Florida Gators Football: Which Former Gators Could Be on the 2012 List of NFL's Best
In what has to be considered a bit of a surprise, there are no former Florida Gators on the NFL Network's ongoing list of the league's top 100 players.
Voted on by NFL players, there are 10 former Miami Hurricanes, two former Central Florida Knights but zero Gators and Florida State Seminoles.
However, when next year's list comes out, that could change. After all, recent seasons have seen UF produce a great deal of talent, though much of it is pretty new to the league.
Here is a look at who could earn that type of high praise in 2012.
A Pro Bowl selection as a rookie for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Maurkice Pouncey probably had the best argument of any former Gator to be included on the list.
There already are many players, coaches and analysts who have said Pouncey already is among the top three centers in the NFL.
The 6'6", 270-pound defensive end was a terror off the edge, as a rookie for the Cincinnati Bengals.
In 2010 he led all first-year players with 9.5 sacks. He also recorded 24 tackles and three passes defensed, despite seeing action in just 12 games.
Dunlap should only get better.
A tremendous natural athlete, Haden was outstanding as a rookie cornerback for the Cleveland Browns in 2010.
The 5'11", 193-pound former Gator played in all 16 games, starting seven. There, he recorded 64 tackles and six interceptions to go along with 18 passes defensed, a sack and a forced fumble.
A big supporter of all of Cleveland's professional sports teams, Haden also has become a fan-favorite on the Browns.
This pick might be a stretch, but if Tim Tebow is able to beat out Kyle Orton for the starting job for the Denver Broncos, how many people will doubt him?
The 2007 Heisman Trophy winner played in just nine games (starting three) in 2010, but did a lot more good than bad.
He completed 41 of 82 passes for 654 yards with five touchdowns and three interceptions. Tebow also carried 43 times for 227 yards (5.3 ypc) with six touchdowns.
It probably would be wisest to guess Tebow's best shot at making the top 100 list for the first time could come in 2013, but he's always been a guy who exceeds the expectations of others.
Mike Pouncey has yet to play a down in the NFL but based on the ultra-successful rookie season his brother, Maurkice, had with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2010, suggesting Mike will open his pro career strong isn't too much of a stretch.
The first-round pick of the Miami Dolphins, Mike is expected to start all season at either center or offensive guard.