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Wednesday will be the most important day in the pro futures for several
former Seminoles. For others, FSU's annual Pro Day will provide an opportunity to enhance their status in the eyes of NFL coaches and scouts.
Starting at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, more than a dozen former Seminoles will
take part in several performance and strength tests inside Doak Campbell
Stadium. Pro Day will run for approximately four hours and conclude with
position drills where each player will be evaluated individually within his
designated position group.
Unlike the last two years, it's looking like FSU may not have a first round
selection in the draft. However, a couple players - Zebrie Sanders and
Nigel Bradham - have a good shot of being picked in the first few
Sanders, a four-year starter on FSU's offensive line, is the odds on
favorite to be the first Seminole selected in April's NFL Draft. Some early
projections had the 6-foot-5, 320-pound tackle falling late in the first round
but a poor showing at this year's Senior Bowl, where he struggled against some
elite defenisve end prospects, probably dropped him to the second or even third
A strong showing on Wednesday could give the former Eagle Scout a boost in
the draft. While it's unlikely that the All-ACC tackle will to do enough to
make himself a first round pick, he could solidify a spot early in the second
round since starting tackles are coveted by the NFL.
Unlike Sanders, Bradham's draft stock has been on rise since the conclusion
of his senior season. A three-year starter for FSU, Bradham displayed an improved
ability in pass coverage at the Senior Bowl and followed that up with some
impressive testing numbers at last month's NFL Scouting Combine. Those numbers
included a top five finish for linebackers in the 40-yard dash (4.64) and
vertical jump (37 inches).
Because he tested so well in Indianapolis, it's likely that Bradham, FSU's tackle
leader for the past three seasons, will skip most of the performance tests
administered at Pro Day. However, he is still expected to participate in the
position drills run by NFL personnel at the end of Pro Day. At that
time, Bradham could further reinforce his improved ability to keep up with
backs and tight ends in pass coverage. Most draft gurus predict that Bradham
will fall somewhere in the third round but after the combine there are some
whispers that he could possibly work his way into being a late second round
Another Seminole who could really help his cause on Wednesday is defensive
back Mike Harris. The junior college transfer was a solid contributor
in Mark Stoops' secondary the past two seasons and displayed a knack for making
plays. Despite Harris' production on the field, his average size (5-10, 188)
and below average testing numbers at the NFL Scouting Combine (4.68 40 yard dash)
have probably dropped the Miami native into the back end of the draft.
The unconfirmed reports that Harris ran the 40-yard dash in the 4.3-range
during FSU's testing session last year are a far cry from his 4.68 time at the
NFL Combine. Cutting a tenth or two off of his official 40-time at Wednesday's
Pro Day could do wonder's for his draft stock. In any event, the best case
scenario for Harris is probably the fifth or sixth round.
Despite a fantastic college career that included leading the country in punting
average and earning consensus All-America honors as a senior, it may be an uphill battle
for Shawn Powell to get drafted. Traditionally, punters are rarely
taken in the draft and those that are picked up show up in the late rounds. In
fact, not a single punter was selected in the 2011 draft. However, given his
exceptional abilities there is still a chance that Powell could be an exception
to this general rule.
Whether or not Powell decides to take part in the testing phase of Pro Day,
the scouts will be much more focused on how quickly he gets off punts, his hang
time and distance during his individual workout. Those factors will weigh
most heavily in the evaluation process.
Several other former players such as Ty Jones, Ja'Baris Little, Andrew Datko,
Terrance Parks, Bert Reed, Beau Reliford and Jermaine Thomas are scheduled to
take part in Pro Day. However, being picked up as a free agent is probably the
best case scenario for these six former 'Noles. A solid performance on
Wednesday, could really help the stock of players like Parks and Reed. Both
have a decent chance of catching on as NFL free agents.
Expected FSU Participants