Gator Combine Notes Monday-Tuesday

Joe Haden's slower than expected 40-time was maybe the biggest disappointment of the entire combine. The Florida corner who left school a year early posted a 4.57 in the 40 and was expected to run in the low 4.4's. Junior safety Major Wright impressed Tuesday and quarterback Tim Tebow impressed again on Monday. Carlos Dunlap didn't hurt himself at the combine either.

Joe Haden was expected to be the top Gator drafted in April in the NFL and it still remains to be seen if it will happen. On Tuesday Haden led off his combine field results with a disappointing 4.57 second run the 40-yard dash.

Former NFL player and Scout Bucky Brooks spent a great deal of time talking on the NFL Network about Haden and his performance at the combine Tuesday.

"I'm Surprised," Brooks admitted. "Now for Joe Haden, who came in without a doubt the number one corner, he has opened the door now because people are going to scramble back to watch tape and figure out if they are willing to take a guy in the top ten that runs a 4.6. You guys know that is a big deal for a G.M. or an owner to pay that kind of money."

Brooks was asked if Haden may be passed by Kyle Wilson from Boise State or others because of a slow 40 time.

"I don't know if they blow by him, but they put themselves in play," Brooks said of Haden possible losing that top spot as the draft's top corner prospect. "Kyle Wilson especially. The problem you have is that if you watch Joe Haden on tape, he plays faster than that. He tackles, is involved in plays and diagnosis well. If you take him off of tape, you love him...this 4.57 really screws people up."

Haden did perform well in drills and Brooks made sure to talk about him when he did.

"We talked about Joe Haden's 40 time was not up to par," brooks started. "His ability to flip his hips was very impressive, it was one of the more impressive change in direction things I have seen in this DB group. He still has to answer questions about the 40, but in terms of moving skills he has it all."

Later on, Brooks added, "...watching Joe Haden go through it...once again, exceptional transitions and great hands."

Haden himself was disappointed in the outcome of his 40-time and plans on making up for it at UF's pro day on March 17th when a bunch of Gators will be working out.

"The only thing was a disappointing 40, so I will go home and try and get better at pro day," he told the NFL Network after he was done with all of the drills. "I never ran a 4.5 in my life so I am definitely going to have to show that I am not a 4.5, but a 4.4.

Haden couldn't explain why he ran so slow.

"I don't know what happened, I will definitely run it again in Gainesville," he said. "I felt really good. Everything else I thought I did well outside of the 40...I will go back home to Ft. Washington, MD with my dad and work on my starts a whole lot. I need to work on my 40 before I get to Gainesville."

Despite some views on his bench press, Haden threw up 18 repetitions of 225 pounds and that actually placed him third among all cornerbacks at the combine and the most for anyone that ran as fast as Haden ran on Tuesday.

A positive surprise on Tuesday was the 40 time of junior safety Major Wright. No one questions Wright's toughness or his football instincts, but his speed has been called into question a great deal. He actually ran almost a full tenth faster than Haden which was a big surprise when he posted a 4.48 second 40-yard dash in his second run. He ran an equally impressive 4.49 the first time around.

Wright may have disappointed a little with only 14 reps of 225 pounds, but the 40 time really bolstered his draft stock in the minds of many.

While the defensive backs finished the combine on Tuesday, Monday saw Tim Tebow, Carlos Dunlap, and Brandon Spikes end all of their drills and chats with the combine folks.

Although he didn't throw at the combine as he continues to work on his stance and footwork as a drop back quarterback, Tebow was quite impressive in everything he did do at the combine. NFL Analyst Chris Steuber had a bit of good things to say about Tebow as a player on the rise at the combine.

"Tebow has been a great competitor this offseason and is willing to show scouts he's serious about being a quarterback in the NFL," Steuber wrote. "It's been well documented that Tebow's mechanics and elongated release are a concern as he enters the draft, and those concerns were clear during Senior Bowl week. But prior to the Scouting Combine, Tebow announced that he would debut a new release at his Pro Day and stated that it would be shorter and quicker.

"Although Tebow didn't throw at the Combine on Sunday, he did participate in other drills and did extremely well. He tied Josh McCown (2002 Combine) for the best vertical leap (38-inch) in Combine history, scored the best broad jump (9'7") and recorded the third best 40-time (4.72) of all the quarterbacks. Where Tebow lands in the draft will be determined by his Pro Day performance, but he's the kind of guy you never bet against."

Steuber can see Tebow in a Patriots' uniform next season as expressed in this chat response to a Patriots fan who portended that the patriots might draft Tebow and Ole Miss running back Dexter McCluster.

"That would do wonders for your offense that's aging and lacks play makers, Bill," Steuber wrote. "Tebow needs time to develop and learning behind Tom Brady would do wonders for him. And McCluster, he's a special player that can score from any angle on the field.

Dunlap is a guy that has been intriguing all along with his sheer size and athletic ability. He did nothing to disappoint at the combine and lived up to the hype as proposed here by the NFL Network's Steve Mariucci who also knows why Dunlap has questions about his NFL draft status.

"The guy that I am intrigued with is Carlos Dunlap," Mariucci said when talking about all the defensive linemen at the combine. "This is where the scouts make their money Here is a guy that is 6-6 and 277 can run like a deer at 4.7. he has the measurables and shows flashes of greatness when you watch him on film. Yet, he will at times show you that he is young and he needs development and is inconsistent. Remember he is only 20 years old, so sometimes you are guessing. You have to go in there and find out why he is inconsistent. A guy like this should be more consistent."

Steuber added this about Dunlap from his Monday chat with subscribers.

"Dunlap did pretty well and I wasn't surprised by that," Steuber wrote. "The Scouting Combine is the type of venue where he will have success. He's a very good athlete and he ran a great 40 (4.71). The only question about Dunlap is can he be consistent down after down? If a team feels like he can, he will be a top 20 pick. The Giants, Titans and Falcons are possible destinations for Dunlap."

One Gator that has gotten a lot of attention away from the field has been junior center Maurkice Pouncey. Pouncey received praise from Georgia defensive tackle Geno Atkins as the toughest player he played against in college and on Monday he received more from maybe the draft's top prospect in Oklahoma defensive tackle Gerald McCoy. McCoy told a national NFL Network audience that Texas guard Charlie Tanner and Maurkice Pouncey were the two toughest players he faced in college.

Coming from one of the highest picks in the draft that is high praise and Chris Steuber continued to hype up that Pouncey is likely to go high in the draft.

"The first center off the board will be Florida's Maurkice Pouncey," Steuber wrote in chat on Monday. "He will be a first round pick and will come off the board in the 18 - 30 range."

The Pittsburgh Steelers are a team that Steuber can see Pouncey heading to in April's NFL selection process.

"They should go for an offensive lineman in the first round, whether it's Bryan Bulaga, Anthony Davis, Bruce Campbell, Mike Iupati or Maurkice Pouncey," Steuber said of the Steelers. "They need to upgrade their line."

Here is a chart with all the times and measurables we could come up with. Under height, the first number is feet, the two following numbers are inches and the last is 1/8th of an inch. So Tim tebow measured in at 6 feet, two and 6/8 inches.

Player Ht. Wt. Arm Lgth Hand Size 40 225 Bench Vert. Broad 3-Cone
Tim Tebow 6-3 236 31 3/4 10 1/8 4.72   38.5 9'07 6.66
Riley Cooper 6-3 222 32 5/8 10 3/8 4.52        
Brandon James 5-6 176 29 3/4 8 3/4   14      
Aaron Hernandez 6-2 245 32 1/4 9 3/4          
Maurkice Pouncey 6-4 304 32 1/2 10 5.23     7'11  
Carlos Dunlap 6-5 277 34 5/8 10 4.71 21 31.5 9'03  
Jermaine Cunningham 6-3 266 33 3/4 10 3/8          
Brandon Spikes 6-2 249 33 3/8 10     29 9'02  
Joe Haden 5-10 193 32 3/4 9 1/2 4.57 18     6.94
Major Wright 5-11 206 31 9 3/4 4.48 14      

Fightin Gators Top Stories