Gator Combine Notes from Saturday

As 10 Florida Gators go through the last couple of days of the NFL combine, little bits of information leak out from the event held in Indianapolis. Some Gators are choosing not to perform in certain events for various reasons and it creates a stir. One thing is for certain, the Florida Gators are on a lot of people's minds even when they prepare for the pros.

The biggest news of the day again was that Florida quarterback Tim Tebow wasn't going to participate in at least one drill. Tebow opted out of the bench press, along with 15 other quarterbacks, including the three that are routinely listed ahead of him in mock drafts.

For Tebow it caused a stir because of his image of being a rough and tumble gunslinger, but in all honesty is anyone really going to question the guy's strength?

According to Jon Crist of the Bear's Report, Gator defensive end Jermaine Cunningham is really interested in playing linebacker at the pro level and on the outside in a 3-4 defense.

"...it sounds like Florida's Jermaine Cunningham would prefer to line up at outside linebacker in a 3-4," Crist wrote Saturday. "...Short and quick with all his answers, he even joked he needs to work on his public speaking before the draft.

Scout.com NFL analyst Ed Thompson got this little nugget from Georgia defensive tackle Geno Atkins on playing Florida's Pouncey twins on the interior offensive line.

"...Geno Atkins said that the toughest blockers he's ever faced are Florida's Pouncey brothers, Maurkice and Michael."

Scout.com NFL Analyst Chris Steuber spent over an hour with football fans Friday night and answered questions in chat for the network. The Florida Gators were a hot topic during the chat and he fielded several questions regarding Gators in the combine.

Tim Tebow is the hottest topic at the combine this year and Steuber has his opinion on what would be best for Tebow and his future in the NFL.

"Tebow could literally go to any team that has quarterback troubles," Steuber noted in chat. "But obviously, he's far from a finished product. The best situation for Tebow is in a place where he has two or three years to learn a system, behind a veteran quarterback who can help him develop. The most ideal situations for Tebow would be New England, Indianapolis, New Orleans, Philadelphia and Dallas.

Steuber also has a very high opinion of tight end Aaron Hernandez. As a junior he was the 2009 Mackey Award winner as college football's best tight end. While many see Hernandez going second or third round, Steuber has him higher in his mock draft.

"Aaron Hernandez is my No. 1 tight end and I've projected him in the first round since he declared," Steuber wrote. "He reminds me of, and I better be clear on this one, a baby Tony Gonzalez. He has that kind of skill. Hernandez would fit very well in Cincinnati."

Steuber's opinion of Carlos Dunlap isn't as bright, but he does recognize that the combine might be where the junior defensive end can make a huge difference in where he gets drafted.

"I'm sure Carlos Dunlap is going to put his best foot forward this weekend, because his tape gives the impression of a dog," Steuber wrote. "He's a boom or bust prospect. He has all of the talent in the world, but he lacks motivation and drive. But like you said, he will post some "WOW" numbers because of his size and athleticism. He could make a lot of money this weekend. Ultimately, he will be a mid first round pick; possibly to the New York Giants at No. 15 or Tennessee Titans at No. 17."

Steuber's opinion of Gator linebacker Brandon Spikes is very high, but he does wonder about the perception of him not running well.

"I like Brandon Spikes a lot, but there are questions about his straight-line speed," Steuber said. "The concerns about his straight-line speed don't worry me, because he's a gamer and plays much faster than his timed speed...He could go in the first round to a team like the New England Patriots or Philadelphia Eagles, but he could also fall into the second round, just like James Laurinaitis and Rey Maualuga did last year."

Heights and weights of Gators measured at the combine so far (from NFL.com).

Cooper, Riley (6'3", 222)
Cunningham, Jermaine (6'3", 266)
Dunlap, Carlos (6'6", 277)
Hernandez, Aaron (6'2", 245)
James, Brandon (5'6", 176)
Pouncey, Maurkice (6'4", 304)
Spikes, Brandon (6'3", 249)
Tebow, Tim (6'3", 236)


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