The pro futures for several former Seminoles will hang in the balance on Thursday.
Starting at 10 a.m. on Florida State's band field, which is carpeted with synthetic turf, several players will complete several performance tests and drills for NFL scouts and coaches. While there are 13 former players scheduled to participate, only a handful have a realistic shot at being drafted next month.
Leading the list of NFL prospects is Patrick Robinson. If Florida State is going to have a player drafted in the first round for the first time since Lawrence Timmons in 2007, it will be the speedy cornerback.
At last month's NFL Scouting Combine, Robinson finished among the top five for cornerbacks in the 40-yard dash (4.42) and the vertical jump (39"). Despite a pretty good showing in Indianapolis, his stock appears to have slipped a bit. Most mock drafts now project that Robinson will fall early in the second round. But if he is able to pull of a sub-4.4 40 time on Thursday that could help push him back into round one.
Of all the former 'Noles that will be attendance, Dekoda Watson probably has the least to prove. The athletic linebacker followed up a solid effort at the Senior Bowl by tearing up last month's Combine. Watson, who checked in at 6'1" and 240 pounds, posted a 4.56-second 40-yard dash, a 40-inch Vertical leap, a 4.11-second shuttle time, and a 11.35-second 60-yard shuttle. All of those results ranked in the top three for the linebackers that participated in the Combine.
While there are differences of opinion on where Watson will land in the draft, his stock is undoubtedly on the rise. If there's a knock on the South Carolina native, it isn't his athleticism, it's his durability. Over his junior and senior seasons he fought through hamstring, groin and elbow injuries. Nevertheless, there is some talk that he could possibly find his way into the second round even though a third or fourth round pick is more likely.
Based on how well he performed at last month's Combine, Watson told Warchant.com that he will limit his participation to the 40-yard dash, L-drill and position drills.
The player with possibly the most to gain is Jamie Robinson. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound safety hasn't received the same kind of draft buzz as some other Seminole defenders but he is very athletic and has excellent size. Thursday's Pro Day should provide the South Carolina native with a golden opportunity to show scouts that he is a draftable prospect.
Having 24 career starts at Florida State should help his cause but playing for one of the nation's worst secondaries last season could knock him out of the draft and force him to go the free agent route. However, that could change with a strong showing on Thursday.
FSU Pro Day Schedule
9:15:00 AM Evaluation of Athletes
(Viewing, Ht, Wt, reach, hand)
ON THE BAND FIELD
10:00:00 AM 40 yd dash
10:30:00 AM Complete 40 timing
10:35:00 AM OL/DL/TE/LB- (Pro Agility)
RB/DB/WR- (3 cone drill) (2 runs)
11:00:00 AM OL/DL/TE/LB- (Vertical Jump)
RB/DB/WR- (Broad Jump)
11:30:00 AM Bench Press
12:00:00 PM Position Drills
One of the more interesting players scheduled to be in attendance is Caz Piurowski. After getting off to a tremendous start to his senior season, the tight end from Land 'O Lakes (FL) tore his right ACL in the sixth game forcing him to undergo season-ending surgery.
With his 6-foot-7 and 270-pound frame, and considering how well he played before being injured, he has all the tools to be a draftable prospect. The only holdup will be his surgically-repaired knee. From all indications he is ahead of schedule with his rehabilitation but will not take part in most of Thursday's performance tests and drills. As a result, it may be stretch for him to get drafted in April. However, a free agent contract is not out of the question should he get a clean bill of health from NFL doctors.
Myron Rolle and Preston Parker are two draft eligible former 'Noles that are not expected to be in attendance. Rolle, a Rhodes Scholar, is back at Oxford continuing his studies but is expected to hold a private workout for NFL scouts before next month's draft.
Other players that could perform well in testing but will probably have to go the free agent route include Richard Goodman, Louis Givens and Rod Owens. Kendrick Stewart, Budd Thacker, Korey Mangum, Recardo Wright, Justin Mincey and Zack Aronson are also scheduled to participate.
Unlike previous Pro Days, prospects from other schools and former FSU players that are more than a year out of school will not be part of Thursday's activities.
Gene Williams is the founder and administrator of Warchant.com and writes stories and features covering all of FSU's sports with an emphasis on football and football recruiting. For seven years, Williams hosted a weekly sports radio show in Tallahassee. He currently appears as a weekly guest on 1010 XL Sports Radio in Jacksonville and 1270 The Team in Tallahassee during football season. Williams is also a former ACC correspondent for College Football News (weekly national newspaper), and contributes to The Osceola. Story about Gene Williams & Warchant.com.