This story first appeared in Chomp, our Gators football newsletter. Subscribe here.
Hey, Gators fans!
It sure was exciting watching eight Gators being selected in the 2021 NFL draft last week! We talked in our last newsletter about Kyle Pitts and Kadarius Toney going in the first round, so this week, we’re going to take a look at Kyle Trask’s landing spot and how other Gators fared in the draft. We’re also already looking ahead to 2022...
Plus, we continue to follow the possible Tebow-Meyer reunion. 👀
🐆 Jaguars & Tebow talk isn’t slowing down
After word leaked out on the first day of the NFL draft that former Gators quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow worked out for the Jaguars in February as a tight end, Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke confirmed the news following the first round.
Jaguars coach Urban Meyer, who coached Tebow to a pair of national championships while they were both at Florida, then addressed the topic on Saturday once their draft had wrapped up. Meyer said a decision on Tebow hadn’t been made yet, but if a player could help the Jaguars win games, he’d certainly take a look at that player.
“So, beyond that, I can’t say too much, but Tim has come in and worked out as a tight end. That’s not a position that we’ve seen him play sometimes, but it’s a position that he’s been practicing at with us,” he said. “So that will be interesting to see how that contributes to us on offense, too. But obviously Urban knows Tim really well and Tim’s got a great history of winning. Urban really believes he can help us, and I think it makes a lot of sense. And it’s a position where we need to get better.”
🏈 Bucs take Trask in 2nd round
I don’t know about y’all, but I was glued to the second night of the NFL draft until Florida quarterback Kyle Trask’s name was finally called at the end of round two.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected Trask with the 64th pick overall, putting him in a position to potentially become Tom Brady’s successor.
Trask, the Heisman Trophy finalist who completed 69% of his passes for 4,283 yards and 43 touchdowns in his final college season, was the sixth quarterback taken overall after five went on the first night.
Trask, in his typical humble fashion, shrugged off a question about whether he felt slighted by not being picked earlier in the draft.
“I don’t really have much to say about that. I was just trying to keep an open mind,” Trask said. “I can only control what I can control. I was going to be happy with whatever opportunity that I was given.”
Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians said Trask “can make every throw that we want.”
“We did our homework. Everything about the guy. He’s accurate, he’s smart, he’s tough, he knows hoe to move inside the pocket,” he said. “We don’t draft guys to run. We draft them to throw. And, he’s accurate as hell. I’m really excited about him.”
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t tear up watching the video of Trask getting the call from the Buccaneers. You just can’t help but be so excited for him. (The video of Kadarius Toney getting the call from the Giants on day one of the draft is also worth watching if you haven’t seen it.)
💔 Meyer wanted Toney
Jaguars coach Urban Meyer admitted that wide receiver Kadarius Toney being selected 20th overall to the New York Giants “broke his heart.”
Meyer went on to say: “I’ve got to know him over the last couple weeks and obviously with my connection with Coach Mullen and those guys. I just think, if you watch him play, he’s a human highlight reel.”
Jacksonville ended selecting Clemson running back Travis Etienne with the 25th overall pick.
Shortly after selecting Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence with the No. 1 pick, Meyer also jokingly asked about trying to get tight end Kyle Pitts.
“I said, ‘How do we get him?’” Meyer recounted. “Trent looked at me like I had five heads.”
🐊 Where every Gator landed
Florida is the only school in the SEC and one of three programs in the country to have a player selected in every NFL draft since the start of the common draft era.
Here are the eight Gators selected in the 2021 NFL draft:
- TE Kyle Pitts – Atlanta Falcons (round 1, pick 4, No. 4 overall)
- WR Kadarius Toney – New York Giants (round 1, pick 20, No. 20 overall)
- QB Kyle Trask – Tampa Bay Buccaneers (round 2, pick 32, No. 64 overall)
- CB Marco Wilson – Arizona Cardinals (round 4, pick 31, No. 136 overall)
- K Evan McPherson – Cincinnati Bengals (round 5, pick 5, No. 149 overall)
- S Shawn Davis – Indianapolis Colts (round 5, pick 21, No. 165 overall)
- DT Tedarrell Slaton – Green Bay Packers (round 5, pick 29, No. 173 overall)
- OL Stone Forsythe – Seattle Seahawks (round 6, pick 24, No. 208 overall)
Here are the three Gators who signed as undrafted free agents:
- OL Brett Heggie – New York Giants
- WR Trevon Grimes – Philadelphia Eagles
- S Donovan Stiner – Pittsburgh Steelers
💪 SEC dominates draft again
The Southeastern Conference had the most players selected in the 2021 NFL draft with a record 65.
- SEC – 65
- Big Ten – 44
- ACC – 42
- Pac-12 – 28
- Big 12 – 22
In this year’s draft, Florida and Michigan each had eight players selected, Georgia and Notre Dame each had nine, and Alabama and Ohio State were tied at No. 1 with 10 each.
🔎 A look at Florida’s SEC opponents & Mullen’s projection
Speaking of the SEC, in this week’s episode of Gators Breakdown, host David Waters and Will Miles with Read and Reaction are joined by Josh Pate with 247 Sports’ The Late Kick podcast as Josh reviews the spring for the Gators and Florida’s SEC opponents.
They also talk about whether the projection of coach Dan Mullen has changed since he was hired at Florida.
Josh also gets into the difference between Florida and Georgia at a program level.
And speaking of Georgia, this week, Athlon Sports released an article, “Georgia or Florida: Which Team Will Win the SEC East in 2021?” Athlon editors weighed in with Ben Weinrib saying, “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party should be exciting once again, but Georgia has the clear edge heading into the 2021 season.”
⬇️ Florida drops in ESPN’s post-spring rankings
ESPN’s Mark Schlabach released the network’s updated power rankings now that spring practice has concluded across the country and there’s not too much love for the Gators. Schlabach ranks the Gators 17th, dropping them from 16th.
The top five: Oklahoma, Alabama, Georgia, Clemson, Ohio State.
See the top 25 and what Schlabach had to say about the Gators here.
🔮 Way-too-early 2022 NFL mock drafts have several Gators
It’s never too early to look ahead to the NFL draft -- even if it’s a year away. While the Florida defense left a lot to be desired last season, early mock drafts see the potential in a few defenders. Kaiir Elam, Ventrell Miller, Brenton Cox are all mocked to go on the first round of the 2022 NFL draft.
Yahoo Sports tabs Elam going 12th to the New York Giants, while the Cleveland Browns choose Miller with the 26th pick.
Sporting News also has Elam going in the first round with the 20th pick by the Philadelphia Eagles and Cox getting selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with pick 32
USA Today’s Draft Wire has all three going first round -- Miller 16th to the Philadelphia Eagles, Elam 18th to the Arizona Cardinals and Cox 25th to the Green Bay Packers.
⚾ No. 10 Florida visits Kentucky in pivotal SEC series
No. 10 Florida baseball (31-13, 13-8 SEC) travels to Lexington this week for a three-game road series at Kentucky (26-15, 10-11 SEC).
The action begins with game one on Thursday at 7 p.m. on SEC Network. Game two will stream live on SEC Network+ on Friday at 6:30 p.m., with the series wrapping up on Saturday at 2 p.m. on SEC Network+. Fans can listen in Gainesville on WRUF 850 AM/98.1 FM and in Jacksonville 1010 XL or on any mobile device via TuneIn app.
The Gators come into the three-game set versus Kentucky red hot and fresh off of a series victory over No. 2 Vanderbilt. Florida has won 11 of their last 13 games as well as 14 of their last 18 and now sits just one game behind Vanderbilt and Tennessee for the top spot in the SEC East. Additionally, the Gators have racked up double-digit hits in five of their last six games, averaging 12.8 hits per game over the course of that span. In total, Florida boasts five wins against top-five nationally-ranked teams this year.
Last time out: Prior to defeating Stetson by a 9-6 score in a Tuesday midweek contest, Florida went head-to-head against No. 2 Vanderbilt last weekend at Florida Ballpark. After coming up short in game one by an 11-7 margin, the Gators rallied to take the final two games (W 11-8, W 5-3) and secure a series victory. Florida is the first team to beat Vanderbilt in back-to-back games all season long and just the second team to claim a series win over the Commodores in 2021.
On the road again: Florida takes to the road for the first time since their April 23-25 series at Auburn, in which they claimed two-of-three games to clinch the series over the Tigers. Overall, the Gators are 5-7 on the road this season, but are 4-1 across their last five contests outside of Gainesville.