I got on a conference call with ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay today and had a chance to ask him about three Gators in the upcoming draft — Mike Pouncey, Ahmad Black and Will Hill. Here’s what McShay had to say:

On Pouncey: “The problem with Mike Pouncey is that he’s compared to his brother, Maurkice. And his brother is just on a different level. Mike is a good player, he really is. I know he had some struggles with the center position with the snaps early in the season and pretty much got that figured out. He moves well. I like his feet, and his potential to play guard and/or center. When all is said and done, he maybe could come off the board late in the first round, but more likely in the second round. In the right system, his versatility and quickness give him a chance to become one of the upper-echelon interior linemen starters in the NFL three or four years down the road.”

On Black: “Ahmad Black, to me, when you look at safety, he belongs in the lower portion of the day 2 range (in the draft). I’ve got him with a third-round grade. It’s not a great safety class, and that helps him. I think Black is just off that top-five range (among the safeties). I have him at No. 7 overall (strong and free). He’s just small. But he plays hard, he’s always around the ball, he’s instinctive. He’s the type of player you know is going to contribute on special teams and find a way to contribute on defense. I just don’t know if it’s going to be as a full-time impact starter. That’s why it’s hard to give him a grade in the first two rounds.”

On Hill: “I think Black is clearly the better prospect of the two (Florida) safeties. Will Hill is more of a late-round prospect. I’ve got him in the late fifth-, early sixth-round range. I’ve got him as the 16th overall safety. He has a better size/speed combination and he looks the part, but he’s not as instinctive and athletic as Black. He’s going to be asked a lot of questions and he’s going to have to answer them sincerely, and NFL teams are going to have to feel comfortable with him. When you’re one of the top 30, 40 or 50 players, teams will overlook more. When it comes to guys in the 150 to 250 overall, like Will Hill, obviously there are going to be those (character) questions. There are some durability issues as well. When you just stack him up on tape as a football player, he’s not in the top 100, or even the top 130, in this year’s class. He’s going to have to interview well and pass the medical exams and have no issues and really work out well to solidify his spot in one of those final three rounds of the draft.”

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