Patriots Draft: Scouting at Florida State

When New England head coach Bill Belichick travels to Florida to visit college coaches and give motivational talks to players, it's not a regular occurrence. Belichick had some business to take care of last week, and that was to take a look at draft prospects. The NFL Draft is rapidly approaching and both the Seminoles and the Gators have players the Patriots are thinking about drafting. With NFL Head coaches in attendance, FSU players strutted their stuff during their pro day.

The following is an account of the Seminoles pro day that drew the interest of every NFL club.

The Florida State football program held its annual NFL Pro Day last Thursday and after the dust had settled on an event that featured such activities as 40-yard dashes and position drills, several former FSU players just may have earned a little extra cash come draft time.

And, while over 25 players utilized the day's happenings to showcase their individual skills to a plethora of NFL personnel including New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton, Cleveland Browns coach Romeo Crennel and New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin, two standout defenders had the entire crowd buzzing.

Antonio Cromartie and Ernie Sims ? two players used to the spotlight ? stole the show, and, in doing so, answered whatever questions remained about their respective games.

Sims, who elected to forego his senior season and enter the NFL Draft, has had to deal with questions about his size and coverage skills. Wowing scouts with his 4.47 40-yard dash and stellar performance in the position drills, the Tallahassee native did his part in answering those inquiries.

"I think I did pretty well," said Sims, who currently weighs 234 pounds and is hoping to be 240 upon entering the league. "I showed (the scouts) that I can move pretty well in coverage and everything. I think I showed that I can catch the ball. I came here today telling myself that I wasn't going to drop any balls and I did that."

While Sims had a junior season to display the skills necessary to warrant what is expected to be a top-15 to possible top-10 pick in this April's draft, Cromartie didn't have that luxury missing the entire 2005 campaign while rehabbing a knee.

Despite over a year without any actual in-game experience, NFL scouts have been drooling over the 6-foot-2 speedster based on his tremendous upside and some mock drafts have him being selected in the late first round.

Thursday, Cromartie may have solidified that lofty projection with a time of roughly 4.4 seconds in the 40-yard dash, a 42-inch vertical jump, an excellent showing in punt return drills and an even better showing in defensive back drills.

"I think I did pretty good out there but obviously I want to always do better," Cromartie said. "We will just have to see what all this does for me on draft day. I am pretty confident though."

In addition to the two afore mentioned players, defensive linemen Brodrick Bunkley, who is expected to be one of, if not the first, defensive tackle taken in the draft, and Kamerion Wimbley impressed scouts.

Wimbley, a standout defensive end for the 'Noles for four years, pulled double-duty Thursday working out with the defensive linemen and the linebackers.

"I am hearing about half and half," Wimbley said about what position he is projected at in the NFL. "I am hearing d-line some and outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. I don't mind playing either one. I am fine at either one."

With as many as four former Seminoles staring down an actual opportunity to be selected in the first round of the draft, many others like Leon Washington and A.J. Nicholson spent the day trying to raise their stock in the draft's mid-rounds.

Others spent the day simply looking for a chance.

Former Seminole wide receiver Chauncey Stovall, who last played for the Tribe in 2004, used the event to display his desire for a free agent opportunity. Recent graduates like fullbacks James Coleman and B.J. Dean and tight ends Matt Henshaw and Donnie Carter also gave strong performances in their bid towards possible late selections.

"I understand that I am not going to be picked in the draft's top four rounds but I am still working my butt off," Coleman said. "All I need is a foot in the door and I will do whatever I have to do once I am there."

Now that Pro Day is complete, many NFL-hopeful former Seminoles will continue to work out in preparation for the pro-ranks. For some of the lucky ones, trips to meet with certain teams and tour the given facilities are on the horizon as well.

The NFL Draft is scheduled for April 29-30.

"I am real excited about this opportunity," Sims said. "It's a dream come true."


Brandon Mellor is a writer for, our Florida State Univ affiliate on the network


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