This story first appeared in Chomp, our Gators football newsletter. Subscribe here.
This year’s NFL draft is over, but it’s never too early to start talking about next year’s, right?
And we have some good news for the Florida football program in this edition of Chomp!
🏈 Florida’s top 4 NFL draft prospects in 2023
More than a dozen Gators could have their names called in the 2023 NFL draft, so Gators Breakdown host David Waters picked his top four to be targeted:
4. Defensive tackle Gervon Dexter: He enters his third season at Florida looking to build on his game. It’s time for him to go out there and just dominate with the athletic ability that he brings to the table. That needs to be on full display when he tests after the season. Dexter is probably at his best when he’s putting pressure on the quarterback from the middle but needs to become a more dominant force shutting down everything in the middle. He’s going to test well, and that alone may tempt some teams to draft him early with that strength and athletic ability. If his stats match his testing numbers, look out for Dexter to shoot up draft boards. If not, he can return to Florida to improve this stock for the 2024 NFL draft.
3. Offensive tackle Richard Gouraige: He’s the first of two offensive linemen on this list. If Gouraige has another good showing this coming season, he will shoot up some draft boards. It’ll be his second season playing that coveted left tackle position after spending the previous two seasons at left guard. His position versatility may impress NFL scouts. Gouraige could even rise up a bit more to be drafted in the second- to fourth-round range.
2. Offensive guard O’Cyrus Torrence: He could have gone to the NFL last season if he wanted to but decided to follow Billy Napier from Louisiana to play for Florida and an offense he knows well. That should help him prepare for the NFL. Torrence was a first team All-Sun Belt Conference last season and second team the season before. In three seasons with the Ragin’ Cajuns before transferring, he allowed zero sacks and just one quarterback carry. Torrence had a great showing in Florida’s spring game, opening up lanes for the running backs.
1. Quarterback Anthony Richardson: This one is polarizing — some mock drafts have him very high in the first round and others don’t have him going in the top 32 overall picks. That’s rare for a quarterback, but there just isn’t enough to go on right now. Richardson needs to stay healthy to live up to potential. He was rarely healthy last season, and he needs to follow with a big 2022 season. He has the athletic ability, the size and the arm strength to be a first-round pick. This year, the decision making needs to match the athletic ability. Napier develops quarterbacks to take care of the football, and that, along with Richardson’s athleticism, will result in him hearing his name called early in next year’s draft.
🔎 A look at way-too-early mock drafts
Speaking of those mock drafts, ESPN’s Todd McShay has Richardson going sixth overall in his 2023 NFL mock draft.
And when McShay and ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. were asked on the Adam Schefter Podcast if they would take the over or under on six and a half quarterbacks being taken in the first round of next year’s draft, McShay said under, but Kiper said over.
Fox Sports’ Jason McIntyre’s mock draft for next year has Richardson going fifth overall and edge rusher Brenton Cox Jr. going 25th overall.
In Chris Trapasso’s 2023 mock draft for CBS Sports, he has Richardson going 29th overall.
🐊 Gators get offensive commits
Napier and the Gators received big news on Saturday when offensive lineman Knijeah Harris and athlete Creed Whittemore, both in the 2023 recruiting class, committed to play for Florida.
The 247 Sports Composite has Harris, from IMG Academy in Bradenton, as a four-star player.
And the 247Sports Composite rates Whittemore, from Buchholz in Gainesville, as a three-star player. If his last name sounds familiar, it’s because he’s the younger brother of wide receiver Trent Whittemore.
In the latest Gators Breakdown episode, David breaks down these two commits and their impact on the program. (And a big shootout to David and Will Miles, as Gators Breakdown was a Florida Association of Broadcast Journalists Awards finalist!)
And the Gators got another offensive commit from junior college offensive tackle Jordan Herman.
🏆 Steve Spurrier receives inaugural Nick Saban Legacy Award
Former Gators player and coach Steve Spurrier was one of the first two recipients of the Nick Saban Legacy Award in College Football Coaching.
Grambling State coach Eddie Robinson was the other recipient to whom the inaugural award was presented to in Birmingham.
The award was created to honor and recognize the lifetime achievement of a college football coach and their contributions to the game.
✉️ Send us your Gators thoughts & questions
David and I want to hear from you. Do you have any thoughts or questions about the Gators football program? Agree or disagree with something we’ve said? Let us know here, and we’ll share our responses to your questions.