Florida Football: NFL Draft Projections for Every Former Gator

Randy ChambersAnalyst IMay 5, 2014

Florida Football: NFL Draft Projections for Every Former Gator

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    The NFL draft begins Thursday, and as usual, the Florida Gators will be well represented. The Gators have produced 270 professional football players all-time and have 36 active NFL players, according to Pro Football Reference.

    In this year’s draft, Florida has three cornerbacks who will be drafted at some point, a couple of offensive linemen who should hear their name called and a defensive lineman who could sneak into the first round.

    Needless to say, you should pay attention to the draft if you bleed orange and blue.

    With the draft just days away, let’s project where each former Gator will end up.

Dominique Easley, DT

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    Matt Miller's Thoughts: Dominique Easley is the second-best defensive tackle in the draft. 

    What He Brings to the Table: Easley is a defensive tackle with defensive end-type speed. His motor, quick step and athleticism are simply off the charts, and you're not going to find a defensive lineman who can match him in those departments. Easley is a solid run defender, uses his hands well and has incredible footwork.

    He would have been a surefire first-round pick, but multiple ACL injuries are sure to scare some teams away. Still, Easley has the potential to be a really good football player and will be drafted rather early even with the injury concerns. 

    Where He Will Be Selected: Late First to early Second Round

    Teams That May Bite: New York Giants, Chicago Bears or Dallas Cowboys 

Marcus Roberson, DB

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    Matt Miller's Thoughts: Marcus Roberson is the 10th-best cornerback in the draft.

    What He Brings to the Table: Roberson is a physical, finesse cornerback, if that makes any sense. He doesn't want to play in the box and make a ton of tackles, but he has no problem jamming receivers at the line and throwing them off their rhythm. He's very good in man-coverage and has underrated ball skills that could make him valuable on special teams.

    Roberson does have an injury history, but when healthy he's a solid cornerback who could be one of the biggest steals of this draft. 

    Where He Will Be Selected: Third Round

    Teams That May Bite: Detroit Lions, Tennessee Titans or Denver Broncos 

     

Jaylen Watkins, DB

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    Matt Miller's Thoughts: Watkins is the ninth-best cornerback in this draft. 

    What He Brings to the Table: Watkins is a little stiff at times and isn't the most polished tackler in the open field. However, you'd be hard pressed to find a more athletic or faster cornerback in this draft. In fact, Watkins' 40-time of 4.41 seconds at the combine was good for fifth among cornerbacks.

    Watkins has the skill set to be a solid cover corner at the next level, and he's also one of the more versatile players who has experience playing corner, safety and nickel at Florida. 

    Where He Will Be Selected: Second Round 

    Teams That May Bite: Chicago Bears, Carolina Panthers or Arizona Cardinals 

Loucheiz Purifoy, DB

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    Matt Miller's Thoughts: Loucheiz Purifoy isn't listed in Miller's Top 12 cornerbacks in this draft. 

    What He Brings to the Table: It's rare to find a defensive back as lengthy and fast as Purifoy. Even though his combine numbers were horrible, Purifoy looks fine on tape and has proven he can be a playmaker in the defensive backfield. Purifoy simply glides across the field and does a nice job of playing the ball. He even has some experience playing wide receiver and special teams.

    The poor combine numbers will likely hurt his stock in a big way, but Purifoy will be a nice pickup for a team looking for an athletic freak with a little upside. 

    Where He Will Be Selected: Fourth Round 

    Teams That May Bite: Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Giants or Detroit Lions 

Jon Halapio, OG

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    Matt Miller's Thoughts: Jon Halapio is not listed in his top five interior offensive linemen in the draft. 

    What He Brings to the Table: Halapio is a massive human being at 6'3", 323 pounds and has incredible length at more than 33 inches. His size alone is worth the risk of a late-round pick. Besides his size, Halapio does a nice job of using his hands and plays the game with a bit of a mean streak. He's also a tough football player who played last season with an 80 percent tear of his pectoral, according to the Miami Herald.

    Halapio has a lot of what you look for from offensive linemen, and some team will take a risk in the later rounds. 

    Where He Will Be Selected: Fourth Round 

    Teams That May Bite: Cleveland Browns, Miami Dolphins or Kansas City Chiefs 

Ronald Powell, LB

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    Matt Miller's Thoughts: Powell is not listed in the top 13 linebackers in this draft.

    What He Brings to the Table: Ronald Powell has all of the tools to be a great player at the next level. He's extremely athletic, has terrific instincts and has experience of lining up just about anywhere on the field. The problem is that Powell has torn his ACL twice, which are two gigantic red flags to all NFL teams.

    Regardless of what Powell may bring to the table, nobody is going to risk a high pick on him with that news being thrown in their face. Powell still has the potential to be a situational pass-rusher. 

    Where He Will Be Selected: Sixth Round 

    Teams That May Bite: Houston Texans, Atlanta Falcons or Philadelphia Eagles 

Jonotthan Harrison, C

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    Matt Miller's Thoughts: Jonotthan Harrison is not included in the top five interior offensive linemen in this draft. 

    What He Brings to the Table: Harrison has the size you look for from the center position at 6'4", 304 pounds. He also has experience playing left guard. Harrison gets off the ball fairly quickly and displays a strong frame that makes him valuable in run blocking. He can get beaten at times and doesn't quite have the athleticism to get back.

    Overall, Harrison is somebody who could work his way onto an NFL roster and should be given a chance considering the success the Pouncey brothers are having. 

    Where He Will Be Selected: Sixth to Seventh Round 

    Teams That May Bite: San Francisco 49ers, New England Patriots or Baltimore Ravens 

Trey Burton, WR

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    Matt Miller's Thoughts: Trey Burton is not included in the top 21 tight ends/wide receivers in this draft.

    What He Brings to the Table: The thing about Trey Burton is that he doesn't have a true position. He played just about every position for the Gators, including quarterback. Burton is considered a tight end, but he weighs in at just 224 pounds.

    However, Burton is a very good athlete with good hands and is somebody who is willing to do whatever it takes to help the team win. He simply gets it and has a high football IQ.

    Whether he's drafted or not, Burton will get picked up by somebody simply for being a team guy and somebody who can help out somewhere. 

    Where He Will Be Selected: Seventh Round to Undrafted 

    Teams That May Bite: New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles or New York Jets 

Solomon Patton, WR

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    Matt Miller's Thoughts: Patton is not included in the top 21 tight ends/wide receivers in this draft.

    What He Brings to the Table: Solomon Patton is your typical receiver who lacks size at 5'8" but makes up for it with good hands and explosive big-play ability. Seriously, with countless little guys taking over the league, size really shouldn't matter much anymore.

    Anyway, Patton isn't afraid to go across the middle of the field, and he also has experience on special teams. He could become a solid slot receiver for a team looking for a spark offensively. 

    Where He Will Be Selected: Seventh Round to Undrafted 

    Teams That May Bite: Buffalo Bills, Green Bay Packers or Carolina Panthers