The Cincinnati Bengals were one 32 NFL teams present for the Florida Gators' Pro Day on Tuesday, marking the end to major pro days for the year -- Syracuse is holding their pro day on Tuesday as well but have closed the session to the media. UTEP is scheduled for April 9.
Despite their dreadful regular season performances in recent seasons, Florida has sustained enough talent to generate buzz for top-flight prospects. The Bengals, doing their "due-diligence", could obviously express interest in several Gators but it's unlikely that they'll have an opportunity to draft Dante Fowler, who is arguably the best pass-rusher in this year's draft. Fowler led the Gators with 15 tackles for loss, 17 quarterback hurries and had 8.5 sacks this past season.
Fowler told reporters on Tuesday that he has an scheduled visits with the Jacksonville Jaguars (Wednesday), Tennessee Titans (Thursday), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Friday) and the Atlanta Falcons (Sunday). ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr has Fowler going to the Jacksonville Jaguars at No. 3 overall while Todd McShay is sending him to the Washington Redskins at No. 5. According to NFL media reporter, Fowler accepted an invitation to attend the NFL draft in Chicago later this month.
There's nearly no chance Fowler falls to the Bengals.
Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin and New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles were the only head coaches on hand for Florida's pro day, with Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert and linebackers coach Joey Porter joining Tomlin. According to reports, running back Matt Jones, who ran a 4.53 40-yard dash on Tuesday, had dinner with Tomlin and Colbert earlier this week.
In a moment of humorous irony, former South Carolina player Stephen Garcia was the quarterback – largely (and perhaps humorously) because Florida didn't have anyone available (or good enough). Someone... please make a Tim Tebow joke.
As for someone who the Bengals could be realistically targeting, look at offensive tackle D.J. Humphries. Once projected as a second or third round selection, Humphries has cashed enough chips with his predraft work that he could have value closer to the second-half of the first round. CBS Sports' four-man mock draft crew have the 6'5", 307-pound Humphries going either 25th to Carolina or 29th to Indianapolis. Cincinnati could also target more offensive line depth with two Gators offensive lineman, Trenton Brown and Chaz Green. Brown was a quality guard, and started games at both tackle spots. Both are projected to be late Day 3 picks.
According to Tony Pauline, eight teams sent their offensive line coaches to Florida and the Cincinnati Bengals OL coach was not represented in that count. Additionally, no known visits between the Gators players and the Bengals have been scheduled.
Here's a look at how CBS Sports ranked the top Florida prospects:
|RANK||PLAYER||POS.||POS. RANK||SCHOOL||CLASS||HT.||WT.||PROJ. ROUND|
|4||*Dante Fowler Jr.||OLB||1||Florida||Jr||6-3||261||1|