The NFL Draft is quickly approaching and as you sort through thousands of mock drafts you realize one thing – no one knows how the Draft will play out. No one knows who is going number one; no one knows which quarterback will be the first one off the board; no one knows how many trades will be made; and well, no one knows just about anything – other than 256 players will be drafted and their NFL dreams realized.
Just like everyone else who is grasping at straws and taking their most educated guesses, I too, will postulate on the NFL Draft and take a stab on where each of the eleven draft-eligible Florida Gators will drafted.
- Defensive Tackle – Dominique Easley -
Dominque Easley was expected to come back for his senior year and be a dominant inside force for the Gators. However, after his second career ACL injury sidelined him for the rest of the season, Easley’s dream of becoming a first round draft pick were likely quashed. Easley, at 6-foot-2, 288 pounds, does not have prototypical NFL size nor does he have the best technique, but he does have the ability to penetrate and get to the quarterback with his quick burst and agility. With Easley in recovery for the past eight months, he has not been able to show much to scouts and while some question his durability, a team will likely take a shot at him in the second round.
Prediction: Dallas, Pick 47
- Cornerback – Marcus Roberson -
Marcus Roberson is tall, physical, and aggressive as a cornerback, but he also drew a lot of penalties, got beat over the top, and had trouble wrapping-up and tackling wide receivers. Roberson struggled with injuries twice in college (neck  and knee ) and had a few off-the-field issues that left him suspended more than once. Roberson has good technique and could be a starter in the NFL with some refinement.
Prediction: Chicago, Pick 82
- Cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy -
Loucheiz Purifoy was poised to be a first round draft pick before the season started. Scouts and pundits drooled over his potential, size, and speed. While he still has good size, athleticism, and agility, his junior year wasn’t as productive as many expected. He struggled mightily with tackling, got beat over the top often, and had weak technique. He has the potential to be a great special teams player in the NFL, and could grow into a number two or three cornerback, but needs some improvement.
Prediction: Pittsburgh, Pick 97
- Cornerback Jaylen Watkins -
Jaylen Watkins had a good senior campaign that propelled him from the bottom of the draft to the middle. He displayed good coverage skills, great speed, and displayed versatility that makes him attractive to teams. He will need to add some size and improve his ability to press at the line of scrimmage. A team will see a lot of potential in Watkins and he could end up having a decent NFL career.
Prediction: Green Bay, Pick 98
- Offensive Guard Jon Halapio -
Jon Halapio started 43 games for the Gators, including 10 games as a senior after he recovered from a pectoral injury. Halapio has great intangibles, great size and toughness/determination. He was a great blocker on rushing plays, but often struggled in pass protection. He will be attractive to teams because he has a natural size and grit to him, and with coaching can improve in pass protection. He will likely not play much as a rookie and should get great coaching, something he never had at Florida.
Prediction: Miami, Pick 116
- Linebacker Ronald Powell -
Ronald Powell, the former number one recruit in country, had an interesting career at the University of Florida. During his time in Gainesville he played BUCK, a hybrid LB/DE position and never seemed to live up to the hype of his ranking. He has an athletic body, quick, agile, and is a good tackler, but still he is too small to be defensive end and does not seem to do well enough in pass coverage to be a linebacker at the next level. He was never able to penetrate much into the backfield and was inconsistent, at best. There will be a team that likes his potential and will take a jump at him a bit earlier than most expect.
Prediction: Carolina, Pick 128
- Wide Receiver Solomon Patton -
Solomon Patton had a breakout year his final year in Gainesville and was the only offensive threat that was consistently above average all year. Patton has great speed, acceleration, and has great skills as a wide receiver. His biggest downfall is that he is only 5-foot-8, 179 pounds – not prototypical size for an NFL receiver. He is an exceptionally hard-worker, a leader in the locker room, and a homerun threat, that is also consistent.
Prediction: Washington, Pick 178
- Athlete Trey Burton -
Trey Burton is a jack-of-all-trades, but a master-of-none. He played quarterback, fullback, running back, wide receiver, and tight end for Florida in his career, which proves that he is a great athlete. However, his bouncing around did not necessarily help his NFL prospects. Burton will likely be a tight end/H-Back at the next level, although he will need some training at one position, and will likely not have much of an impact as a rookie.
Prediction: New England, Pick 206
- Offensive Guard/Center Jonotthan Harrison -
Jon Harrison had 39 starts for the Florida Gators and was a team captain. He has great size, intangibles, and can block well in both rushing and passing plays. He lacks speed, agility, and foot speed, which will make him struggle a bit more in the NFL than it did in college. He projects more as a guard, and could be a back-up center for a team with a solid center already. He needs to improve his hand placement and getting to the second level.
Prediction: Seattle, Pick 208