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Former Gators get another shot at NFL Draft tonight



With the second and third rounds of the NFL Draft scheduled for tonight, former Gator RB Chris Rainey and DT Jaye Howard will still be among the former college players hoping to hear their names called.

No Florida players were selected in Thursday night's first round for the first time since 2006, but both Rainey and Howard are the players draft analyst believe are the most likely selections from Florida in this year's draft. Whether they have a chance to be selected in either of tonight's rounds remains to be seen.

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper, Jr., said he's confident both will be drafted.

"When you look at Rainey, I think there’s speed and versatility, and he gives you the ability to do some things with him in this game,'' Kiper Jr said. "This is today’s football. Today’s NFL is different. When you get a kid you can move around like Rainey can be moved around in offense and present some real matchup issues with his speed and help you on special teams, as well, I think he’s a third, fourth rounder.  I thought that all along.  Jeff Demps would have been in that third round mix certainly if he wasn’t pursuing another sport other than football.''

Kiper Jr. said there have been some issues surrounding Howard, but he still believes an NFL team will take a chance. Most likely, not tonight.

"Howard, we were always waiting,'' he said. "I talked to people in August. We kept waiting for him to really come on. He had the ankle sprain as a junior. This year he’s a starter ― but more productive, you’ve got to give him credit. He did produce better this year. He had almost six sacks, five, six sacks. So the guy did produce.  He had some games where he kind of made some things happen. You go back to the Georgia game, you go back to the Vanderbilt game, the Florida State game, so he did some things a little bit more impressive than he had been during his career. But game to game, at 6-3, over 300 pounds, I think what he’s got to do at the pro level is get a little stronger in the weight room and be coached up technique wise, and if he is, then maybe in the fifth, sixth round you get yourself a kid who as a defensive tackle can help you. I’d say midday three for Howard, I’d say probably early day three, late day two for Rainey.''

[Last modified: Friday, April 27, 2012 12:05pm]


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