Florida star cornerback Kaiir Elam declares for 2022 NFL Draft after three seasons

By Adam Silverstein
January 10, 2022
Florida star cornerback Kaiir Elam declares for 2022 NFL Draft after three seasons

Image Credit: Courtney Culbreath, UAA

Florida Gators junior cornerback Kaiir Elam on Monday formally declared for the 2022 NFL Draft. This after he stuck with the team and competed in the 2021 Gasparilla Bowl last month.

Elam announced his decision through a video that recounted his commitment to Florida and career with the Gators.

“Making my decision to come here, I felt like the University of Florida was a no-brainer, honestly,” Elam said. “… Freshman year, definitely one of the funnest years I had. … 2020 year with the pandemic, I felt that really tested my faith and love for football. … These last three years have been nothing but the best, honestly. I wouldn’t trade this for anything else. … I’ll forever be a Gator. … Being able to come back to The Swamp is something I’ll cherish for the rest of my life, and being a Gator is something I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.”

Elam (6-foot-2, 196 pounds) is projected to be a first-round pick in the upcoming draft. However, his stock has taken a bit of a tumble over the past season as Elam began a projected top-15 selection and is now considered likely to go at the bottom of the first round.

Elam’s film will be reviewed by NFL front offices across the nation, and he will have opportunities to raise his stock through the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine and potentially a pro day on campus at Florida.

He ends his Gators career with 78 tackles (53 solo, 2.5 for loss) with five interceptions, 20 pass defenses and a fumble recovery. Elam, a 2020 All-SEC first team selection, started 26 straight games for Florida after taking over as one of the program’s top cornerbacks eight games into his freshman season.

Though Elam is a junior, he technically had two years of eligibility remaining as the NCAA granted additional years to all college athletes on 2020 rosters amid the COVID-19 pandemic. He’s the second Gators player to formally declare for the draft behind defensive lineman Zachary Carter, who was a redshirt senior. Senior running back Malik Davis also confirmed he would not return to college.

It’s expected that most seniors with NFL potential, such as RB Dameon Pierce, will leave for the draft. However, senior safety Trey Dean III did announce last week that he’s returning to Florida for the 2022 season.

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