Last year I was able to attend the Florida Gators Pro Day and give you guys an in depth look at how the Colts were scouting players, but unfortunately the rainy weather here in Gainesville today kept most of the events inside and only to authorized media personnel.
Regardless, I wanted to at least share with you some of the info I have gotten from some friends I have in the media:
Participants (sorry for sideways photo):
The Colts are reportedly taking a hard look at some of the Defensive Backs from Florida. With a glaring hole at Free Safety and still some work to be done at Cornerback, this makes a lot of sense. Here is a picture of the Colts (and I apologize for not knowing what coaches/scouts they are) who are taking lead working out some of the DB's:
Here are the recorded 40 times for all participants:
WR Patton at 4.31.
DB Roberson at 4.58.
DB Purifoy at 4.53.
MLB Kitchens at 4.53.
NT Jacobs at 5.11.
OL Koehne at 5.66.
The three players that the Colts are most likely interested in out of this group are Jaylen Watkins, Loucheiz Purifoy, and Marcus Roberson. Watkins would fit the Colts needs the most right now, having played mostly Free Safety but also some Cornerback. He had an outstanding NFL combine, and should be projected right around the Colts 3rd round pick, but also could fall into the 4th with such a deep draft this year. Similar predictions are made for both Purifoy and Roberson.
Here are the scouting reports from NFL.com for each of the three:
STRENGTHS Good size and nice body length. Transitions efficiently and shows nice plant-and-drive quickness. Flashes ball skills to break up plays. Has punt-return experience -- can elude the first tackler and gain what’s blocked.
WEAKNESSES Needs to bulk up and get functionally stronger. Struggles with bigger, stronger receivers. Lacks elite top-end speed to keep pace with burners. Anticipation and route recognition are lacking. Susceptible to double moves. Tends to clutch and grab when he’s beat. Inconsistent ball reactions. Poor tackler. Recorded just 34 tackles the last two seasons. Started 18 of 30 career games. Durability has been an issue -- missed three games in 2011 (neck) and '13 (knee). Was suspended two games as a junior.
DRAFT PROJECTION Rounds 2-3
BOTTOM LINE Lean, athletic, finesse cornerback who did not elevate his game in 2013 when injuries, suspension and inconsistency marred his junior season. Is best deployed in off-man or zone and could develop into a No. 2 or No. 3 corner if he regains his sophomore form, though he lacks desirable instincts and tackling ability.
STRENGTHS Outstanding athleticism. Nice length, speed and fluidity. Light on his feet. Transitions smoothly. Can flip his hips and carry receivers deep. Flashes playmaking ability. Good hands to intercept. Tries to strip the ball out. Has special-teams experience returning and covering kicks -- was productive as a gunner earlier in his career. Conditioned, confident and competitive. Has upside.
WEAKNESSES Needs to get functionally stronger to jam/re-route and shed blocks. Gives up separation at the break point and gets outmuscled at the catch point. Inconsistent, leaky, underpowered tackler. Instincts and anticipation are lacking. Technique needs to be coached up -- opens the gate and gets beat off the snap. Leaves production on the field -- in position, but doesn’t make the play. Questionable tackle and ball production -- registered just 24 tackles as a junior and logged just 12 PBUs and two INTs from 2012-13. Marginal run strength as a returner. Shared reps as a junior.
DRAFT PROJECTION Rounds 3-4
BOTTOM LINE Lean, fluid, fast, finesse cover man whose raw physical ability and testing numbers belie frustratingly uneven performance. Has starter-caliber athleticism and will buoy his stock when the stopwatches come out, but poor instincts, tackling and tape are reasons for pause.
STRENGTHS Nice size for a cornerback. Good fluidity and movement skills. Alert in zones. Flashes some playmaking ability. Versatile -- lines up as a corner, safety and nickel defender and plays on all special teams. Brother, Sammy, projects as a top-10 pick.
WEAKNESSES Thin-framed, small-boned and short-armed with minimal muscular development. Lacks ideal size and strength for a safety and quickness and burst for a corner. Average press strength to re-route receivers. Allows separation at break points -- late to transition out of his pedal. Too grabby. Selective hitter -- shows up in spurts. Not a physical tackler. Tends to propel his shoulder into ball carriers and needs to do a better job securing tackles.
DRAFT PROJECTION Rounds 4-5
BOTTOM LINE A fluid, loose-hipped, versatile cover man who projects to a No. 3 or No. 4 corner in the pros, Watkins could most ideally fit in the slot, with enough physicality to defend the run and fine short-area cover skills to match up with shifty receivers.
Some other guys that interest me are Dominique Easley and Damien Jacobs. Jacobs played most NT for Florida, and was very good at eating up blockers. Not known for his tackling skills and could very well be an UDFA signing. NT is considered a Colt need still. Easley is an interesting prospect. At the start of the 2013 season, he was projected as a top-15 draft pick. Watch this guys highlights below, he is an absolute animal who has a knack for quick acceleration and getting pressure on the Quarterback, consistently. Two ACL injuries are a big red flag on him, which is why he dropped quite a bit to a 4th round projection, but he is a known leader who can make a major difference when healthy. Something to consider if he drops and other Colts needs are taken care of (C, FS, NT, WR).