Following the team's Sugar Bowl loss, the Florida Gators have found themselves with two big defensive holes to fill after standouts Sharrif Floyd and Matt Elam announced that they would forego their college eligibility and enter the 2013 NFL Draft.
Floyd was a dominant defensive tackle at Florida, leading the Gators in tackles for loss in 2012 and earning All-America talk. He is a powerful and physical player whose skills are ideally suited for the NFL.
While his ultimate draft position will largely depend on his performance in various pre-draft workouts, Floyd currently appears slated to be a late-first or early-second round pick and an appealing option to any team looking to add depth to its defensive line.
Though at least a dozen teams would benefit from selecting Floyd on draft day, five teams are ideally situated to give Floyd a long, hard look due to their likely draft position and positional needs.
Here is a look at these five teams and why they represent potential homes for the Gator standout.
The New York Giants defensive line is in definite need of an upgrade.
According to FootballOutsiders.com's Adjusted Line Yards rankings, the Giants defensive line ranked 30th in the league, ahead of only the New Orleans Saints and Arizona Cardinals. With Rocky Bernard a free agent and Marvin Austin yet to firmly establish himself, a talented defensive tackle would immediately benefit the team's porous defensive line.
With the 19th pick in the draft, Sharrif Floyd would likely be a significant overreach, barring some dominating performances during his offseason pre-draft events.
At this point, Floyd is likely to be a late-first or early-second round pick, so if the Giants decide to target Floyd, they may have to trade up from their 49th slot to get him.
But with fellow defensive tackles in Georgia's John Jenkins, Alabama's Jesse Williams and North Carolina's Sylvester Williams also in similar positions on the draft board, it is not outside the realm of possibility that Floyd could fall to 49.
There is a tangible dropoff in talent between Floyd, Jenkins, Williams and Williams and the rest of the DTs in the draft, so if the Giants have their hearts set on drafting a quality defensive tackle, someone like Floyd in the second round would be a smart decision.
Denver's exact draft position will not be known until the end of the postseason, but with a draft choice somewhere between 21 and 32, the Broncos could end up in an ideal position to land Sharrif Floyd.
Denver had one of the best run defenses in the NFL in 2012, allowing only 91.1 yards per game, but the defensive line will be hit hard by free agency. Kevin Vickerson's two-year deal is over, Sealver Siliga is a restricted free agent and Justin Bannan played 2012 under a one-year contract.
Even if the Broncos bring back a couple of these players on short-term deals, Floyd would be a wise long-term investment at the position.
Derek Wolfe and Elvis Dumervil have given headaches to opposing offensive coordinators, and a powerful inside lineman like Floyd would give even more opportunities for the duo to harass opposing quarterbacks.
Seattle's defense was one of the biggest surprises of 2012, and the squad isn't in great need of an upgrade at any position on the defensive side of the ball.
While the 'Hawks are likely to use their first round pick to give additional options to quarterback Russell Wilson, if the right player isn't available, they could decide to use the pick on a defensive tackle.
Seattle has already locked down the services of Brandon Mebane through the 2015 season, but with Alan Branch at the end of his two-year deal, the Hawks would likely look to draft another defensive tackle.
Floyd probably won't still be on the draft board by the time the Hawks draft in the second round, but if they are willing either to take a risk that a receiver will be available in the later rounds or find help at the position through free agency, Floyd could end up being the perfect choice for them with their late first round pick.
Tennessee's run defense was disappointing in 2012, with FootballOutsiders.com rating their rush defense as 29th in the league.
The Titans have recently spent draft picks on young players at the defensive tackle position, including second-year starter Jurrell Casey and fourth-year player Sen'derrick Marks.
Still, there is a great deal of uncertainty at the position, and the Titans would benefit from adding depth at tackle.
The Titans have the tenth pick in the first round, which is too high for Floyd. They are more likely to use the pick to strengthen their secondary and could perhaps use the pick to draft one of the two elite defensive tackles available (Missouri's Sheldon Richardson or Ohio State's Johnathan Hankins).
If the Titans use their first round pick on a position other than defensive tackle and Floyd is still around for their pick in the early second round, it would be hard for the Titans to pass on the opportunity.
The Vikings' defensive line is far from terrible, but it is aging and inconsistent, allowing division rival quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Matt Stafford far too much time in the pocket.
Sharrif Floyd hasn't racked up large sack numbers, but has still managed to put major pressure on SEC quarterbacks. Moreover, his speed and physicality would immediately add strength to the Vikings defense and add youth to the position.
Like the Seahawks, the Vikings should give much consideration to using their first round pick to select a receiver to help Christian Ponder, and would likely scoop up Cordarrelle Patterson or Keenan Allen if they were to remain on the draft board.
But if the Vikings win a playoff game or two, earning a later draft pick, the elite receivers will likely be off the draft board, and the Vikings could use the pick on a defensive tackle, waiting until the second round to nab a receiver.