Normally Florida and Florida State are loaded with elite prospects. This year? Not so much. There aren’t any 1st rounders on either team. I don’t see any 2nd rounders. This is highly unusual stuff.
* Florida’s best offensive prospect is RB Chris Rainey. I really enjoyed watching him. He’s small at 5’9, 175, but don’t be fooled by that. This isn’t a finesse guy who’s scared of contact. My favorite play from him came on a play-action pass. Rainey executed the fake and then stopped just before the LOS. There weren’t any defenders leaking through the blockers in front of him. He quickly turned to the right and saw a CB blitzing. Rainey flew over and hit the guy in the side. That hit sent the CB tumbling. That play showed great awareness and toughness.
Rainey reportedly runs a sub-4.4 40. That speed shows up on the field. Get him out in the open and he can make things happen. The reason I like Rainey is that he’s more than just a speed guy. He will run between the tackles. He runs hard. Isn’t shy of contact. Rainey has very good feet and can make dynamic cuts.
Rainey is a good runner, blocker, and receiver. He was 69-795-6 as a pass catcher. Has good hands. Can snatch the ball. He has added value as a STer. Rainey blocked 6 kicks in his career. Good PR (2 TDs) and KOR (25 yards per return).
He’s only a role player in the NFL, but could be very good because he’s willing to do the things a role player needs to (block, play STs, etc.). Rainey does have an off-field concern. He was thrown off the team after being arrested for “aggravated stalking” when there was an incident between him and a long time girlfriend. Teams will need to find out if that is an anomaly or if he’s got issues beyond that. Rainey will be a mid-round pick (if things check out). Very interested to see him run at the Combine.
* Florida’s best defensive prospect is DT Jaye Howard. I’ll be honest. I need to watch more tape of him. I’m highly confused. In the 1st half of the FSU game, Howard was a pedestrian player. Then it was as if someone told him at halftime “Yo Jaye, you do know scouts will watch this tape, right? You do know this game counts?”
Howard came out and played much, much better in the 2nd half. He finished the game with 5 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and some big QB hits beyond that. I liked the guy I saw in the 2nd half.
Howard lists at 6’3, 303. He is strong enough to be a good bull-rusher. In the 2nd half of the game, he showed some athleticism. Has some quickness off the ball. Runs well in space. Will hustle in pursuit.
I didn’t see a player who consistently sheds blocks. I didn’t see consistent effort. There was a goal line play where Howard was blown off the ball way too easily. I don’t think of him as a starter in the NFL. He could be effective in a rotation, but Howard must learn how to use his hands and must go all out more consistently.
* Zebrie Sanders is the LT for FSU. 4 year starter. Started off at RT, but shifted to the left side when Andrew Datko got hurt. Sanders is 6’6, 307. Good run blocker. Not a good pass blocker. I was not impressed at all with his pass protection. Gave up a sack and had a holding call. Got beat several other times. Doesn’t look natural with his kick slide. Also struggles to engage the rusher with his hands while his feet are moving. Tends to plant and reach, which isn’t a good thing.
Sanders will fire off the ball on run plays. He can handle DL, but is mobile enough to get up to the second level and handle LBs. Good effort. Will block to the whistle.
Sanders can be a RT in the NFL is a coach is able to get him to move his hands and feet independent of each other. He has the size and raw athleticism to be a starter. Does need work. I do wonder if he’d be better in a system where he wasn’t retreating as much in pass pro.
* The FSU defender I was focused on was LB Nigel Bradham. I wasn’t all that impressed. He really struggles to get off blocks. There were some plays when he couldn’t get free. The whistle would blow and the OL would finally let up and that’s when Bradham got loose.
I do like his athleticism. Good space player. Has good feet. Moves well. Good COD. Looks like someone who could excel in coverage. He did pick off 2 passes this year and break up 5 others. Bradham was only in on 2 tackles in the game so I didn’t get much of a feel for him as a tackler. I’ll watch more tape, but I was disappointed overall.
* One FSU guy I’d never heard of did catch my eye. CB Mike Harris is a JC transfer who flew under the radar in the last 2 years. Interesting guy.
Played outside and in the slot. Mainly played off coverage. Looks pretty athletic, but didn’t get a feel for his speed. Good tackler. Had 6 TFLs and 1 sack this year. 43 solo stops (good for a CB). Willing run defender. Lists at 5’11, 195.
Picked off 5 passes in 2 years. UF QB John Brantley floated a deep ball down the left side to a WR who was double covered. Harris was on a different receiver, but saw the ball and broke on it. Picked it off inside the 10 yard line and ran it down the sideline 89 yards. Couldn’t quite get in the endzone. That play showed good awareness. Harris looks like he could be very good in zone. I need to watch him vs a legit passing attack to get a better feel for his man cover skills.
Late round type of prospect, but the kind of guy who could sneak in the league and stay for a long time.