Comments - "Good pass rusher.  A sack guy.  Needs to bulk up or stay at same weight in a 3-4 scheme.  Needs to improve against the run.  A first day guy in the draft."
  • Comments - Very athletic and quick.  Super speed rush guy.  Very coachable.  When good OLs engage him, Brown can't get off blocks.  Can't keep weight on.  Needs to improve against the run.
  • X-Factor - How motivated will Brown be to prove the nay-sayers wrong?  Will he be Jevan Kearse or Huey Richardson?
  • What Pro Football Weekly says about Alex Brown
  • What CNNSI says about Alex Brown

Reche Caldwell

5-11.5, 194, 4.47
Wide Receiver
Hometown - Tampa, Florida

Draft Projection - Low first round, high second round pick.
AP Photo - Scott Audette

  • 2001 Stats - 65 receptions for 1,059 yards and 10 touchdowns
  • 2000 Stats - 549 receptions for 760 yards and 6 scores
  • 1999 Stats - 23 receptions for 259 yards and 2 scores
  • Notes - In 2001, was a second-team All-Southeastern Conference pick... Two year starter... former high school quarterback.
  • Tom Modrak Comments - "A different type of receiver compared to Gaffney.  Reche is tough, talented, competitive and a hard worker.  Runs good inside routes.  Compares to Pittsburgh receiver Hines Ward, although not the blocker that Ward is but faster.  A low first, high second round pick."
  • Comments - A guy that knows what to do with the ball.  Very good with the run after the catch.  Will go across the middle.  Physical player with good speed.  Needs to improve route running.
  • X-Factor - What will it take for Caldwell to be successful?  Throw him the ball.
  • What Pro Football Weekly says about Reche Caldwell
  • What CNNSI says about Reche Caldwell

Jeff Chandler

6-1.5, 212
Place Kicker
Hometown - Jacksonville, Florida

Draft Projection - Late pick Sunday, possible Free Agent
AP Photo - Joe Richard

  • 2001 Stats - 46 of 48 PATs and 19 of 22 field goals
  • 2000 Stats - 49 of 53 PATs and 16 of 19 field goals with a career long of 54
  • 1999 Stats - 8 of 41 extra points and 21 of 24 field goals, with a long of 50
  • 1998 Stats - 33 of 37 extra points and 11 of 15 field goals, with a long of 46
  • Notes -Former walk-on who was granted a retroactive redshirt year for 1997 because he only kicked in one game (1-of-1 extra point). Has been the Gators' top placekicker since '98.   Won All-Southeastern Conference honors in '99 and '01.
  • Tom Modrak Comments - "Very good kicker.  Late pick Sunday, possible Free Agent."
  • Comments - Battle tested kicker.  Efficient.  Extra season benefited Chandler.  Has aggressive mentiality.  Needs to maintain confidence like all kickers.
  • X-Factor - Needs to find the right opportunity.
  • What Pro Football Weekly says about Jeff Chandler
  • What CNNSI says about Jeff Chandler

Andra Davis

6-0.5, 244, 4.8
Middle Linebacker
Hometown - Live Oak, Florida

Draft Projection - 1st Day Guy (most likely 3rd Rd)
AP Photo - Lou Krasy

  • 2001 Stats - 107 tackles
  • 2000 Stats - tore MCL in opener
  • 1999 Stats - 109 tackles
  • 1998 Stats - 11 tackles
  • Notes - In 2001 was first-team All-Conference honors and some All-America notice. 
  • Tom Modrak Comments - "A two down linebacker (against the run only).  Very good tackle to tackle versus the run.  Davis has great instincts.  Sheds blocks well.  Should be drafted on the first day.."
  • Comments - Davis has super knowledge of the game.  Knows where to go and what to do once he gets there.  Physically tough.  Super run stopper.  Rarely out of position.  Not an LB in passing situations.  Has a difficult time in man-to-man coverage.
  • X-Factor - Needs to find the right situation with a team where he strengths fit the team needs.
  • What Pro Football Weekly says about Andra Davis
  • What CNNSI says about Andra Davis

Jabar Gaffney

6-1, 193, 4.45
Wide Receiver
Hometown - Jacksonville, Florida

Draft Projection - Mid to late first round.
AP Photo - Dave Martin

  • 2001 Stats - 67 receptions for 1,191 yards and 13 touchdowns 
  • 2000 Stats - 71 receptions for 1,184 yards 14 touchdowns 
  • Notes - Son of former Florida and New York Jet WR Derrick Gaffney...Freshman All-America honors and All-Southeastern Conference honors... Was a consensus All-American and a Fred Biletnikoff Award finalist in '01.
  • Tom Modrak Comments - "A very fluid receiver.  Gaffney is a good catcher.  Young and should develop quickly.  Low first round pick."
  • Comments - Great body control and awareness.  Good hands.  Gaffney is mentally tough and very competitive.  Needs to keep speed he has gained.  Kind of a tweener between an inside and outside receiver.
  • X-Factor - Is he a speed guy or inside guy? 
  • What Pro Football Weekly says about Jabar Gaffney
  • What CNNSI says about Jabar Gaffney

Robert Gillespie

5-8.5, 185, 4.43
Running back
Hometown - Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Draft Projection - Free Agent
AP Photo - Glen Danforth

  • 2001 Stats - 94 rushes for 395 yards and 1 TD, caught 41 passes for 445 yards and 2 TD
  • 2000 Stats - 125 rushes for 678 yards 5 TDs, caught 26 passes for 218 yards, 1 TD 
  • 1999 Stats - 84 rushes for 471 yards 8 TDs, caught 12 passes for 156 yards
  • 1998 Stats - 51 rushes for 310 yards and 2 TDs, caught 17 passes for 272 yards and 1 TD
  • Notes - High School All-American.
  • Tom Modrak Comments - "Free agent signee."
  • Comments - Likely third down back.  Good hands and physical ability.  Also a good special teams player.  Small.  Not an every down back.
  • X-Factor - Needs to find the right situation.
  • What Pro Football Weekly says about Robert Gillespie
  • What CNNSI says about Robert Gillespie

Marquand Manuel

5-11, 208, 4.52
Miami, Florida

Draft Projection - Free Agent
AP Photo - Dave Martin

  • 2001 Stats - 62 tackles
  • 2000 Stats - 83 tackles
  • 1999 Stats - 118 tackles
  • Notes - Three Year Starter
  • Comments - Tough tackler.  Solid in run support.  Hard worker.  Leader.  Not fast enough to play CB and not big enough to play S in the NFL.
  • X-Factor - Needs to find the right situation.
  • What Pro Football Weekly says about Marquand Manuel
  • What CNNSI says about Marquand Manuel

Tommy Moody

6-3, 310, 5.21
Offensive Guard
Alachua, Florida

Draft Projection - Free Agent
AP Photo - Glen Danforth

  • Notes - Former defensive tackle that started at guard the past two seasons. Redshirted as a true freshman then missed the entire '98 season with a shoulder injury. 
  • Tom Modrak Comments - "Free agent signee."
  • Comments - Comes from an experienced system.  Run tough.  He will fight you.  Needs to find West Coast type system.  Not played position long.
  • X-Factor - Will an offense conducive to his skills pick him up
  • What Pro Football Weekly says about Tommy Moody
  • What CNNSI says about Tommy Moody

Mike Pearson

6-6, 305, 5.15
Offensive Tackle
Hometown - Seffner, Florida

Draft Projection - Late First, Early Second
AP Photo - John Bazemon

  • Notes - High School All-American.  Freshman All-American in '99.  Started all 13 games at the same position in 2000 and was an All-Southeastern Conference pick by the coaches and a second-team All-SEC pick by the writers. All-SEC and made a number of All-America teams in '01
  • Tom Modrak Comments - "I think he is the fourth tackle taken off the board.  Mike has upper level talent and still has room to grow  Good technician.Late first round early second round pick."
  • Comments - Good pass protector with good footwork.  Intelligent.  A flat belly guy with long arms.  Needs to improve run blocking and get stronger in the upper body. 
  • X-Factor - Will have a better career in a passing system.  Will have something to prove.
  • What Pro Football Weekly says about Mike Pearson

  • What CNNSI says about Mike Pearson

Lito Sheppard

5-10, 194, 4.43
Jacksonville, Florida

Draft Projection - First Round
AP Photo - Peter Cosgrove

  • 2001 Stats - 42 tackles, 2 interceptions
  • 2000 Stats - 40 tackles, 6 interceptions, 2 punt returns for TDs
  • 1999 Stats - 5 tackles
  • Notes - High School All-American.  Started all but one game in 2000 and won some first-team All-America notice. Also was a first-team All-Southeastern Conference pick. Won similar honors in '01.
  • Tom Modrak Comments - "Excellent cornerback and they are hard to find.  #3 corner on the board.  Great skills.  First round pick."
  • Comments - A playmaker that plays the ball so well.  Physical enough.  A big game game that loves to take chances.  Excellent kick returner.  Small.  Can he take on the big back of the NFL?
  • X-Factor - How will Lito fair against the tall receivers in the NFL?
  • What Pro Football Weekly says about Lito Sheppard
  • What CNNSI says about Lito Sheppard

Offensive lineman Zac Zedalis, linebacker Travis Carroll, and cornerback Bennie Alexander also enter the draft. Zedalis could be a late second day draft pick or a free agent signee. He has added value because he plays both guard and center. Carroll, like Davis, is an inside backer that plays the run very well. He could be a free agent signee as well. Alexander is a speedy corner that should be a free agent pickup.

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