Podcast: Previewing the NFL Draft for the Florida Gators

GatorCountry brings you a new podcast as we preview the NFL Draft that starts on Thursday as several Florida Gators’ are expected to be drafted this week.

Andrew Spivey, Bailiegh Carlton, and Ethan Hughes breakdown where we see the Gators being drafted this week and just how many guys could be drafted this week.

Andrew, Baileigh, and Ethan also recap how the Gators did on the diamond this past week, plus we look ahead to this coming weekend.


Andrew:                 What’s up, Gator Country? Your man, Andrew Spivey, here with Ethan and Baileigh. I was going to say Baileigh and Ethan, but we’ve been on a roll, and we’ve been going with Ethan and Baileigh, so got to keep that way. Guys, we’re back. We’ll have NFL Draft on Thursday and should be a good night or three nights for the Gators.

Baileigh:                Yeah. There’s a few that we’re not really sure exactly where they’re going to go, but I think it’s going to be a really good night. Some are speculating that Florida could even tie or possibly break its current school record for players drafted in a single Draft. I guess we’ll see what happens there.

Ethan:                     When you list guys, I think there’s probably eight guys you could feel very confident about getting drafted, and another two or three that are on the fence. What is the record? 11?

Baileigh:                No. I think it’s only nine.

Andrew:                 Yeah. I think it’s nine.

Ethan:                     I think they definitely tie that then.

Andrew:                 Do I think three will be drafted in the first round? No. I don’t. But I also think that there’s an opportunity for three. I think Pitts obviously is probably going to go in the four spot. Who that will be to, we’ll see. Right now it’s the Falcons. I’m cool with it, if Justin Fields isn’t there. We’ll talk about that later, as a Falcons fan. Kadarius is at 15-25 range right there, another guy kind of depending. Then Kyle Trask is an up in the air guy.

My thing for Trask is this. I don’t know that he has got the first round grades, and I don’t know that he is a for sure first rounder as far as talent or whatever goes, whatever the Draft people put on the boards, but I think it becomes a situation where when you look at this it could come down to, let’s just say the first four picks all go quarterbacks, and it goes Lance and Zach Wilson, Justin Fields, and Trevor Lawrence, all four of those guys are gone in the first four picks. I think you could see some team trade up. Mac Jones will be fifth coming off the board, probably. Then you’ll have Kyle as the sixth guy. I could see a team get very anxious and eager later in the first round and maybe try to trade up into the late first round and pick Trask.

Ethan:                     I could definitely see that happening. Trask is maybe one of the weirder prospects I can remember in recent years from the Gators, because I’ve seen projections that have him in the first round all the way to like the fourth. There’s just a huge range in opinion on him. I think he’s a first round talent. I don’t think a lot of people have him evaluated as a first rounder, which is going to make him fall, because why would you draft somebody higher than what you have to, when you can fill other needs in the meantime? I think it’ll just come down to which team is willing to pull the trigger first, whether that’s first round. I don’t think he makes it past the second. I think that’s about the floor for him.

Andrew:                 I think the thing here, Ethan, and we see this every year, guys that should not be taken in the first round are taken up because teams get nervous that they’re not going to be able to check off a need. I said this. I was doing another podcast last week. When you look at the quarterback class, the top six quarterbacks in this Draft are really good. After that, it’s not very good. You’re thinking the next is Kellen Mond, Feleipe Franks.

Baileigh:                Some people have him in front of Kyle Trask, which is crazy.

Andrew:                 Anybody who drafts Kellen Mond before Kyle Trask needs to lose their job.

Baileigh:                Oh yeah. I’ve seen that. I’m like, what are you doing?

Ethan:                     Anybody who drafts Trey Lance ahead of Kyle Trask needs to lose their job.

Andrew:                 I agree with you. I’m even in the field who says if you don’t Justin Fields as your second quarterback, what are you doing? Is Zach Wilson a good player? Yeah, he is, but he did that BYU. Justin Fields, what he did at Ohio State just speaks for itself. Go back and watch Fields against Clemson. He makes all the throws.

Ethan:                     I think it’s just a case of everybody wants to try to be the smart guy that thought better of a quarterback than everybody else did. Kind of like a couple years ago with the Chiefs. They drafted Mahomes in the first round, when I don’t think a lot of people had him going in the first round. So, now everybody’s got to try to be ahead of the curve, so they can say that they knew something that everybody else didn’t, three or four years down the road.

Andrew:                 How’d that work out for Chicago with Trubisky?

Ethan:                     Yeah. That seemed like a dumb idea at the time, and it seems a whole lot dumber now.

Andrew:                 If you go back and look at that Draft and some of the guys they picked Trubisky over. Yeah. See, that’s kind of where it goes for me with Kadarius. A lot of people have Kadarius as a late first round guy, and some people are now saying maybe he’s #15, because, again, you start to see a run on receivers. You’ve got Jamar Chase, Devonta Smith. Those are probably going to be your top two guys off the board. Then you have Jaylen Waddle, and you have Kadarius. Those are the next two guys on the board. If you start to make a run on those guys, and let’s just say at pick 15 somebody’s already taken Waddle, Smith, and Jamar Chase, a team that needs a receiver is probably going to jump up and take Kadarius for the simple fact of fearing they may lose out on the top four receivers.

Baileigh:                That’s true. I’ve honestly also seen some Draft boards that have him falling into the second round. I don’t see it happening. I think the biggest thing with Kadarius is some teams are just a little bit nervous at the fact that he’s still pretty raw. I mean, obviously he made that huge jump this year, so we know that he is capable of continuing to kind of polish himself, but just the fact that he’s not as polished as some of the other receivers that are going to be taken ahead of him. I think that’s just where a few teams are a little nervous about him. I think whoever gets him is getting a steal, in my eyes.

Andrew:                 If I was nervous about Kadarius, it wouldn’t be for anything, simply because can he stay healthy? That would be my only concern.

Baileigh:                Right.

Andrew:                 I’ve heard people, like you said, say is he polished enough? The steps he’s made in the two years speak for itself. Can he get open? Yes. Can he catch the ball? Yes. Can he run good routes? Yes. That’s all you want in the NFL.

Baileigh:                Right.

Ethan:                     I saw one person today came out with a story where they talked to a former scout or something that said he had character issues. I have no idea where they got that from.

Andrew:                 Character issues?

Ethan:                     Yeah. Some former scout or something told somebody that he thought he would slip to the second round, because teams had character concerns or some crap.

Andrew:                 Never been suspended.

Baileigh:                I’ve heard people are nervous about his whole rapping thing, but I haven’t heard anything about character issues.

Andrew:                 Never been suspended. Never been arrested. Never had any trouble come about.

Baileigh:                People just want to make things up to get people going. I think that’s all it is.

Andrew:                 That’s just insane. The whole music thing, I heard that thing as well. My question to people is this. Would you rather the guy on his off days be making music, or the guy’s out on the street?

Baileigh:                Yeah. Exactly.

Ethan:                     It’s not really a factor anyway. A couple years ago who had an ongoing assault investigation or something got drafted in the first round.

Andrew:                 Yeah.

Ethan:                     As long as you’re not a convicted violent criminal, there’s a spot for you in the NFL.

Andrew:                 What was the guy from Mississippi State who was drafted who had two sexual assaults? Whatever. Same thing with Justin Fields, saying he had work ethic issues. Where did that come from? It’s beyond me.

Let’s get into Kyle Pitts a little bit. It’s obviously very interesting. I think any other year Kyle Pitts is probably pick #2. I think Kyle Pitts is probably the second best player in this Draft, and I think you could make the argument he’s the best player in the Draft. Trevor Lawrence is obviously a very good quarterback. Does he separate himself? I don’t know. Drafting a quarterback first overall usually doesn’t end very well for most teams. Again, we’ll see. Right now Atlanta has pick four. We’ll see what happens there. Does a team trade up to take that quarterback who’s not picked in the top three, or do they go with Kyle Pitts at four? I’ll ask you guys this. I think we can all three say he won’t get past pick six with the Dolphins.

Baileigh:                No.

Ethan:                     No.

Baileigh:                I think he’s definitely going in that four to six range, like you said. It does kind of suck for him. This going to be a year of the quarterbacks getting taken early like that. I can make that argument too. I think that he’s at least the second best. I would go as far as to say the best player overall. It just comes down to what teams need. Wherever he goes, he’s going to make an immediate impact, in my eyes.

Ethan:                     I think the record right now for the highest drafted tight end of all time is #6, so he’s at the very worst going to tie that. I think #4 might be about the highest a tight end could ever get drafted, because #1 is always going to be a quarterback, and then 2 and 3 is either going to be a team that needs a quarterback or trading to somebody who needs a quarterback. He might set a record that quite possibly may never get broken.

Andrew:                 I saw something today that said, is he the best receiver in the Draft? I’m sitting here to myself thinking, here we go again with is he a receiver or is he a tight end. Does it really matter? Yes, it does, because when it comes payday receivers get more money, for whatever reason. Rob Gronkowski went through this whole thing. Again, does it really matter? Does it really matter if he lines up at tight end or at receiver? How many tight ends in the NFL actually line up as a traditional tight end that it was five or six years ago?

Again, if a team doesn’t need a quarterback, and they pass on Kyle Pitts, they’re crazy.

Baileigh:                Yeah.

Andrew:                 They’re crazy.

Baileigh:                I don’t see it happening.

Andrew:                 I’m all for him going to Atlanta, as a Falcons fan, if Justin Fields isn’t there. If Justin Fields is there, you go all in on Justin Fields. Make him the guy who’s going to take over for Matt Ryan in two years. If Justin Fields isn’t there, you go Kyle Pitts, and you pair him with Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley, and you say that’s the best trio of weapons that you can put on an offense. I’m perfectly happy with it.

Like you said, either way Kyle Pitts is going to make a lot of money. He’ll be a guy that I think next year we’re talking about having a phenomenal rookie year, because he’s ready.

Baileigh:                Yeah.

Ethan:                     You’d rather have a quarterback for two or three years in the future than an instant impact tight end now?

Andrew:                 Here’s my thing with that, Ethan, and I’ve went back and forth on this. A lot of people’s asked me this before. The thing for me as a Falcons fan is this. We’re not one piece away from winning next year. Having Kyle Pitts does not make the Falcons a Super Bowl team. It’s time for kind of a rebuild almost, a little bit, in Atlanta. There’s already talks that Julio may be traded to free up salary cap. Matt Ryan’s at the end of his career. I hate quarterbacks who get pushed into play Year 1. I think it’s the worst thing for a quarterback to happen. If a guy like Fields, who is still pretty raw as a quarterback, can be drafted to sit behind Matt Ryan for a year or two, learn the system, learn and play, then I’m all for it. Again, I may get bashed for it. I like that call.

Baileigh:                I think it’s pretty much a win-win there, no matter who you end up with.

Ethan:                     I have a feeling you’re going to be pretty angry about 8:45 Thursday when they take Kyle Pitts with Fields still on the board.

Andrew:                 I’ll be honest with you. It would probably be worse when they trade the pick for nothing to like pick 12, and they go out and draft a DB, because that’s probably what they’ll do. New GM though. I’m keeping faith that the GM will go there.

Have seen this. I think we hit on this a little bit before. Stone Forsythe is a guy who a lot of people now are saying could be third round. I’m going to ask you guys this, because I think it’s a little bit of two things. I think he gets a bad rap of is he good enough to be a third rounder because of the fact that the offensive line has been so terrible at Florida the last few years, but then I think he also gets the benefit how big he is. He’s got the ideal size for a tackle in the League, and he’s coming off of a really good year. What do you guys think? When you hear third round for Stone, are you thinking, no way, that’s crazy, or are you thinking that’s pretty fair?

Baileigh:                I think it’s a possibility for him. Going into this, I wouldn’t have said he was a third rounder, but as you hear more and more about it, I guess it’s kind of starting to make more sense. I don’t know if I see him going in the third round, but I think if he doesn’t we’ll see him off the board really early on Day 3. I don’t know. I don’t know that I necessarily see him as deserving of that high, but he definitely has potential to work his way up there once he gets in the NFL.

Ethan:                     I don’t see him as a third round pick, just because he’s probably going to have to move to right tackle, I think, once he gets to the NFL, just because I don’t think he’s athletic enough to play left tackle at that level. Then he’s kind of a one-trick pony. He’s not very good blocking against the run, by his own admission.

Andrew:                 Right.

Ethan:                     At the same time, I don’t feel like it’s fair to say, like Andrew was just talking about, Florida’s offensive line struggles hurting him. I think GMs would be smart enough to realize that he can’t play all five spots, and so I think as an individual he’s a mid-round Draft pick. Third round probably pushing it a little bit though.

Andrew:                 Yeah. When I say the whole offensive line, I meant that just as the overall basis of a lot of people, because when you see the third round, I’ve seen a lot of people say, how? I think that is because, like we just said, the offensive line has been so bad that people really haven’t broken down.

One of the analysts that does the Draft was talking about it. I’m trying to remember who it was. He was talking about Brett Heggie. He said, I think Brett Heggie is a really good late round pickup for a team, and he’s going to play a long time. I thought to myself, he’s exactly right, because Heggie can play all the interior positions, is going to play hard-nose football, is a smart guy, is going to do everything you want him to do, not get in trouble, and is going to play at a high level.

Again, a lot of people think, how? Again, Brett Heggie didn’t play bad ball this year. The guys around him played really bad ball. Really and truly, it was the right side of the offensive line that just played really bad that we were always saying the offensive line has got to get better, the offensive line has got to get better. In all reality, it was really just the right side of the offensive line.

Baileigh:                Yeah. I think Brett Heggie, he could definitely have a great NFL career, assuming he stays healthy. That’s just the thing that killed him at Florida. I feel like we never really got to see him live up to his potential, just because nagging injuries kept hitting him.

Andrew:                 Right.

Baileigh:                That’s just going to be something that we’ll have to watch once he gets to that next level.

Andrew:                 Ethan, thoughts on Heggie?

Ethan:                     I think Baileigh just about covered it all. I don’t think he’ll get drafted. He’ll probably get undrafted free agent, which if you’re going to go in the sixth or seventh round anyway, it’s probably better to be an undrafted free agent, because then you get to pick your team, and the money’s about the same at that point.

Andrew:                 Right.

Ethan:                     I think he goes undrafted, and he’s able to sign with the right organization. With his versatility, he could be a guy that hangs around 10 years or so. Probably not as a starter, but he’s got that versatility. You only have eight offensive linemen usually active on game days in the NFL, and he can play three of the spots. That is exactly what teams will be looking for in a guy like him.

Andrew:                 Right. Like you said, if you’re not one of the guys that’s going to go in one through five, then it is. At the end of the day, if you’re not a fourth round pick, really even a fourth round pick, you could still be cut. They don’t care about cutting you. Drafted in the seventh round, they’ll still cut you. Do I expect Brett Heggie to make a roster next year for sure? I don’t know that he will for sure. I say he definitely makes a practice squad team, and, like you say, is a guy who sticks around for a long time.

To go back to Stone, I just think Stone has all the athletic attributes to be a good tackle. He’s absolutely a right tackle in the League. Again, he’s more of a pass blocking tackle, but again, that’s kind of the NFL rank for a tackle. They like you to be more of a pass blocking. They’re not so much of the pulling kind of guys like the college game is. Again, I can see him doing well. I’m looking forward to it. The biggest thing that I always go back to is some of the guys that’s been at Florida and drafted and are still in the League right now didn’t have very good college careers and are making a ton of money. Trenton Brown is the highest paid offensive lineman in the League.

Baileigh:                Doesn’t that just grind your gears a little bit? Just the fact that they have that in them, and they could never show it when they were at Florida. It’s crazy.

Ethan:                     It was the same thing at quarterback for a while too. You had Brissett, Grier, Driskel in the NFL, and Florida was here stuck with Feleipe Franks. That’s going to come to an end this year.

Andrew:                 I don’t know. We’ll see. I think there will be some interesting takes with Stone and with Brett Heggie there, to see kind of what they do and how they do with an offensive line that is better all around.

Let’s move a little bit. Trevon Grimes is another guy. People have him anywhere in that three to seventh round kind of threshold as well. I say this with Trevon Grimes. I don’t know that I care really where he gets drafted. I think he’s a guy that will make an NFL roster, and he’ll play a good bit of time in the NFL because of his size, because of his ability, because he can play all your special teams positions, and he does kind of what you want as an NFL receiver. I don’t know that I so much care where he gets drafted, because I think wherever he goes he’s going to do well.

Kind of like Tyrie Cleveland last year. Everyone was, why did he get picked by the Broncos after they took two receivers? He made the team and is playing for them.

Ethan:                     It’s going to with Grimes probably come down to he’s a guy who tests very well in Combine type settings. He’s very fast, can jump very high. But the film when you look at him isn’t great.

Andrew:                 Inconsistent.

Ethan:                     Yeah. He had the Georgia catch, but then what else would you put on his highlight reel for last year?

Andrew:                 Right. Yeah. Inconsistent. Sometimes he catches the ball. Sometimes he doesn’t. It’s just inconsistent play. Can he be consistent?

Baileigh:                I think that’s something that an NFL team can work out, if he’s willing to put in the work, which I think he’s the kind of guy that is. So, I guess we’ll see. He is another one of those guys that it’s kind of like you just don’t really know where he’s going to land. I think Florida has several of those that we could just be waiting and waiting and not really know when we’re going to see them taken off the board.

Andrew:                 Yeah. You can go down the list. Marco’s another guy. We talk about Marco. He’s a guy who some have him as 78th best player there, three through seven. Again, where does he go in the Draft? Kind of depends. I think the biggest thing at corner is it’s not top heavy. The class is not a very top heavy class. After Patrick Surtain and another guy or two there, you got really two or three guys, and then it’s just kind of that next group of guys there. How teams have them on the board will kind of determine where they are in the Draft. Again, I can see Marco anywhere in the middle range, kind of Day 3 kind of guy.

I kind of put him there with Shawn Davis. I think both of those guys are mid to late round picks. More so for Shawn. Shawn’s got to go to the right team. He cannot go to a team that’s going to expect their safeties to go man to man. He’s got to go to a team that’s going to allow kind of for the safety to roam the area in the defensive backfield. If he goes to a team that’s going to go man to man, things are going to go bad and go back quick.

Baileigh:                Not to change the subject here, but going back to Marco a little bit, I think at Pro Day he really reopened everyone’s eyes to what he can be. Not that anyone ever questioned he was a stellar athlete, but it’s just after the season you kind of forget what he has in him, the potential that’s there. He’s another one that he’s going to have to be kind of molded once he gets to an NFL team. I think that he could have a decent career. You see what his brother’s doing, Quincy, so he has that kind of fall back on to help him settle into the NFL. We’ll see how things go for Marco there. Hoping for the best for him.

Andrew:                 I think the thing with Marco too is Marco’s a guy that can kind of play anywhere in the defensive backfield. He also is going to play every special team. If you’re going to make the NFL, especially as a rookie, you better be able to play every special teams. The NFL has to maximize every position to the fullest. You can’t have a guy that’s just a gunner on special teams. You got to have guys that can play all around. Marco, Shawn, Trevon, those guys all can do that, and I think that’s what you really look for, and that will help them make a roster.

Baileigh:                Right. That’s something that Dan Mullen really prides himself on too, I think, that we talk about every year. He’s making sure that his guys are all ones that can play all those positions on special teams, that they’re all really into it. That’s not something that they just kind of throw to the wayside, and they’re focused on what they’re doing on offense or defense. I think that does definitely benefit some of Dan Mullen’s players once they get to that next level.

Ethan:                     I will say that I think the scheme the Gators have been running in the secondary the last couple years did a pretty big disservice to Marco. He’s not a play 10 yards off the ball kind of DB. He’s a guy who needs to be up in someone’s face, pressing with the line, and I think that played a factor. Then also maybe if you’re an NFL team you just have to hope that he was looking past the season, already looking ahead to the NFL, and hope that he’s able to kind of recapture what he was a freshman and early on in his sophomore year.

Baileigh:                You’ve got to be willing to tackle now once you get to the NFL. That’s the biggest thing. The tackling was just pitiful this year, and I think that turns a lot of people off, just the unwillingness. From what I saw.

Andrew:                 Yeah. I don’t know that that’s just a college thing. I don’t think that’s just a Florida thing. I think it’s becoming a little bit everywhere. We’ll talk about this in a future podcast, but now with the rules of limiting contact in and certain drills and stuff in practices, I think it’s going to become even worse. Talking about the disservice, that’s kind of what I was going to say on Shawn Davis a little bit. When you’re asking him to play man, you’re asking for problems. Shawn Davis isn’t a man safety. I go back to Keon O’Neal. If you’d asked Keon O’Neal to play man to man, Keon O’Neal wouldn’t have been a first round pick. That’s not what he is. Again, I think that that’s where you have to look at it with Shawn.

I want to get you guys’ opinion. A guy that I think is probably the biggest mystery of them all is TJ Slaton.

Baileigh:                I was about to bring him up too.

Andrew:                 We heard so much about him. He was always a guy that we heard a lot about in spring, heard a lot about in fall. Big body, and he would make flashes where he was just really good. Then he would make flashes where he would just disappear. What are you guys seeing on that? My thing with him is I don’t know that I’d be a bad thing if he went undrafted, because a lot of people are saying sixth to seventh round. I don’t know that it’d be a bad thing if he went undrafted and let him go pick a team that really needs a tackle, and then with a defensive line coach that’s really good that can continue to help him develop.

Baileigh:                Obviously, the body is there. The body to work on for the team that gets him is there, but it’s just another guy that needs a lot of polishing. It’s really sad that we didn’t see that fully come to fruition when he was at Florida, because like you said, every year we hyped him up so much, from the day he stepped on campus. Everyone was so excited about what Tedarrell Slaton is going to do, and we just didn’t quite see it. Like you said, we’d see flashes. I hope that he ends up in a good position there. I think he’s definitely a guy that his NFL career could really be much better than what he showed in his college career.

Ethan:                     He was the three-time defending offseason weight room champion.

Andrew:                 Yeah.

Ethan:                     I think he’ll get drafted just because of that. Once you get down to fifth round, it’s either you take somebody like him or somebody from some small school you’ve never heard of before. Why not take a shot on him and hope that he’s just a late bloomer?

Andrew:                 Right. Again, body size is there. Ability is questionable. Not questionable. It’s there. Question of being consistent. I think that somebody will get him, and I think somebody will continue to develop him and will get him to understand what he’s good at. Defensive tackles don’t play all four downs in the NFL. They just simply don’t.

Again, I think that it’ll be a situation where he can get in there and really finetune things, see things. I think that he’ll latch on with a team, and we’ll see just where it may be. Again, he’s not a 3-4 guy. He needs to go to a 4-3 team that’s not going to make him be a nose tackle or anything like that. If he does that, I think he’ll do well. Again, the inconsistency from him and just kind of the what if from him kind of hurts him a little bit, but I don’t think it’ll hurt his NFL career.

Baileigh:                No, I don’t think so either. It’s just depending on where he goes. Like you said, I don’t think it really makes much of a difference for him, just as long as he lands on a team that is a good fit.

Andrew:                 Yeah. That kind of goes with Kyree Campbell. Kyree Campbell’s kind of the same way. I say this about Kyree. We all wondered how much of an impact he was for this team, but when he did get back on this team this year it was a situation where things were so much better at times for this defense. Again, kind of like TJ Slaton, a lot of inconsistency. Is the talent there? Yeah. I think so, for sure. Just being consistent and really finding his niche and being able to get in there and continue to improve and to kind of get his craft better. Again, I think he’s a year or two away in the NFL. Definitely needs to get on the practice squad for somebody, but I think he’ll do fine.

Ethan:                     I think you could make the argument that he was the defensive MVP last year. It’s just night and day difference with him on the field versus when he wasn’t the first few games. I think the biggest knock on him is just going to be his size, because he’s not a huge guy that you want inside playing nose tackle. I think it comes down to do they feel like they can get enough out of him, or are the physical limitations just going to be too much?

Andrew:                 That may be what scares teams away from taking him and maybe makes him go to training camp, or what are they called? I don’t know. Some teams are doing OTAs now for rookie camps. We’ll see. Definitely go to training camp and earn his job. That’s probably what’s going to have to happen with Kyree. Maybe even be a practice squad guy early on. I just think it’s very similar between him and Slaton, as far as both guys who have the ability, just so inconsistent at times.

Baileigh:                This spring even I think I remember David Turner talking very highly about Kyree and just saying that he was a guy that they really leaned on once he got back from that injury. Like you said, I don’t know if there’s much more to say about him, but I do think that he could end up having a decent career, if he can get in somewhere that he can work his way up.

Andrew:                 Let’s see. We got Evan McPherson. I think we can all agree he’s a late undrafted guy that’ll be picked up. Brad Stewart is probably in the same boat, in my opinion. Maybe gets picked late. Who am I missing? Am I missing anyone?

Ethan:                     Stiner.

Andrew:                 Stiner probably in the same boat. I think that’s it. Right?

Ethan:                     Yeah.

Baileigh:                I’m pretty sure. I think we covered everybody.

Andrew:                 I think that’s it. Again, be interesting to see. First round is on Thursday. Second and third is on Friday, and then four through seven is on Saturday. I’ll ask you guys this. Do you all like the Thursday primetime first round?

Ethan:                     I hate how drawn out all of this is with the 10 minutes on the clock, and then they wait five minutes, and they go to a commercial break. It should not take five hours for 32 teams to make one pick.

Baileigh:                No. I don’t like how long and drawn out it is, but I do like that they’re giving these guys who are that first round talent their time, that it’s all about them. I can agree that after the first few picks or so you’re just like, come on, can we get this over with?

Ethan:                     MLB used to do a 40 round draft in the same amount of time it took the NFL to do seven.

Andrew:                 Yeah.

Baileigh:                Yeah.

Andrew:                 I agree. I think it’s a little too long, especially when it gets to four through seven. It will be good to see guys in the green room. Obviously, Trevor Lawrence isn’t going. Then some guys that are not going in the green room, they’re going to allow them to virtually be at the Draft. Kadarius Toney is one of those guys. Kyle Trask is one of those guys as well, I believe. I know Kyle Pitts is going to actually be at the Draft. It’s good to see overall. I like the whole Thursday primetime for the first round, separating it. I do. Like you said, I just think it’s a little drawn out.

Let’s go to some diamond sports. Baileigh, lose to South Carolina in softball? What is going on?

Baileigh:                I don’t know. It seems like Florida does this quite a bit. On that first game of the series, they can’t get going. They did it against Georgia too a few weeks ago. First of all, Florida hadn’t lost to South Carolina since 2013.

Andrew:                 Right.

Baileigh:                I think it was like 40 of the last 41 games, if I remember that stat correctly, that they had beat South Carolina. That was rough. That was a rough night for everybody. They kind of got it back going there Saturday and Sunday. Got those two wins. Natalie Lugo, she pitched both games, and she looked really good. She ended up being SEC Co-Pitcher of the Week. I think she only allowed one run. Really good performance from her. I don’t know what to tell you about that loss. That was a head scratcher.

Andrew:                 Definitely a head scratcher. Good news is Hannah Adams is coming back, and Natalie Lugo. Both have opted to use that extra year, so that’s good there. Ethan, real quick, baseball takes two out of three from Auburn in a weird kind of weekend, where you play Friday night, have Saturday off, and then have a doubleheader on Sunday. Is the team back, you think? What’s kind of your take now?

Ethan:                     I don’t think they’re back as much as it was Auburn just cannot win a close game.

Andrew:                 Is bad?

Ethan:                     They’re not bad. I mean, they’re top five in a lot of offensive categories, and they almost took two out of three from Arkansas. They’re a better team than what their record would indicate. It’s just Auburn does not have what it takes to win close games, for whatever reason. For the Gators, kind of more of the same. Offensively it was pretty good, pretty consistent. Jud Fabian finally hitting the cover off the ball again. Pitching wise, it’s just more of the same. You’ll have four innings go great, and then the fifth inning just goes horribly. Then the rest of the game, they’re fine again. They just can’t seem to avoid the one or two disastrous innings per game that seem to hurt them. That’s going to have to get cleaned up against Vanderbilt this weekend, if they’re going to have a chance to win. They’re going to have to have some guys pitch the game of their lives.

Andrew:                 It does look like Leftwich has kind of settled into that bullpen roll though.

Ethan:                     He had gone nine consecutive hitless and scoreless innings, and then he kind of blew the first game of the doubleheader on Sunday for them. Gave up, I think he gave up five earned runs in one inning and gave up six hits or something.

Andrew:                 Yeah.

Ethan:                     Who knows? Again, it’s the consistency of it.

Andrew:                 He’s just a head scratcher. To see him go from where he was at least year and to see where he’s at this year is just, I don’t even know. I don’t know the words. It’s mindboggling. It’s a question. I know Sully’s done his homework on this and everything else, but it almost seems like he’s pitching with something wrong with him, like an injury or something, because this is not the same Jack Leftwich that’s pitched for the Florida Gators the last few years. It just isn’t.

Ethan:                     I think he’s mentally fragile. Whenever things start to go wrong, they just completely bottom out on him until he kind of has that moment where he throws his glove, and then kind of pitches with an edge for a little bit. Then he’ll run into some trouble. It’s a constant cycle with him, and you just have to hope that he’s in the upcycle at the right time for you.

Andrew:                 They always say pitchers are the weirdest guys. They don’t talk to them in the bullpen and everything else. Don’t talk to them in the dugout. We don’t talk about the no-nos. It’s a superstitious game overall. No midweek for them. No midweek for softball either. Got Vandy this weekend. Should be interesting. I will say this. It does look like Vandy is a little more vulnerable than they were at the beginning of the year.

Ethan:                     Yeah. Jack Leiter gave up a career high six hits his last start.

Andrew:                 Career high six hits.

Ethan:                     Yeah. He hadn’t given up more than five or six hits in a game before. Gave up four runs in five innings or something.

Andrew:                 Right.

Ethan:                     I think it’s going to be a very competitive series. I don’t think it’s going to be Kumar Rocker, Jack Leiter come in and mow everybody down, like I think some people think it’s going to be. I expect this to be a very competitive series. I think Florida has the advantage on Sunday, because Vanderbilt, they don’t even have a designated Sunday starter. It’s just TBA and bullpen for them. I think you find a way to hopefully get one of those first two. I think the Gators actually have a better chance against Leiter than they do Rocker, and then you absolutely have to win that Sunday game. I will go on record right now and say I think Florida wins this series.

Andrew:                 The thing for me is this with Florida. It wouldn’t shock me. It wouldn’t. It wouldn’t shock me if they went out there and got swept. It wouldn’t. It just really wouldn’t. The team’s inconsistent, and the talent’s there. Offensively they can hit with anybody. Pitching wise, when they’re pitching well they can pitch with anybody. It’s just being consistent there. It will be fun. It really will be fun. Obviously, it’s not what we thought. We all thought we were going to get the battle of Rocker versus Mace, and then turning around with Leiter versus Leftwich. That was what it was looking like at the beginning of the year. You’re not going to get that now, as far as the matchups that way, especially the hyped up battle it is. Maybe we still get a good pitching duel there. Good to see Jud hitting though, for sure.

Real quick, Baileigh, Gators still sitting in second in the SEC in softball, correct?

Baileigh:                Yes. I can’t remember exactly what the numbers are there.

Andrew:                 Ethan, where do the Gators sit in the East?

Ethan:                     They are currently two games behind Vandy, one behind Tennessee.

Andrew:                 There you go.

Ethan:                     With a sweep, they’re in first place.

Andrew:                 There you go.

Baileigh:                Softball plays Mizzou this weekend too. They’re a pretty hot team. I think they’re in third in the standings. If I can double check myself here. No. Alabama went ahead of them.

Andrew:                 Still crazy to hear Missouri and Arkansas doing well. It’s mindboggling.

Baileigh:                It’s a strange season, for sure. Whatever. Like you said, no midweek game this week. FAMU has Covid, apparently, so you don’t get that fun exciting game.

Andrew:                 I’m going to be so glad when we don’t have to think about it no more. Let’s just get past it all. There we go. Any final thoughts on things before we get out of here? We’ll be back next week. We’re going to talk about some of these new policies they’re putting in for practice. We’ll also dive into how the Draft went and talk a little basketball maybe. We’ll definitely recap the Florida-Vandy game. Any final thoughts from either one of you guys?

Baileigh:                Not really. Looking forward to the Draft here, seeing how many Florida can get taken. Hope it all goes good. Really excited to see some of these guys finally see their dreams come true here. That’s what it’s all about.

Ethan:                     It’s going to feel so good to have baseball, softball, and the Draft all going on at the same time, after where we were at this time last year.

Baileigh:                Yeah.

Andrew:                 And I have the Braves going.

Ethan:                     You got to watch one hit in 14 innings, didn’t you?

Andrew:                 Yes. I did. It was hot too. It was very hot in Atlanta. It was good though. It’s never a bad thing to be in Atlanta, but that wasn’t very fun, guys. Appreciate you reminding me of that, Ethan. I was trying my best to forget about that.

Ethan:                     You got to see a win the next day.

Andrew:                 I did. And I got to see a win on Friday night, so it was good all around. The little one got to see monster trucks, so that was loud and obnoxious, but it is what it is. Guys, we appreciate it. Follow us @GatorCountry on Twitter. @GatorCountry on Instagram and on Facebook. Check us out on the website as well. We’ll have Draft stories going live as guys get drafted, and then we’ll have our softball, baseball updates coming as well. Check us out on Gator Country, and we’ll see you guys next week. Thanks, guys.

Baileigh:                Thanks, guys.

Andrew Spivey
Andrew always knew he wanted to be involved with sports in some capacity. He began by coaching high school football for six years before deciding to pursue a career in journalism. While coaching, he was a part of two state semifinal teams in the state of Alabama. Given his past coaching experience, he figured covering recruiting would be a perfect fit. He began his career as an intern for Rivals.com, covering University of Florida football recruiting. After interning with Rivals for six months, he joined the Gator Country family as a recruiting analyst. Andrew enjoys spending his free time on the golf course and watching his beloved Atlanta Braves. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewSpiveyGC.