Jeremiah evaluates Gators for 2013 NFL Draft

By Adam Silverstein
April 19, 2013

Despite being incredibly busy this week, the NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah sat down with OGGOA late Thursday night for a wide-ranging look at the Florida Gators available in the 2013 NFL Draft. Unfortunately, the device used to record the detailed conversation froze during the process of saving the interview and the content disappeared. However, detailed notes were taken so not all was lost.

Below is an abridged version of Jeremiah’s thoughts on most of the Gators that are expected to be selected at some point during the draft.

Defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd
Projection: First round (No. 3 overall)
Analysis: “When I started the process of watching him, I thought, ‘This is a top-10 pick all day long.’ And then I picked up the phone and called a couple friends around the league that I highly respect. All of them think it’s a no-brainer, he’s a slam-dunk top-10 pick. He has the athletic ability to play the three-technique and get up the field. That’s where he belongs. I think he’s got NFL size, first and foremost. You have to like that about him. You’re looking for qualities that you have that are kind of elite qualities. If you’re picking somebody up in the top part of the draft, you don’t want somebody who is kind of good at everything. You want somebody who has some elite characteristics, and to me, his quickness is elite. He’s got quick feet, quick hands. He’s very nimble, athletic. I just love the way he can get around blocks. A lot of times guys get around blocks and they’re segmented in their movement. He doesn’t do that; he can wrap around blockers all in one motion. It’s not a two-step process. That’s stuff that kind of jumps out at you when you watch him. He’s got lateral range and can make plays down the line of scrimmage. I think he’s just tapping into what he can be as a pass rusher. He has all the tools. He’s just scratching the surface of what he can do.”

Safety Matt Elam
Projection: Late-first, early-second round (top 30 overall)
Analysis: Jeremiah said the main drawback with Elam, of course, is his height (5’10”) but that otherwise he is a fantastic player and prospect. In addition to being good in coverage, Elam can be put at the line of scrimmage as a blitzer and has proven that he can play nickel cornerback. Jeremiah loves him as a possibility for Baltimore but not as a replacement for Ed Reed. Rather, he thinks compares better to Bernard Pollard, another safety the team lost this offseason.

Linebacker Jon Bostic
Projection: Late-second, early-third round
Analysis: Jeremiah is very high on Bostic, calling him a strong tackler who keeps his shoulders level and follows through well, tackling with great technique. His high football IQ allows him to sort through what is happening on the field with ease, and he has a great nose for the ball. He could get selected as high as the second round, especially after his speed at the combine (4.61 seconds in the 40-yard dash) removed some concerns about him being a slow-moving player. Jeremiah also said that being coached by Charlie Strong, Dan Quinn and Will Muschamp – with each coach happy to give him strong recommendations – is a major plus in the eyes of NFL teams.

Linebacker Jelani Jenkins
Projection: Fourth or fifth round
Analysis: Jenkins simply did not impress Jeremiah. Though multiple injuries hampered his ability to contribute the way his natural talent might have allowed, he did not stand out on film but should still be selected early on the third day as a project.

Linebacker Lerentee McCray
Projection: Fourth or fifth round
Analysis: Unlike Jenkins, McCray looked very good on film and is a player Jeremiah believes has a lot of positive momentum heading into the draft. Jeremiah, in a joke-serious manner, said that he first thought McCray played stiff but realized it was because of the neck roll he wears. He thinks McCray has natural pass rushing abilities and noted that a lot of NFL people he spoke to are higher on him than is being let on. McCray is the most underrated player coming out of Florida, in his opinion.

Tight end Jordan Reed
Projection: Third or fourth round
Analysis: Jeremiah agreed with OGGOA’s opinion that comparisons to Aaron Hernandez are relatively lazy when it pertains to Reed’s talent, but he did say that he expects him to be used in the NFL in a similar fashion to how Hernandez is on New England. Reed simply cannot block and will not be expected to do much of that in the NFL but could wind up becoming a productive pass catcher with some coaching.

Running back Mike Gillislee
Projection: Fourth round
Analysis: OGGOA asked Jeremiah which was more important in regards to Gillislee, the positive aspect that he is a low-mileage running back or the negative fact that there is not a lot of film on him as he only saw major action during one season. Jeremiah said the difference will be split by evaluators. He liked what he saw from Gillislee at the Senior Bowl and went back to watch film on him afterward. Jeremiah was not pleased with Gillislee’s burst but did see plenty of things he liked about him including his size and natural instincts. Though he is out of the top-five running backs – probably 6-7 on most teams’ boards – he should definitely have a chance to contribute to a team.

Safety Josh Evans
Projection: Fourth or fifth round
Analysis: Jeremiah is a fan of Evans’s and believes he could be a great scheme fit for a defensive coordinator like Jack Del Rio (Denver). He said Evans has a good nose for the ball and noticeably improved over his final two seasons. There are a number of teams legitimately interested in Evans, and he may even be drafted slightly higher than his true value because some teams see his size and natural instincts as major positives.

Offensive tackle Xavier Nixon
Projection: Fourth to sixth round
Analysis: Jeremiah was very down on Nixon and talked about him getting pushed around a lot during the 2012 season. Though he has prototypical size and a good build, he often got knocked to the ground and taken advantage of by top-tier pass rushers. Jeremiah thinks Nixon will go later than originally expected and does not know if he can last in the league long-term.

Photo Credit: ESPN Images


  1. Michael Jones says:

    Glad to hear that other people see in McCray what I see in him. Always thought he was underrated. In a conference full of elite talent coming off the end, I thought McCray was right up there with his speed, athleticism, quickness, toughness and motor.

    I like him. Quiet, doesn’t do things to hurt his team, doesn’t take plays off. Big game player. Might even be a poor man’s Von Miller and a steal in this draft. I hope he does well.

    As for Reed–and he’s a Gator so I’m pulling for him–there is a noticeable drop off between Aaron Hernandez toughness and Jordan Reed toughness. That’s a big factor in Hernandez’ play. I’m not sure that everyone understands just how tough that kid is. He’s fearless, and he plays that way.

    Go Gators!!

  2. NYC Gator says:

    I still think Jordan Reed is the best quarterback we’ve had at UF since Tebow graduated and I’ll never understand why he wanted to change positions so badly instead of competing for the job. Too bad my lasting memory of him will be fumbling into the end zone against Georgia and killing any hope of winning the SEC East.

    • Michael Jones says:

      Interestingly, I too thought that Reed looked pretty good at QB and that whole situation puzzled me too. However, as for the Georgia game, what I remember about Jordan Reed is that he was fighting his guts out trying to get into the end zone and as oftentimes happens when a ballcarrier is giving 2d, 3rd, and 4th efforts, the ball came out.

      He was making a pretty good play and showing a lot of heart. Jarvis Jones, one of the best defensive players in the country last year, just made a better play. No shame in that, man.

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