Matt Elam should be one of the first safeties taken in the 2013 NFL Draft
After having 16 players drafted from 2009-2011, the Florida Gators had just two players drafted last season. That will change in 2013 as many departing Gators will leverage the team's 2012 success for a spot on an NFL roster.
The Gators have seven seniors projected to be drafted and four juniors who elected to forgo their final season of eligibility to enter the 2013 NFL Draft.
The most players the Gators have had drafted in one year is nine (2007 and 2010). While the 2012 crop didn't accomplish as much at Florida as the other two, the 2013 draft class could rival or even surpass them in draftees.
Without further ado, let's take a look at the Florida Gators' 2013 draft-eligible players and where they should expect to be chosen.
Projected Round: Undrafted
Omarius Hines is rated as the No. 73 wide receiver in the 2013 draft class by nfldraftscout.com.
Hines played many roles during his five years at Florida, moving from wide receiver to tight end before ending up at halfback this season.
Hines' versatility will be appealing to a lot of NFL teams but not enough to spend a draft pick on in April.
Projected Round: Undrafted
Frankie Hammond never lived up to the 4-star billing he got in high school, but was a serviceable player for the Gators.
Hammond is the No. 88-rated receiver in the daft class according to NFLdraftscout.com.
His size and lack of production will raise huge concerns for NFL teams, but he should get an opportunity to sign somewhere after the draft.
Projected Round: 6-Undrafted
Most teams don't like using draft picks on kickers, but Caleb Sturgis is worthy of being drafted. He is rated the No. 1 overall kicker in the class by walterfootball.com
Sturgis finished his career at Florida with a school record of 97 made field goals.
If Sturgis isn't drafted he is sure to be signed shortly after the draft and will have a very good chance of ending up on a team's 53-man roster.
Projected Round: 6-7
Omar Hunter had a good senior season, but his role in the defense didn't lend itself to lighting up a box score.
As a nose guard, Hunter's main role was to be stout against the run and open up lanes for linebackers on the pass-rush.
At 6'0", 313 pounds, Hunter has good size and could fit in with a team that runs a 3-4 defense.
Projected Round: 3-5
Josh Evans saved his best for his final season in Gainesville. Evans finished the season with a team-high 83 tackles and added three interceptions.
Evans has good size and speed for the safety position, but needs to work on taking better angles and his cover skills.
Walterfootball.com has Evans rated as the No. 13 safety in the class.
Projected Round: 3-5
Xavier Nixon's rocky road in Gainesville has come to an end and he will now attempt to make the transition to the NFL.
Nixon's season was up and down, showing flashes of greatness against LSU only to be exposed by South Carolina and Georgia.
Nixon will have to impress NFL teams this offseason because his tape will show a lot of penalties and inconsistent mechanics.
It also doesn't help that every NFL team will be looking at Jarvis Jones, and Jones' highlight reel is filled with tape of him dominating Nixon.
Projected Round: 3-4
Jon Bostic was one of the players that benefited most from Jeff Dillman's strength and conditioning program. Bostic was visibly bigger and able to remain healthy for most of the season.
Bostic is your prototypical inside linebacker. He is smart, fast, physical and could fit into either a 3-4 or 4-3 defense at the next level.
Coming out in the same year as Manti Te'o, Alec Ogletree and Kevin Minter doesn't help Bostic's stock, but he should hear his name called on the second or third day. He will make a franchise very happy.
Projected Round: 2-4
The big knock on Gillislee will be his health. Gillislee has battled injuries his entire college career but showed this season that he can play through pain.
Gillislee finished the season with 1,152 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. His running ability was able to win games for Florida and he almost single-handedly shut the door on LSU in the second half.
If Gillislee can post a great 40-yard dash time at the combine his stock could rise up to the second round, but he'll likely be a third or fourth round selection come April.
Projected Round: 6-7
Lerentee McCray is rated the No. 14 OLB in the class according to NFLdraftscout.com.
McCray can play both standing up or with his hand on the ground, but would be better suited in a 3-4 defense.
McCray will have to wait a while to hear his name called on draft weekend, but he should end up being selected somewhere on the third day.
Projected Round: 4-5
Jelani Jenkins could have greatly benefited from returning to school for his senior campaign. He battled injuries all season long and missed the Sugar Bowl after injuring his foot.
Jenkins was the Gators' best cover linebacker and does a great job of covering tight ends and slot receivers. That is a skill many teams are looking for as more and more offenses are using tight ends in the passing game.
Injury concerns will cause teams to be cautious, but Jenkins should hear his name called on the final day of the draft.
Projected Round: 2-3
The NFL is a copycat league. When teams see how successful the Patriots have been with athletic, pass-catching tight ends, more will try to imitate that blueprint.
Reed leaves a lot to be desired as a blocker, but his athleticism is undeniable. He led the Gators in receiving the past two seasons and most NFL teams will believe that it will be easier to teach him how to block than to teach a less-gifted athlete how to run routes and catch the ball.
Reed is rated the No. 4 tight end in the class, according to walterfootball.com, and he could hear his name called as early as the second round.
Projected round: Late 1-2
Matt Elam is the No. 2-rated safety in the class, according to walterfootball.com, and could hear his name called as early as the first round.
Elam is a physical player who isn't afraid to tackle anybody. He played near the line of scrimmage a lot for the Gators and was able to impact the run game as well as cover slot receivers.
Elam will need to have a good combine if he wants to be drafted in the first round, but he is more than capable of posting good numbers on the bench press and in the 40-yard dash.
The biggest question regarding Elam will be if he can cover NFL receivers. While his zone coverage is the weakest part of his game, Elam makes up for it with his recovery speed and a high motor.
Elam could be the first safety off the board come April.
Projected Round: 1-2
Floyd benefited from moving back inside to defensive tackle in 2013 and is one of the most explosive interior linemen in this draft class.
Floyd is strong against the run and showed this season that he can take on double-teams and still be a force on defense. Floyd needs to work on his pass-rushing skills and learn to play more with his hands.
Floyd has a chance to be the first Gator drafted this year.