As you may know, the 2017 NFL Draft will be held this week.
Florida is one of six schools to have a player taken in the NFL Draft every year in the common draft era (since 1967), and the Gators have had a player selected each year since 1952. UF also has the distinction of currently leading the SEC in first round draft picks, with 48 Gators having been selected there.
There are potentially 13 former Gators that could be selected in this week’s event. If nine of those 13 are picked during the draft, it would mark the first time since 2010 that Florida had that many players selected, and would tie the program record for the second most selections in UF history. (Bet you would not have guessed that the record for most Gators selected in the draft (10) was set in 1978.)
The stars of this year’s Florida draft class will be defensive players.
Jarrad Davis is becoming a popular first round pick in mock drafts after his impressive showing at Florida's Pro Day, and many mocks have some combination of secondary standouts Marcus Maye, Quincy Wilson, and Teez Tabor as the next Gators off of the board. Tabor was once thought to be a surefire first round selection, but has seen his stock drop some in these projections due to the sub-par 40 times that he posted at the Combine and at Florida’s Pro Day.
There are eight former Florida defenders that could potentially get their names called this week - linebackers Alex Anzalone and Jarrad Davis, safety Marcus Maye, cornerbacks Teez Tabor and Quincy Wilson, defensive tackle Caleb Brantley, and defensive ends Bryan Cox Jr. and Joey Ivie.
If that happens, it would mark a program-record number of defensive players selected in the NFL Draft. The previous record was set at seven defenders in 2007 with the draftings of defensive end Jarvis Moss (first round), safety Reggie Nelson (first round), defensive end Ray McDonald (third round), defensive end Joe Cohen (fourth round), defensive tackle Marcus Thomas (fourth round), cornerback Ryan Smith (sixth round), and linebacker Brandon Siler (seventh round).
As far as eligible offensive Gators go, Florida has quarterback Austin Appleby, wide receiver Ahmad Fulwood, running back Mark Herndon, offensive lineman David Sharpe, and wide receiver Chris Thompson hoping to get picked up. Sharpe is projected to go somewhere in the mid to late rounds in many drafts. The rest of those players are expected to possibly be selected in the sixth or seventh round, or to be signed as undrafted free agents after the draft.
Defense will dominate the Gators’ draft results this year, and really, doesn’t that make perfect sense? Florida’s defense has certainly led the Gators of late. That’s also a good reminder of how young the core of Florida’s offensive talent has recently been.
We won’t have to wait long to find out when (or if) these Gators will get drafted and where they will go. The first round of the NFL Draft kicks off on Thursday night, with the second and third rounds taking place on Friday night, and the remaining rounds wrapping up on Saturday.
As always, this Weekly Open Thread is for any and all comments on any and all topics, with the rules of commenting decorum still in full effect.