Eight Gators Taken In 2003 NFL Draft

Eight former members of the University of Florida football team were selected in the 2003 NFL Draft, which came to a close Sunday in New York City. The total tied for the highest from any school in the nation, while also tying for the third highest total in program history. In addition, for the first time since 1957 four Gators went to the same organization.

Former University of Florida quarterback Rex Grossman and wide receiver Taylor Jacobs were selected on the opening day. Grossman became the 22nd overall choice in the first round on Saturday as he was taken by the Chicago Bears. Jacobs was the 44th overall choice by the Washington Redskins in the second round.

Six more players would follow on the final day of the draft as the fourth round saw Chicago select FS Todd Johnson and DT Ian Scott with the 100 and 116th overall picks, respectively. TE Aaron Walker became the 161st choice when San Francisco took him in the fifth round. Ten picks later in the fifth round, DT Tron LaFavor became the fourth Gator heading to Chicago. In round six, OLB Mike Nattiel was the 190th overall pick by the Minnesota Vikings, while DE Clint Mitchell was the final Gator to go when Denver made him the 227th choice in the seventh round.

Florida's eight players matched the totals also set by Miami and Tennessee in this year's edition of the draft.

The eight players equal the 2001, 1999 and 1976 drafts of the third most Gators chosen in one year. Ten Gators were picked in 1978 while nine went in 1992. All but the 2001 and 1999 draft had more than seven rounds.

The four Gators selected by Chicago marked the only other time in school history outside of 1957 that UF sent that high of total to the same franchise. That season, the New York Giants picked up Larry Wesley (T), William E. Booker (B), Jim Eaton (E) and Donald Hicks (T).

Grossman's selection in the first round kept Florida's streak intact of having a first-round pick in each of the last seven years and 16 of the last 20. Florida's 26 first-round draft choices since 1983 is the second best total in the nation. Since the first NFL Draft in 1936, a Florida player has been selected in the first round 35 times covering 26 separate seasons, which ties Alabama for the fourth highest total in the country.

With Grossman's early selection it also continued a trend for Florida that 15 of the 19 players to leave UF early for the NFL Draft have gone in either the first or second rounds.

Washington's choice of Jacobs marked the 10th consecutive year a Florida receiver has been drafted as 14 have gone during the stretch.

Gators Selected In The 2003 NFL Draft

Name Position Round Pk (Ovr) Team
Rex Grossman QB 1 22 (22) Chicago
Taylor Jacobs WR 2 12 (44) Washington
Ian Scott DT 4 19 (116) Chicago
Todd Johnson FS 4 3 (100) Chicago
Aaron Walker TE 5 26 (161) San Fransisco
Tron LaFavor DT 5 36 (171) Chicago
Mike Nattiel OLB 6 16 (190) Minnesota
Clint Mitchell DE 7 13 (227) Denver

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