Players work out at Florida in rainy conditions
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) A dozen University of Florida football players and several from area colleges participated during the Gators’ pro day under rainy, cool conditions in front of representatives from all 32 NFL teams.
Players went through weight drills and then ran the 40-yard dash on the indoor track of the O’Connell Center. Several players slipped at the starting line and some ran barefoot for better traction.
Several Florida players were looking to make a better showing than they did at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis last month. Defensive backs Marcus Roberson and Loucheiz Purifoy had been mentioned as possible first-round selections. But both players only managed a best 40-time of 4.61 at the combine, a relatively slow time for a defensive back. Roberson, running barefoot, and Purifoy ran the 40 on Monday. Unofficial clocks in the stands had both players with faster times than their combine time, but official results were not released.
Most of the NFL executives who were in attendance left the Gators practice field opting not to talk about the workouts they had just watched.
”The weather was a factor but we take that into account with these guys,” said James ”Shack” Harris, senior personnel executive with the Detroit Lions.
Defensive end Dominque Easley tore his ACL three games into the 2013 season and missed the Gators’ final nine games. He didn’t take part in any of the drills on Monday but instead will have a private workout for teams in mid-April. He feels he’s made good progress since the injury.
Ronald Powell, who missed the entire 2012 season when he also tore his ACL, came back to play 11 games with eight starts at defensive end his senior season last fall.
”I feel I did well out there today,” he said. ”I had pulled a hamstring at the Combine and didn’t perform as well as I had hoped to. The chance to show the scouts I could do better at the position drills and other things was big for me today.”
Florida head coach Will Muschamp was on hand and watched his former players perform well despite the adverse conditions.
”You play football in the rain,” Muschamp said. ”None of our guys belly-ache. They go work and I’m proud of them for our effort.”
Muschamp had praise for two of his senior receivers.
”Solomon (Patton) and Trey (Burton) both looked great catching the football out there,” the Gators coach added. ”Solomon will fit in with some team. He’s a big-time kickoff returner and one of the better kickoff guys.”
Muschamp also downplayed the perceived slow times for Roberson and Purifoy at the Combine.
”A lot of the comments I get from (NFL) scouts is that these guys play faster than what their times are,” Muschamp said.
Other former Gator players participating in the workouts for NFL personnel were offensive linemen Jon Halapio, Jon Harrison and Kyle Koehne, linebacker Darrin Kitchens, defensive lineman Damien Jacobs and defensive back Jaylen Watkins.
Mike Zimmer of the Minnesota Vikings was the only known head coach in attendance.