NFL Combine Football

Florida defensive back C J Henderson runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Sunday, March 1, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

The NFL Scouting Combine has become an opportunity, in the past few years, for draft prospects to improve their stock before the NFL Draft at the end of April.

Participants complete physical and mental tests in front of scouts, coaches and general managers.

And over the past week, eight Gators players were selected to travel to Indianapolis to compete.

The week did not get off to a good start for wide receiver Van Jefferson. Before the combine began, doctors revealed he had a Jones fracture in his right foot. The injury was found during the combine physical and forced him to miss the combine. He is getting surgery in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and will miss 6-8 weeks.

In a draft with a deep wide receiver class, Jefferson’s injury will probably cause him to move down draft boards. He was expected to be picked on day two, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The two biggest winners for the orange and blue at the combine were cornerback C.J. Henderson and defensive end Jabari Zuniga.

Henderson posted the No. 3 40-yard dash score at his position. He also finished fifth among CBs in the vertical jump at 37.5 inches and tied for ninth at the broad jump at 10 feet, 7 inches. Finally, he had 20 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press.

Zuniga put up impressive numbers for his position as well. His 40-yard dash score, 4.64, was No. 2 among defensive lineman and his broad jump, 10 feet and 7 inches, was the top score at his position.

Elsewhere, UF’s other wide receivers – Tyrie Cleveland and Freddie Swain – put up numbers that ranked in the top 15 for their position.

Both Cleveland and Swain ran the 40-yard dash in 4.46 seconds, tying for 13th. Cleveland finished with 13 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press and had a vertical jump of 39.5 inches and a broad jump of 126 inches.

Swain, meanwhile, completed 16 reps, had a vertical jump of 36.5 inches and a broad jump of 124 inches.

Florida’s lone running back, Lamical Perine, came into the combine as the No. 22 running back, according to NFL.com. He ran a 4.62 on the 40 and had a vertical jump of 35 inches and a broad jump of 118 inches. His 22 reps ranked eighth out of the running backs.

The Gators’ third defensive player, Jonathan Greenard, had his best marks in the three-cone drill – 7.13 seconds – and the 20-yard shuttle – 4.34 seconds. His drill score ranked second and his shuttle score ranked third among defensive linemen.

Finally, UF punter Tommy Townsend’s 40-yard finish, 4.75, put him second out of five specialists. However, due to his smaller frame, he is still unlikely to hear his name called at next month’s draft.

Gators draft prospects will have another opportunity to wow scouts at Florida’s pro day, which will be on March 31. The NFL Draft will take place in Las Vegas on April 23-25.

Follow Noah on Twitter @Noah_ram1 and contact him at [email protected].

Noah Ram is the gymnastics beat writer. He previously covered men's and women's tennis. He is a sophomore majoring in journalism and this is his third semester at The Alligator.