NFL Draft Mixed for Former Gators

The three days of the NFL Draft brought four very different scenarios for members of the 2010 Gator Football team who were waiting for the opportunity to begin their college careers. Two Gators got great news. Two got good news. Several players ended up with basically bad news, while one in particular had a disastrous experience.

Great News ---- Mike Pouncey and Marcus Gilbert could not have had a better draft experience. Pouncey was the 15th pick of the first round by the Miami Dolphins. The selection let Pouncey win his friendly wager with brother Maurkice who was chosen 18th a year ago. It also assured Pouncey of an extremely large payday once the league and players have a new agreement. It also lets him stay in state, closer to family and friends. Gilbert was projected as a mid-to-late third round pick, so going late in round two to Pittsburgh was big for him. It means more money and it also means he's in a situation where he'll be helped along by Maurkice Pouncey.

Good News ---- Ahmad Black and Mo Hurt both were called on Saturday and each now has an NFL team that is at least somewhat invested in them. For Black, a fifth round call from Tampa Bay lets him try to make his favorite team less than an hour from his family's Lakeland home. Bucs Coach Rahim Morris is going to give Black every chance to be a reserve in the secondary and a star on special teams. Remember it was his special teams play that got Urban Meyer's attention. Hurt getting tabbed by Washington in the final round has to be a bit of a surprise considering word leaked out that he has tested positive for Marijuana at the combine. Still the versatile blocker has a chance.

Bad News ---- I expected most of the draft eligible Gators to be passed over, but it's surprising to me that Chas Henry, Carl Johnson and Brandon Hicks didn't get a call. Henry is good enough to punt in the NFL and was certainly worth a 6th or 7th round pick. Johnson can be a powerful drive blocker, though his weight issues probably cost him. Hicks is a guy who I think will be a very good special teams guy with his size and speed. I am not at all surprised that the others – Justin Trattou, Duke Lemmens, Carl Moore et al did not get chosen. Still not getting drafted this year is the worst time for that to happen to players. The NFL lock out means no free agent signings, and the longer it lasts, the lesser any chance for these guys to get picked up. Time to call the CFL gang!

Disastrous News ---- Will Hill made a bad decision when he announced for the NFL draft and I said so in this forum that very day. I saw little chance he would go in the first three rounds, but for Hill to be passed over completely screams volumes about his play on the field and his conduct off it. I'm not saying he did anything horrible, but his comments, tweets and internet posts gave the world the impression that this was a selfish guy. Remember when he posted after his one game suspension that he was "one game closer to getting the F out of Gainesville?" I promise you NFL people didn't forget.

Rule Change To Consider

At this stage I don't believe that Will Muschamp would welcome Hill back with open arms, but I do think there needs to be a change in the way the NCAA and NFL handle guys with eligibility remaining.

Players should be allowed to return to school if they are not drafted. Obviously this presumes that the player made no agreement with an agent or accepted anything from one. Hill should at least have the option of knocking on Muschamp's door to see if there was a chance, as should players all over the country. Most coaches would probably say now, but why shouldn't Hill be allowed to go to a 1-AA school and prove himself? Who would be hurt by such a policy?

I don't expect the NCAA to initiate anything of the sort. Let's face it, what kind of student-athlete protection can we expect from an organization that suspends Dez Bryant 10 games for lying about lunch and suspends Ohio State players five games for trading Rose Bowl tickets for a used car?


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