Florida Gators Football: Which Former Gators Could Be on the 2012 List of NFL's Best

John PattonContributor IJune 16, 2011

Florida Gators Football: Which Former Gators Could Be on the 2012 List of NFL's Best

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    Urban Meyer sent many high-round draft picks to the NFL in recent years.
    Urban Meyer sent many high-round draft picks to the NFL in recent years.Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    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.

Maurkice Pouncey

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    PITTSBURGH - DECEMBER 19:  #53 Maurkice Pouncey reacts during the game against the New York Jets at Heinz Field on December 19, 2010 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Karl Walter/Getty Images)
    Karl Walter/Getty Images

    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.

Carlos Dunlap

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    GAINESVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 7: Defensive end Carlos Dunlap #8  of the Florida Gators sets on defense against the Vanderbilt Commodores  on November 7, 2009 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    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.

Joe Haden

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    MIAMI - DECEMBER 05:  Defensive back Joe Haden #23 of the Cleveland Browns celebrates intercepting the ball against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium on December 5, 2010 in Miami, Florida.  Cleveland defeated Miami 13-10. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty
    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    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.

Tim Tebow

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    DENVER - DECEMBER 26:  Quarterback Tim Tebow #15 of the Denver Broncos greets members of the Houston Texas at midfield after the game at INVESCO Field at Mile High on December 26, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Texans 24-23.  (Photo by
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    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

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    NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 28:  Mike Pouncey, #15 overall pick by the Miami Dolphins, holds up a jersey on stage during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    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.