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Selected just nine picks apart in the 2013 NFL Draft, the careers of Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd and Baltimore Ravens safety Matt Elam are diverging.
Though Floyd’s stats are not out of control, he’s steadily improved throughout his career in Minnesota, notching 76 tackles and seven sacks combined over the last two seasons. An injury forced him to miss three games last season, but Floyd is often praised by head coach Mike Zimmer and has proven to be an important player for the Vikings.
Elam has struggled during his time in Baltimore. After starting 15 of 16 games for the Ravens in 2013 with 77 tackles, an interception and three pass defenses, Elam started just 11 the following season and found a seat on the bench as fellow former Florida S Will Hill – a cast-off who joined the team despite having a number of off-field issues – outplayed Elam and was elevated into the starting job in his place. Elam then missed the entire 2015 after tearing his biceps and appears to be entering 2016 as a rotational player.
What speaks most to how each player is viewed by his respective team were transactional moves made on Monday.
Minnesota picked up its fifth-year option on Floyd, ensuring he remains with the team through the 2017 season, while Baltimore declined its option on Elam, allowing his contract to expire following the 2016 campaign.
So while Floyd appears to be on firm footing, Elam will very much be playing for his job – and future league employment – throughout the 2016 season.
As for how the rest of the Gators’ 2013 draft class is doing, the short answer is pretty well.
Jordan Reed has emerged as one of the best tight ends in football during his time in Washington. Linebacker Jelani Jenkins quickly developed into a starter for the Miami Dolphins, while safety Josh Evans has started most of the last three years for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Linebacker Jon Bostic played three years as a sometimes-starter with the Chicago Bears before being traded to the New England Patriots last season. The Dolphins also took kicker Caleb Sturgis and running back Mike Gillislee in the draft. Sturgis was cut by Miami after spending two years as a starter but caught on with the Philadelphia Eagles last season. Gillislee was released after touching the ball six times in two years, but he impressed in five appearances with the Buffalo Bills last season, posting 174 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries in weeks 15-16.