The number of players selected out of any given college football program is a testament to their success on the field in recent history. However, in the 2023 NFL Draft, there was a disconnect between the number of individuals selected from the Florida Gators and how they fared last season.
Recently the team over at ESPN broke down and recapped the 2023 NFL Draft. And to help out, an anonymous SEC coach weighed in on the disconnect between Florida’s performance in 2022 and the number of picks they had this year.
“It’s an interesting situation to study,” an SEC coordinator said, according to ESPN. “You can say coaching or whatever you want, but [Billy] Napier at [Louisiana] Lafayette was a phenomenal coach. Are there other factors that don’t allow a team like that to win? How many guys can you draft on potential? How do you have three guys drafted off a defense that was one of the worst in the country?”
Florida tied for fifth in the nation with six players getting selected out of their program. The highest-drafted player was none other than quarterback Anthony Richardson. Richardson possessed enough upside that the Indianapolis Colts stunned many, choosing him over Kentucky’s Will Levis with the fourth overall pick. Guard O’Cyrus Torrence was a day-two pick going in the second round to the Buffalo Bills.
What’s surprising to many is the number of Florida players selected from their defense; a defense that finished at the bottom of the college football ranking in total defense (No. 96) and in points allowed (No. 86). As the anonymous SEC coach continued he highlighted that for Gators linebacker Ventrell Miller, it was more so that he drew good reviews from coaches around the NFL than the results from last season.
Miller went in the fourth round to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Still, he wasn’t the highest-selected Florida player in the 2023 NFL draft. That honor goes to defensive tackle Gervon Dexter who was taken in the second round by the Chicago Bears.
Regardless of how individuals feel about Florida and their results last season, they were a team chock full of talent. Unfortunately, that was not always on display as they were Jekyll and Hyde for much of the season. Arguably the highest point for them in 2022 was when they knocked off the eventual Pac-12 Champions, Utah, in the season opener. And their low of the season was a 31-24 road loss to Vanderbilt despite Richardson throwing for 400 yards in the game.
Some might not like performed last season, but you can’t deny the abundance of talent that enters that program every year worthy of being drafted into the NFL.
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