Pictures of RB Dalvin Cook at the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine - presented by Florida Hospital.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers haven't had to leave the state to find their last two first-round draft picks. Could they make it three years in a row with, say, Florida State running back Dalvin Cook or Florida cornerback Teez Tabor? At the very least, Buccaneer scouts got a close look at those two and many other blue-chip draft prospects on Tuesday as the Pro Day circuit swept through northern Florida.
The Buccaneers are slated to pick 19th in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. In 2015, they used the first overall pick to select Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston. Last spring, they nabbed Florida cornerback Vernon Hargreaves with the 11th selection in the opening round. Both Winston and Hargreaves are considered foundational players for a Buccaneers team on the rise. The next round of Seminole and Gator NFL prospects, including Cook and Tabor, took part in heavily-attended workouts on Tuesday.
An NFL scout could log a lot of frequent flyer miles here in the last week of March trying to get to as many big-school Pro Days as possible. The next few days, however, will offer a lot of opportunities close to home for Buccaneer reps. In addition to the Gator and Seminole workouts in Gainesville and Tallahassee on Tuesday, Florida A&M also put its prospects on display in Tallahassee. On Wednesday, scouts can head south to Miami to see workouts for the Hurricanes as well as Florida International. On Thursday, Florida Atlantic will hold its Pro Day in Boca Raton.
The biggest draw at the FSU Pro Day was running back Dalvin Cook, who is considered a strong candidate to hear his name called in the first round on April 27. Cook turned in a relatively underwhelming performance at the Combine, though his 4.49-second 40-yard dash was in line with the other top backs. His two 40-yard dash attempts on Tuesday in Tallahasse roughly bracketed his Combine result.
FSU offensive tackle Rod Johnson and defensive end DeMarcus Walker are also potential picks in the first two days of the draft. The 281-pound Walker, who recorded 16.0 sacks last year, may have bumped his stock into more solid first-round territory with a 4.76-second 40-yard dash. Buccaneers National Scout Byron Kiefer was on hand to take in the Seminoles' workout first-hand.
Tabor is one of a handful of Gators who are showing up in the early rounds of mock drafts. He is part of a deep but difficult-to-rank group of cornerbacks in this year's class, so a strong Pro Day showing had the possibility of significantly helping his stock. In particular, he had a chance on Tuesday to improve upon the 4.62-second 40-yard dash he ran in Indianapolis. Tabor clocked well in the 20-yard shuttle drill, which shows quickness in change-of-direction – obviously a key for a cornerback – but he did not improve upon his 40 time.
Other well-regarded prospects at the Florida Pro Day included cornerback Quincy Wilson, linebacker Jarrad Davis, defensive tackle Caleb Brantley, linebacker Alex Anzalone and safety Marcus Maye.
Davis, already surrounded by his own first-round buzz, put on a very strong showing in Gainesville, with a 4.56-second 40-yard dash, a 38.5-inch vertical leap and a broad jump of 10 feet, nine inches. He had declined to perform in the Combine drills as he was still recovering from an ankle injury sustained during the 2016 season. Maye also did not work out at the Combine but potentially helped himself Tuesday with a 4.48-second 40-yard dash.