Seventeen University of Florida football players participated in its annual Pro Day on Wednesday.
Offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor, safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson and defensive end Jachai Polite were among those who worked out for scouts of all 32 NFL teams, including New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick.
Many notable UF draft prospects reported injuries, including Taylor (hamstring), Polite (hamstring), offensive tackle Martez Ivey (calf), and linebacker Vosean Joseph (hamstring), but all participated in their on-field workouts.
Here are a few of the highlights from UF’s most high-profile participants:
The top-10 prospect from Cocoa, Florida, put up 24 reps on the 225-pound bench, the same mark he achieved at the NFL Combine.
Taylor weighed in at 314 pounds, a couple pounds heavier than his combine weight (312 pounds).
However, he said he has worked down from his 2018 season weight of 325 since beginning training at EXOS in Pensacola, Florida.
He also participated in blocking drills.
“I felt like I had a good performance in positional work,” Taylor said. “I’ve just been working hard every day since I left Florida, I guess it’s paying off for me.”
Taylor said he has plans to meet with five more teams, including the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Buffalo Bills. Jacksonville (No. 7 overall) and Buffalo (No. 9 overall) are both projected landing spots for Taylor according to the four latest mock drafts NFL.com.
The Daytona Beach, Florida, native cited a hamstring issue as a continuing hindrance in his path to the pros, despite going to rehab. He incurred the injury 10 days before the Combine while training to run the 40-yard dash.
“I felt all right. I still felt my hamstring,” Polite said. “I didn't feel 100, but I felt good enough to compete.”
Polite unofficially ran a 4.95 on Pro Day, slower than his 4.84 from the NFL Combine. He had a pack of ice wrapped to his leg after the 40 but proceeded to participate in coverage drills.
He has decreased his weight from 258 to 254 pounds since Indianapolis, and he’s approaching his target weight of 250.
“I had to prove that I could come out here and compete 'cause it wasn't that good of a Combine for me, which we all know,” Polite said. “I just wanted to get out there with my teammates for one last time.”
Joseph, along with running back Jordan Scarlett and safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, did not run the 40-yard dash at Pro Day, but he ran the 20-yard shuttle.
Joseph was also dealing with a hamstring injury that he sustained in his pre-NFL Draft training, but he did participate in position drills.
He said he has visits scheduled with numerous NFL teams but doesn’t have an idea of which team he’d fit best with.
"Whoever wanna draft Vosean Joseph, just draft him and you gonna get a dog,” he said. “That's how I see it."
Jefferson cited nerves as a reason for his poor Combine performance earlier this month, where he ran a 5.02 in the 40-yard dash, a 7.50 three-cone drill and a 4.53 in the 20-yard shuttle.
The Glen St. Mary, Florida, native weighed in at 260 pounds on Wednesday after coming in at nearly 270 at the Combine.
“I didn't even know I was that heavy,” Jefferson said of his Combine weight. “Between then and now I've lost six pounds … I feel I helped myself out today. I felt like I improved tremendously.”
Jefferson ran an unofficial 4.95 at Pro Day, and he also participated in defensive line drills with Polite and defensive tackle Khairi Clark.
Jefferson said he felt faster in his 40 and that his hips felt fluid in his drills.
“At the combine I really didn't do my best,” Jefferson said. “I felt like I would come out here and try to prove a little bit and I feel like I have had a pretty successful day. I got some pretty positive feedback from the coaches so everything so far so good.”
Follow Alanis Thames on Twitter @alanisthames and contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow Mark Stine on Twitter @mstinejr and contact him at email@example.com.
Florida edge rusher Jachai Polite spoke to reporters after his Pro Day on Wednesday. "I had to prove that I could come out here and compete 'cause it wasn't that good of a Combine for me, which we all know," he said.