'06 NFL Draft watch: Florida

The Gators are under new management as Urban Meyer brings his football intelligence and off the field discipline to Gainesville. A team that recently underachieved, Florida has several prospects who can impact future NFL drafts if they pull it together.    

Scouting the SEC: Florida 

Offensively it all starts and ends with quarterback Chris Leak.  An outstanding athlete, Leak beats opponents with his arm or legs and is dangerous in a variety of ways.  Easily making all the throws, Leak is effective when patient yet adversely reacts to pressure and consistently stares down primary targets.  Needing to improve his fundamentals and quarterback intangibles, Leak become a passer rather then just a thrower yet offers an abundant amount of upside.  As was the case under Steve Spurrier the team has plenty of prospects at receiver.  Dallas Baker is a well-sized pass catcher who gets vertical to pull the pass from the air.  Baker lacks quickness as well as playing speed and must significantly increase his production on the field to find a spot in next April's late rounds.  Andre Caldwell and Chad Jackson and are pair of juniors who flash great skill and both offer terrific upside.  Each have first day potential in the future and should flourish under Urban Meyer's system.  A trio of blockers could get drafted next April with a fourth offensive lineman signed as a free agent.  Center Mike Degory is a hard working blocker on the pivot also effective with the shotgun snap.  Explosive in all his actions, Degory does an outstanding job quarterbacking the offensive line.  Not a dominant center who opens up the middle the field, he is a solid middle round choice next April.  Lance Butler is a natural guard yet will be used at right tackle this year. An intelligent lineman, he is patient in pass protection and opens holes for the running game.  Butler does not seem comfortable in space and is best in confined quarters.  Right tackle Randy Hand is a technically sound lineman who does the little things well.  Playing the all important left tackle position this season, Hand is best in confined quarters and lacks footwork-sliding out to protect the edge.  He did show improvement last year and possesses upside for the next level.   After sitting on the sidelines with injury last season Tavares Washington returns to the starting lineup.  A large blocker who combines athleticism and strength, Washington will be used at guard and could move into the middle rounds should he meet the expectations of NFL scouts.  

Defensively the team offers a pair of solid underclassmen up front and another at linebacker.  Tackle Marcus Thomas plays with a good degree of explosion and is a sudden defender who flashes ability.  Undersized, Thomas is handled at point and does not go hard once initially blocked.  Thomas offers first day potential if he pulls the pieces together.  The same can be said for Ray McDonald.  A talented player consistently disrupting the opponent's game plan, McDonald flashes brilliance yet does not play on a consistent level.  Another with good upside, the ability to handle the disciplined style of Urban Meyer could help him significantly improve his draft stock.  Linebacker Earl Everett is a solid weak side prospect with great range in pass coverage.  Not instinctive or decisive, Everett must take his game to another level.  Safety Jarvis Herring is one to watch as the senior flashes ability but needs to be a consistent force.

Florida Prospect List

 Name Pos Yr #
Dallas Baker WR 4Sr 81
Lance Butler G 5Sr 72
Andre Caldwell WR 3Jr 9
Mike Degory C 5Sr 68
Earl Everett OLB 3Jr 30
Randy Hand T 4Sr 74
Jarvis Herring S 5Sr 46
Chad Jackson WR 3Jr 8
Chris Leak QB 3Jr 12
Ray McDonald DT 4Jr 95
Marcus Thomas DT 3Jr 44
Tavares Washington G 6Sr 76


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