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03/02/2011 - NFL COMBINE FALLER: Ahmad Black, SS, Florida: With his spectacular play in the SEC and Senior Bowl fresh on the mind of scouts, many were willing to overlook Black's size (5-9, 184 pounds). Some Cover-2 teams even were projecting the ball-hawking playmaker as a zone cornerback. Running in the mid-4.7 range at the combine, however, likely makes Black a liability in coverage at either position. He'll have a chance to address speed questions ??? as top cornerback Joe Haden did after a slower than expected 40 time at the 2010 combine ??? at Florida's March 15 pro day. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com

Overview

Mischaracterized as too small and slow by most recruiters, Black emerged as a surprise star as a true sophomore for the Gators in 2008, leading the team with seven interceptions and earning second-team All-SEC honors from league coaches after switching from cornerback to strong safety.

Black had 11 career interceptions and tied for the national lead with seven in 2008. He has a history of making big plays against top competition. He stripped the ball from Oklahoma wideout Juaquin Iglesias for a momentum-swinging interception of 2010 No. 1 overall pick Sam Bradford in the 2009 BCS Championship game. Earlier that season he intercepted a pass and returned it 64 yards against 2009 No. 1 overall pick Matt Stafford.

In a tough season for Florida, Black's consistency and leadership stood out. His reliability as an open-field tackler and penchant for big plays won't be lost on NFL scouts. The instinctive defender might not be drafted in the first round, but his ability to step up his level of play against elite talent won't be overlooked.

Analysis

Read & React: Has very good instincts for the position. Reads the eyes of the quarterback and has good route-recognition skills. Good agility and straight-line speed for the position. Was recruited as a cornerback and only asked to move to safety at Florida to take advantage of his instincts, reliable open-field tackling and ball skills.

Man Coverage: Rare coverage skills for the position due to his quick feet, balance, agility and straight-line speed. Is an obvious matchup concern due to his lack of height. Makes up for his lack of preferred size against bigger athletes with his competitive fire and coverage skills, but is overmatched against most tight ends.

Zone Coverage: Has a smooth, low backpedal and typically maintains cushion before he is forced to change direction. Demonstrates the fluid hips and quick feet to turn and run efficiently without losing ground. Alert zone defender with good route recognition. Reads the eyes of the quarterback and gets good breaks on the ball.

Closing/Recovery: Plays with good straight-line speed and agility and shows the late burst to close, especially downhill. Can be too aggressive attacking the ball. With his lack of preferred height, he focuses so much attention on leaping to make the interception that he leaves the receiver available to break free. Good timing and leaping ability. Good hand-eye coordination to slap away or intercept passes. Often is able to make up for his lack of height with his ability to high-point the ball.

Run Support: While not as big as scouts would like, shows good physicality and toughness in taking on and discarding blocks from receivers. Good agility to elude and balance to avoid cut blocks. Willing to crash down in the box and makes plays near the line of scrimmage. Squirts through gaps and is a generally a reliable open-field tackler.

Tackling: Provides surprising pop for his size. Very good agility to break down in space and make the secure stop. Doesn't shy away from contact with big ballcarriers. Can resort to duck-and-swipe tackles against bigger men, but wraps his arms securely around their legs to knock them over efficiently.

Intangibles: Considered leaving Florida after his junior season, but elected to return in part because of the SEC Championship loss to Alabama that he characterized as "embarrassing." Considered quitting football during his freshman season but credits position coach and co-coordinator Chuck Heater for convincing him to stay with the team. Elected a team captain in 2010.

Career Notes

Black, the 2011 Outback Bowl MVP, finished his career with 13 interceptions, which is tied for fourth most in school history. The three-year starter also notched 244 total tackles, including 14 tackles for loss. He is tied for second on the SEC's all-time list with three interception returns for a touchdown and fourth in SEC history with 362 yards in interception returns.

Copyright NFLDraftScout.com, distributed by The Sports Xchange

Edited by jetfan718
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so he ran a 4.7 at his pro day. Does anyone care?

the guy did make plays on the field...

I care. He should pretty much be off our radar for our earlier picks. I don't know where he is going to grade out, but it's hard to believe he's going to be a huge upgrade over Leonhard when he is not physically superior. Doesn't mean I wouldn't like to have him around, but he's getting to Donovan Warren, Brandon Jackson territory. Did he stand on his other numbers? I had read that his cone figures were pretty good.

Edited by #27TheDominator
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The last thing I want with our first pick is another DB.

I don't think anybody was ever talking about drafting a 5'8" 4.7 safety in the first round. sh*t. I just described myself! Well, maybe 4.8. Even the initial posts loving the guy were talking about our 3rd or 4th. Now we are looking at 5,6,7 or UDFA. He supposedly looked good at the senior bowl.

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The last thing I want with our first pick is another DB.

Dom handled this question, but what does "Bray own Brantley in SEC" mean...just curious.

I don't think anybody was ever talking about drafting a 5'8" 4.7 safety in the first round. sh*t. I just described myself! Well, maybe 4.8. Even the initial posts loving the guy were talking about our 3rd or 4th. Now we are looking at 5,6,7 or UDFA. He supposedly looked good at the senior bowl.

Feel bad for the kid. Dont get his slow times knowing he's run faster times. I hope we can steal him late, I'm confident he'll be a player in the NFL...but he definitely hasnt helped himself. Hopefully the scouts take Mayock's philosophy...if the numbers dont add up, just watch the tape. If teams do that, Black might get lucky and not slide all the way down to the last 2 rounds.

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