Anywhere from six to eight Florida Gators were expected to be selected in the 2014 NFL Draft, but the event came Thursday and ended Saturday with only four being picked up by professional teams out of 256 slots.
Defensive tackle Dominique Easley (first round, No. 29, New England), cornerback Jaylen Watkins (fourth round, No. 101, Philadelphia), linebacker Ronald Powell (fifth round, No. 169, New Orleans) and guard Jon Halapio (sixth around, No. 179, New England) were all picked, but other Gators were not as lucky.
Junior CBs Marcus Roberson and Loucheiz Purifoy, early entrants who were both projected as first-round picks by numerous draft analysts before the 2013 season, went undrafted during the three-day event.
Roberson’s injuries were likely the greatest deterrent to teams selecting him, though low testing numbers at the NFL Combine, a lackluster Pro Day and some off-field concerns also affected his draftability.
Purifoy did not progress as scouts hoped in terms of his coverage ability and overall play at cornerback during his junior campaign. Poor testing numbers and numerous off-field issues, including a run-in with the law for possession of marijuana and bath salts just two months before the draft, likely forced teams to bail on picking him up.
The duo become the first Florida early entrants to go undrafted since another defensive back, Will Hill, declared after his junior season and did not get picked in 2011. Hill did not play in 2011 but signed with the New York Giants in 2012 and spent the last two years with the team, starting a number of contests at safety.
Other Gators that were not selected Thursday-Saturday include wide receiver Solomon Patton, center Jonotthan Harrison, tight end Trey Burton, DT Damien Jacobs, LB Darrin Kitchens and offensive lineman Kyle Koehne.
According to Roy Cummings of the Tampa Tribune, Patton has already agreed to an undrafted free agent contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. According to Comcast Sports Net out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Burton has agreed to a deal with the Eagles.
Most of Florida’s undrafted players will sign free agent deals in the coming days. OnlyGators.com will provide an update once those signings are all made.