Entering the 2011 NFL Draft, the Florida Gators didn’t have quite as many pro prospects as they’ve had over the past few years.
Center Mike Pouncey was the best of the class, and he became the third-highest offensive lineman drafted in Florida history Thursday night when he was selected No. 15 overall by the Miami Dolphins.
On Friday night, teammate Marcus Gilbert became the second former Florida player selected as the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted him in the second round with the No. 63 overall pick.
“It’s good to see another Gator selected in the Draft,” Florida coach Will Muschamp said in a press release. “Marcus is a powerful and athletic player who is going to a great organization in the Pittsburgh Steelers.”
Gilbert joins two former Gators in Pittsburgh. The Steelers drafted tackle Max Starks in the third round in 2004. Last year, they drafted Maurkice Pouncey with the 18th overall pick in the first round.
Pouncey started every game for Pittsburgh as a rookie except the Super Bowl, earning a spot in the Pro Bowl in his first year in the league.
With Gilbert’s selection, he became the 75th offensive lineman from Florida drafted. He started in his final 27 games at Florida and was a steadying presence on the offensive line.
During the draft process, several teams liked Gilbert’s versatility and ability to play either guard or tackle in the NFL. He should line up on the right side for Pittsburgh next year, and could compete for a starting spot at either position.
Florida safety Ahmad Black will likely be the next Gators player selected in the draft. The fourth round of the draft begins Saturday at noon.